It’s time to talk about racial equity

LP experts hold a candid conversation about fighting for change
Mia Weinand
Coordinator, Media Relations

Beyond the global pandemic this year, civil rights issues have been brought to the forefront and are reshaping the country.

During NRF PROTECT ALL ACCESS this week, Debbie Maples, who leads loss prevention at Williams-Sonoma, and Keith White, global chief security and safety officer for Salesforce, spoke of their shock and disappointment with the events of the past few months, including the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.


Get more insights on current events and retail’s response at NRF PROTECT ALL ACCESS, on demand here.

Protests and demonstrations around the country have created a need and urgency for conversations about racial equity and justice. “I feel like I’ve never had more urgency and sense of responsibility to speak out and champion diversity and inclusion [and] equity in the workforce,” Maples said.

While these types of conversations can be difficult, both White and Maples emphasized their need. White mentioned that, while people might have silently believed in racial justice and felt they were doing their part to encourage diversity, they are now speaking out and actively fighting for change.

This is the moment to lean in, they said: CEOs and team members alike must promote inclusion and equity, both within and outside of an organization. Maples encouraged driving awareness of a commitment to racial justice, citing research that 61 percent of shoppers prefer organizations with a solid position on diversity and inclusion.

Businesses should have set objectives, with action points and metrics to point to when the organization has achieved its goals. Encourage team members to brainstorm ideas, as they are often the ones shaping the future.

While speaking up is important, White pointed out that leaders and organizations must go further than modeling the behavior and focus on integrating it into their culture. Some leaders might presume it is already integrated, he said, while the people inside the company don’t see or feel it.

Watch the video and learn more.

Related content

Retail’s role in fighting racial injustice
Racism is a real problem in this country, and we all share the responsibility to address it.
Read more
Through the retail lens: Shopper response to retail’s racial reckoning
Kantar Retail SVP Todd Szahun on authentically communicating values to consumers.
Read more
MahoganyBooks on the pandemic and racial justice
Retail Gets Real episode 178: Growing a business around Black literature amid a movement for racial justice.
Read more