Arketi’s seven company values were created out of deep, direct discussions between colleagues, about what it means to be part of Arketi, and what role a firm like ours should play in the world. We believe in them wholeheartedly and try to live them every day.
Two of these two values, in particular – “Be Your Best Self” and “We Have Voices for a Reason” – are being tested right now.
We believe deeply in the goodness of our coworkers, our clients, our fellow Atlantans and our fellow Americans. The events of the last weeks have been very hard to watch. And sadly this is not new. The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and a long series of similar tragedies and iniquities forced upon Black people must end, and we all must work in earnest to eliminate racism within ourselves and within our society.
We fail to honor the legacy of our city, Atlanta, if we do not confront what has happened to bring us here, and if we do not acknowledge our own role, however unintended or unaware. The road to reform is neither easy nor short, but we do know we are better than this. We know this because we know our colleagues; we know their goodness, their belief in others’ goodness and their understanding that we are all equal no matter what. Despite the hatred that has gotten us here, and continues, we know Atlanta and America are full of people who do not hate and who believe all human beings are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights. That gives us hope.
We recognize that words are one thing, actions are another. Yet as people who work with words – who craft words to inform, influence and, yes, to persuade – we believe words have impact too. We will not use words as a substitute for action, as a company or as individuals. But we will also strive to use our work, our words and our access to platforms to clearly and honestly communicate what we stand for. And to back that up with action.
We are using our company book club, BooKeti, as an opportunity to learn about and understand racial injustice. We are providing tools like A Conversation Starter Toolkit from The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change to facilitate candid, necessary conversations among us. And we will be dedicating a session of our upcoming 14th Tech CMO Roundtable to discussing how communicators are in unique positions to influence, encourage and coach on ways to eliminate the scourge of racism.
We are allies in this struggle. To be our best selves we must use our voices and actions to support one another, and to work toward a better tomorrow.
This blog post, the candid conversations within Arketi that inspired it, and these steps, are only the beginning of an acknowledgement, a journey and a concerted effort to truly live out our values.