I have always believed that my role as CEO is to be the person who is held most accountable for our company and to our team. I believe in standing up for what is right, but I recognize that my experience as a white male makes me ill equipped to know what it’s like to face discrimination, hatred or even fear for my life based solely on the color of my skin. As I have spoken to friends, community leaders, and associates over the last few weeks, I have been incredibly moved by their stories. The painful history and reality of racism in our country was not news to me, but the depth of pain and persistence of discrimination and bias still being faced today is jarring.
This is a pivotal moment in our country. It is a time to come together in support of basic human and civil rights and to love one another unconditionally. That belief in unconditional love is at the heart of our culture at PetSmart and is supported by our value of being United Together. Through this value we promote belonging and inclusiveness where individuals with diverse backgrounds and talents can excel, and we know that by working together we can accomplish great things.
But we can – and must – do better. In this moment it isn’t enough to say that we value diversity or to speak about inclusion in general terms. Now is the time to be clear in words and actions…to say plainly that Black Lives Matter and to do our part to ensure that this is the truth, not just a phrase. Right now, we are working on taking actions that include:
- Broader communication, events and activities in partnership with our Mosaic Associate Resource Group to create platforms to further this conversation;
- Enhanced development, reporting and recruiting activities to further improve representation;
- Establishment of annual scholarship/tuition aid for black associates and their families;
- Additional funds from PetSmart Charities to specifically address support for pets and pet parents in underrepresented communities.
At PetSmart, we believe pets make us better people, but we know that conscious actions lead to real progress. That is why we must all commit – starting with me – to standing with our Black associates and communities, to taking meaningful action, to being held accountable, and saying what we must until it is no longer necessary: Black Lives Matter.