Nanit CEO Addresses Inequality
Dear Nanit Team,
As I’m writing this message to you, I’m thinking about how any and all past attempts at equality and unity haven’t been enough. This email certainly won’t be enough either. However, sending it just might be one of the most important things I do in my career and I have struggled with what the message should be.
First, I didn’t want our message to be shrouded in anger because that is not what this is truly about. Second, I didn’t want to send a plagiarized version that felt like every other message you’ve already seen from other companies, because that is not truly a voice. Third, I am honestly frustrated with how so many of these corporate messages don’t take into account how the Black community feels, or what they want to say. Where is the voice of the Black community?
We, Nanit, as a company, a community, and a family stand behind the Black Community. We will advocate for inclusion, equality, fairness and opportunity for black men and women and all of our past, present and future Nanit families who are people of color. And as a brand that provides products that help families on their parenting journey, we stand for raising the next generation to treat everyone fairly, equally and with respect.
While one of our top priorities is to create a culture of acceptance and compassion, it’s also not enough. To really support equality we need to recognize what our differences actually mean to each individual on our team, on the grand scale of humanity.
Zero tolerance for baseless cruelty and hatred towards black men and women is essential. Justice for senseless suffering and death is absolutely required but… it’s still not enough.
I consider myself fortunate to call some incredible black men and women my friends. That being said, I will never even begin to know what it’s like to live in their shoes. As I’ve checked in on them this past week, I was overwhelmed, and frankly deeply humbled, by what they wanted to share. I was also struck by how obvious it was that I hadn’t heard their message. It’s been overshadowed and drowned out by images and videos of police brutality. This is the point that I’d like you to take away from this message: Black men and women need to be seen and heard. The change that is needed to end the violence, mistreatment and inequality can only be successfully achieved when we LISTEN.
Recently I learned an important new term: Allyship. It’s defined as the continuous process in which someone with privilege and power seeks to first learn about the experiences of a marginalized group of people, and then ultimately empathize with their challenges and build relationships with that group of people.
If you’ve ever met a person who has built an actual bridge – I’m talking about the ones that people drive over – they have amazing physical strength. I think of allyship as a bridge. Extremely simple in concept but requiring immense strength and commitment to build.
While there are so many things that need to happen to drive positive change, allyship might just be one of the most important ones.
When I’m asked how I want to approach diversity at Nanit, my answer will not only be to publicly state that we stand with the Black community, but to explain how important the concept of allyship is and why we should prioritize it – both personally and professionally. While we may be a small company, we have the power to help bring about change, and my commitment as the current leader of Nanit, is to build that bridge, and drive that change. Every builder is needed.
I encourage all of you to seek out any opportunity to listen to what black men and women are saying right now. Really Listen! What you’ll hear still won’t be enough but what each and every one of us learns to do just might be.
Thank you all for taking the time to listen to this message, and be well.