My dear ones,
What a year it’s been. Here at the end of 2016, after a momentous election and a bitter, divisive campaign season, I think we should all take a moment to breathe, absorb, and reflect on what we’ve just been through.
As much as I am loth to say it, we’ve just elected someone who has bragged openly about assaulting women, someone who has continually degraded and insulted entire groups of people, and who has an unpredictable temperament and irrational mentality. That’s where we are now.
As a feminist, I am disgusted and appalled by Mr. Trump’s character. As a businesswoman, I am utterly unimpressed by his supposed acumen. His track record has mainly involved self-serving bankruptcy and short-changing contractors, employees, and business partners. That is no way to run a company, let alone a nation. Yet the election is over, and we must come to terms with that. I have been working to do so over the past weeks.
There is a time to grieve, for lost opportunity, for lost hope. We were on the brink of electing the first female president in our history, which would have been a giant triumph for all feminist causes and social justice activists.We were looking forward to continuing the great strides forward we had made under President Obama. All this is now either uncertain, or endangered. But as the inauguration draws ever closer, we must dry our tears, and roll up our sleeves.
So, back to how I started this entry: where do we go from here? This is not a time for tuning out, being discouraged. We have work to do, friends, now more than ever.
Our fellow business leaders have had a large role in combating discriminatory policies and initiatives, from the North Carolina companies who fought the transphobic bathroom laws in that state, to the CEOs who have recently written to Mr. Trump to express concern that the US cannot fall behind its obligations as a world leader in the fight against climate change. We must step up our efforts to lead the way, and demonstrate that corporate influence can be used for good. Whatever tactics the new administration and Congress use to try to roll back civil liberties or rights protections, we must be there every step of the way, leading by example and proving that we don’t have to sacrifice our social values to do well in the commercial sector.
Stay active, stay engaged. Find ways to use your community service programs at work to help raise funds and attention for important non-profits who need it most. Use your platform to raise awareness among your customer base or clientele, and help them understand and feel a part of any political actions you take as an entity.
Within your own company, stay vigilant. Do not let yourself accept acts of microaggression, intimidation, or sexism as the new norm. Our leaders may be changing, but we have worked too hard to let up now! Make it clear through your words and actions that tolerance, compassion, and empathy are still core values that you expect to be upheld in your workplace.
I encourage you all to reach out to your consumers, clients, and colleagues. Affirm your shared values, and take the moment to regroup and reinvigorate your value statements, mission plans, and ethical goals. The next four years could see many changes, but I want to remind all of you that you are the real leaders of market-based change. Laws come and go, but a good company is ahead of the game in exceeding ethics standards and creating a corporate philosophy that both your company and your clients/customers can feel a part of.
Remember, friends, we are stronger together. Always.