To say we’re saddened and outraged is an understatement. Our country’s heart and soul is reeling. Seeing the video of George Floyd laying on the ground as bystanders pleading for his life was more than a gut punch – it was sickening.
For some days now, I’ve been trying to put together the right words at a time when most of us are at a loss for what we’ve seen. And I keep coming back to this: we must do better.
Mr. Floyd’s death is another reminder that our black friends and neighbors live in fear – that they’re treated differently and we have a systemic problem throughout America and in each of our communities. His death was one of many racial injustices that happen every day – this one just happened to be caught on camera. Racism in any form is unacceptable.
We all can do more to end racial discrimination. We must do better. While we may not be able to change the world overnight, we can bring about change in our own ways and in our own circles. Events such as these can be catalysts for self-reflection and for evaluating many aspects in our own lives. Where might I be demonstrating racism? What can I do to bring those who are different from me to the table? How can my company do better? What needs to be done to create a society where everyone is treated with respect and integrity?
The answer can be found in the foundational blocks of our company – our 3 Cs and Core Values. Clients, Colleagues and Communities focuses on ALL of our colleagues and ALL of our clients and ALL parts of our communities. Our 3 Cs encourage us to celebrate the diversities of our colleagues who are different from us because they make us stronger and they make us better. We focus on and provide assistance to the entirety of the communities we live in and the clients from all walks of life in which we serve.
Then there’s our Core Values: Respect, Integrity, Excellence, Balance and Accountability. Respect and Integrity demand of us to never allow mistreating or discriminating others in any way, shape or form. Accountability means we all hold each other accountable for ensuring that we are treating others with Respect and Integrity. We’ll never be perfect, but we’ll always strive to be.
The culture we’re building at PayneWest provides some very good building blocks in which to grow. It’s time for each of us to step up and do even better. It’s time for all of us to take a stand and let it be known. And on that note, as PayneWest’s CEO: I am committed to equality, diversity and inclusion of everyone – both in my personal life and for our colleagues here at PayneWest.
We must do better, but we must be committed to making it happen.
I want to let you know that earlier this week, a small group of colleagues started with the first steps in creating a new initiative to acknowledge where PayneWest can do better and bring greater diversity and inclusion to every corner of our company. It’s the first step of many to not only listen, but to understand and build an even more inclusive PayneWest. After we launched an internal channel to hear your thoughts, we’ve been blown away by your honesty, your vulnerability and the stories that caused us to sit back in our chairs.
We must do better.
Seeing the images on TV are hard. Hearing stories of racist activity is appalling. But as much as we want to feel better again, let’s pledge that the old normal wasn’t good enough. That the new normal brings one of equality and inclusiveness for everyone.
We must do better…and we will.
Kyle Lingscheit, CEO