Tara here. I am taking a brief moment of pause to reflect and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
Pivoting with a focus on health and safety
It’s been quite a year so far. March seems like a lifetime ago. The onset of COVID-19 forced us to pivot all areas of our lives, posed new daily challenges and created an enormous amount of uncertainty and anxiety. Our thoughts are with those of you in our community who have been directly affected by COVID-19. We stand with you.
We’ve really appreciated leaning into our community and sharing daily doses of sweetness to lift us all up during this time. Thank you for brightening our days and being with us. Our mission continues to be a source of inspiration and passion for us and our squad has done an incredible job of adapting to new ways of working to ensure that we kept a steady supply of SmartSweets flowing at a time when healthy snacks mattered more than ever.
We recognize however that we will all need to navigate the global uncertainty around COVID-19 for some time to come. We will continue to stay agile and adapt to whatever the future brings with the focus on health and safety of our squad guiding all we do. It’s a good thing innovation is in our DNA because it’s certainty a time to get creative to find ways to ‘get er done’, all while focusing on what is most important - our collective health and wellbeing.
Our actions on Representation and Inclusivity
2020 has also surfaced hard truths with respect to white privilege and the need for hard conversations and concrete actions to drive inclusivity and increase access to opportunities. At SmartSweets we believe everyone should be able to enjoy all areas of life freely [and have equal access to opportunities], regardless of race, religion or background.
The Black Lives Matter movement #BlackLivesMatter acted as a powerful catalyst within our organization. It pushed us to ask what more can we do to drive meaningful and lasting change.
We know we don’t have all the answers. But we are committed to listening, learning and taking action. We are committed to sharing our progress with the world so we can learn and contribute to the evolution and revolution underway.
Here’s a brief summary of our actions and next steps on Representation and Inclusivity:
What we've DONE:
In the moment
- As the Black Lives Matter movement rose up in June 2020, we immediately addressed the issues and shared with our community what we stand for and what we are prepared to stand up for: Black Lives Matter.
- We donated to Black Lives Matter (@blklivesmatter) and NACCP (@NACCP), and signed petitions.
- We took the week to use our platform to share educational resources with our community. It is easy for brands to make one post, and then go silent. We chose to take it a step further and use our digital reach to educate and share the work we were doing (action over virtue signalling every, damn, time.)
- And we realized right off the bat that all of the above was just the beginning. We began a full audit of our business and shared a representation & inclusion survey with our squad (internal team) to critically reflect on candidly what we can be better at, the actions needed to create the momentum that will drives meaningful and lasting change
- It was immediately apparent that we needed to axe referring to our community as our “Tribe” and this is no longer part of our lexicon. We call our community what they have always been - our Friends.
- And, while we learn and progress, we are encouraging all of our squad to deepen their knowledge and broaden their perspective through our R&I Book Club. We are currently reading and discussing “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Olu.
We are taking time to learn and listen and thoughtfully developing a Representation & Inclusivity Plan that is meaningful and constructed to drive continuous and lasting change within SmartSweets and in the broader community.
Here’s what it looks like:
And- If there’s anything we’re not doing that you feel we should be, please reach out to us! We are leaning into the mantra “progress over perfection”, and know we will continue to have work to do as we strive to be better.
As challenging as 2020 has been so far, I am extraordinarily grateful for the lessons and opportunities for growth and change it is offering us.
Here’s to leaning into discomfort and growth - with a dose of (natural) sweetness of course!