On November 18, 2020, PYXERA Global hosted the second of several conversations as part of the Rhetoric to Action webinar series. The series intends to bring leaders from across sectors to discuss meaningful actions that can dismantle structural racism. To learn more, discuss actions your company can take toward dismantling structural racism, or launch a new initiative, contact: Renay Loper, Vice President of Program Innovation, PYXERA Global.
While many multinational companies have pledged to address structural racism in the United States, we know that structural racism is not just a US issue – it’s a global issue. So how can companies around the world learn from each other and leverage their responses to influence racial justice globally?
During PYXERA Global’s second conversation as part of the Rhetoric to Action Webinar series, Renay Loper, Vice President of Program Innovation at PYXERA Global, welcomed Dr. Ambily Banerjee, Director at GSK (based in the UK); Rebecca Stevens, Head of Global Health Partnerships at Novartis (based in Switzerland); and Bruno Honorio, Researcher and Content Analyst of Social Listening at QuintoAndar (based in Brazil) to discuss some of the tangible ways in which multinational corporations can contribute to dismantling structural racism and the rebuilding of a more equitable system – globally. Each brought a unique perspective: Ambily actively works with senior leaders to bring visibility to some of the challenges faced by Black, Asian and ethnic minority colleagues at GSK; Rebecca secures and implements partnerships to develop medicines for diseases that disproportionately affect poor, vulnerable populations; and Bruno’s communications expertise in brand content creation focuses on ethnic and racial representation and LGBTQ consumer research, services, and digital platforms. While none of the speakers hold titles typically associated with race-related issues (for example, Head of HR or Diversity & Inclusion), each leads on these issues from where they are and within the roles they occupy.
While each country’s history with and acknowledgment of racial injustice is unique, Ambily, Rebecca, and Bruno all agreed that this year’s amplification of racial injustices in the US have propelled race-related movements where they are based – from mass protests and examinations of the legacy of monuments to efforts to reform criminal justice systems, social media mobilization, and more. Additionally, the panel reflected on the global effects of the recent historic US presidential election where Kamala Harris became the first female, first Black, and first Asian American elected as US Vice-President.
For multinational companies, the events of this year have demonstrated the importance of accountability and tracking the impact of initiatives to address structural racism, both internally and externally. To encourage multinational companies to stay accountable and leverage their global influence, Ambily, Rebecca, Bruno and Renay concluded the conversation with the following recommendations and reminders:
- Look at local data to gain a nuanced understanding of structural racism in the countries where you operate.
- Be intentional about cross-sectoral and cross-border partnerships – there is so much we can learn from and share with each other. Global, complex issues require global, complex solutions.
- Don’t devalue or underestimate the societal impact you can achieve as a company, both locally and across borders, through your influence.
- Ensure the voices of the populations most affected are part of the process toward finding solutions.
- Equip Human Resources professionals with knowledge on structural racism and strategies to prevent prejudiced bias. See people for the skills they bring to the table.
- Nurture the talent pipeline both inside and outside of your company – invest in the education and development of your future workforce. Diversity is a business imperative.
- Including diverse voices in decisions is critical – be mindful of the balance in power, and actively make shifts where necessary.
- Be a visible, active, and vocal role model in championing anti-racism.
- Leaders don’t lead from titles; they lead from where they are. Everyone has a voice and the ability to contribute to change.
We encourage you to view the webinar recording and share it with colleagues and peers. We also welcome you to continue the conversation with us during the next webinar of the Rhetoric to Action series.