We wanted to share a recent letter that our CEO, Madhavi Rao, shared with our team. We are looking forward to continued growth and development as an organization.
Hi team –
I wanted to share my thoughts on the recent horrific events that took place in Atlanta and my thoughts around the ongoing injustices that continue to come to light. What these things have meant for my life, my family and SoMe, which is a very important extension of my family. This is a really hard letter for me to write. For a number of reasons…
I don’t normally talk about my feelings (Bad and has all sorts of other hidden underlying implications)
Racism is a topic that I have been taught never to talk about. Of course, racism and hate exist, and many of us will experience it, but keep your head down and work hard. The people who taught me this had good reason to raise me this way.
Hate crimes and lack of equity have been happening for a long time and continue to. Actually thinking about it is painful as it puts into question my place in society in this country that I love so deeply.
I don’t want to come off as insensitive. These topics are complicated – how to think about it, what to do, what not to do, what not to say – it can be dizzying and really difficult to navigate. Like so many, I am terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing. I don’t want to look back with regret, so sometimes it is easier to keep quiet.
The topic is just heavy in general and I don’t want to bring people down.
Here’s why I decided to write about it.
I have the privilege of owning a company. That puts me in a place of leadership, whether or not I am qualified to be in this position. With privilege comes responsibility. My responsibility is not only to create a work environment that is profitable and that gives the opportunity for the team to do great work, but one that is just, equal, kind, and compassionate. SoMe is my second home. When things like this happen in the world, I am talking about it with my family. I need to be talking about it at my company. I am proud of the things that we have accomplished together and want to build up this part of our culture.
I realize that opening the doors to this discussion has a huge impact. I have always been of the mindset that you don’t talk about what you are doing – you demonstrate it through your actions. Well, that is important, but talking is important too. That’s just part of my culture and upbringing but talking is the first step.
I don’t live in the same world that my parents live in. My parents never talked about injustices, racism, sexism, because there wasn’t a strong movement that encouraged that, especially where we lived. And they taught us kids to be that way too – put your head down, work harder, be better – you can’t be denied opportunity and success if you are just better. They wanted to keep us safe. We don’t live in that world anymore. Thank goodness. And I don’t want to live in the past. There are a growing number of people who are aware, who want to be more proactive against injustices, and I feel blessed that I have those people around me daily.
I am a minority woman. Despite those designations, I have a lot of privilege and I need to use my voice. For myself, for my family, and for the greater community.
I get to live in the United States. A country that I love – a country that my immigrant parents love. My hope for this country runs deep – I feel saddened by the things that are happening around me. Deeply saddened and the reality is, we only really know a small fraction of what is going on. It is an ache that goes to my core. What does it mean for my place in this country? When I was a young kid, I was blissfully unaware of the injustices. Over the last 20 years it has been painful at times to become aware. But I love this place and I want to do my part to make it a place where everyone can come together, contribute their ideas and live a wonderful life. We have a long way to go and building a company community that works together to be better each day is a small drop in the bucket, but small drops come together to form oceans.
What has been in the news isn’t new – there has been a history of violence in this country towards minorities. But I do believe we continue to grow as a country. The fact that these things are coming to light more and even being covered, shows how much we have grown. That being said, the way it’s being covered and the outcomes show how much we need to continue to grow.
You have to start somewhere – no matter when you start to say something, it is always going to feel uncomfortable. I want to lean into that – not shy away from it. I am tired of not saying anything and blending in. It does not make sense to continue to operate this way. I want to live a life of courage.
What this means for SoMe…
We will more deeply treat our company as a community of people who are all striving to educate themselves on these types of issues and become more involved in making a positive impact
More consistent, dedicated time to talk as a group and in small groups
Ongoing social impact education sessions and follow ups
We will speak out more outwardly and openly as a company our stance on these issues through our channels
We will continue to be focused on figuring out how we can walk the walk and how we can make a positive impact as an agency
Continued dedication to operating a company that gives back to the community in various forms
Because our time on this earth is precious. Because we only live once, I want to do whatever is in my power to make a positive impact. I am humble enough to realize that these issues are extremely complicated and we will stumble, but if what we do has some positive impact, we are in a better place than where we started. We spend the majority of our days at work, and I have the privilege of working with each of you. These topics need to be addressed. We all have things that we need to learn and work on. We have to start within our spheres. My family, friends, and SoMe make up my sphere.
I am proud of the individuals that make up this team, the work we have done and progress we have already made as an organization. I am energized to continue building a company that we are all proud of and do the kind of work that makes us feel fulfilled.
Our upcoming conversation about diversity in the workplace will be a great step in this journey, and I will be sending out more information on the session tomorrow. Thank you guys for your time and attention.