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Anti-Racism Work + Commitments: A Mission Forward Business Leaders Roundtable

A few weeks back, we reached out to a group of CEOs and business leaders with a very big request: join Carrie and Alex Orfinger, publisher of the Washington Business Journal, for an honest, on-the-record, uncomfortable conversation about the anti-racist commitments and statements we have made over the last twelve months, and assess our progress against those commitments.

The conversation comes at an interesting moment. Just days after the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, and as hate crimes against the Asian American and pacific islander community and, in particular, hate crimes against Asian American seniors have been on the rise. What’s more, the conversation was recorded just hours before a gunman killed eight people, including six Asian American women in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Our framework: We have each carried a unique responsibility during this time; to care for the health of our employees, while managing and protecting the health of our businesses. The intertwined nature of events from this past year have meant that we must consider the culture of business differently. We must think about the weight of the world’s events on our teams in ways we likely haven’t considered them before.

This was an actionable conversation and not a comfortable one. It is not comfortable to be called to grow. It is not comfortable to stretch beyond the habits and tendencies with which we have become complacent. It is not comfortable to go beyond ourselves. Each guest this week came into this space with a spirit of self-examination, accountability, and a willingness to examine how businesses like ours can contribute to more inclusive, and equitable workplaces for all people. 


Here we are, to think about where we are, where our sectors are, and where we must go to ensure that the racial reckoning so many business leaders are engaging isn’t a fleeting moment, but a movement for justice. With that, you’ve made it to the final episode of our second season. We hope this conversation, like others this season, gets you thinking, acting, and pressing forward.

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Mission Forward
  • (04:09) – A Poem
  • (06:03) – Changing Leadership Style
  • (13:36) – Specific Adjustments to Policies & Procedures to Address Inequities
  • (25:55) – Reactions to Violence
  • (41:27) – Where Do We Need More Change?
This season, we are taking you on a journey to meet ten people influencing and shaping how we communicate at scale for social change. From advertising executives to coalition directors, news editors, campaign managers, and authors, they’re all people who are shaping and challenging the deep power of communication. If you’re working to become a more inclusive and thoughtful communicator, there’s nothing holding you back—except you.
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