Berger Leadership Blog

Jul 10, 2020
Categories: Culture

Standing up for social justice

Dan BergerIn recent months, our country has come face to face with our history of social injustice. But this isn't a problem that arose overnight; freedom hasn't been the same for all citizens since our country was founded.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis shown a bright light on these inequalities and injustices. What happened was abhorrent and must never happen again. That's why we as leaders must take a stand now and commit to change.

For those whose companies aren't necessarily focused on social causes, this might seem like you're stepping out of your lane. But let me ask you this – as humans, is standing up for human rights really outside of our wheelhouse?


As you work to ensure your company embodies diversity, inclusion, and equity, here are a few steps to take:

  • Reflect. A company's mission statement and values are just as important as the products and services we provide. What do you stand for? What do you want to stand for? Your mission and values must also be evident in your office culture – it's your employees, after all, who are the face of your company. Take time to reflect on how your hiring practices encourage diversity, how your culture promotes inclusivity and respect, and how you work to make your organization and community better.
  • Communicate – and listen. It's part of our responsibility as leaders to not shy away from difficult conversations, especially when our employees are looking to us to set an example. Talking about racism is a hard conversation to have. And for those of us that are white, we have not had the same experiences as our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) peers. Leaders must create a culture where our employees are encouraged to share their experiences and opinions, and we must be open to hearing their suggestions on how we can make our culture and businesses a better place for all to work. Now's the time to listen, not jump to conclusions.
  • Take action. Actions speak louder than words. If you say you're an advocate for diversity and inclusion, it's not enough to say that you're not racist. You must put the policies in place and make the effort to demonstrate that in your culture. Last year, my organization started a Culture Committee to ensure our employees have a work environment that supports them personally and professionally. Following Mr. Floyd's death, they recommended ways we can further promote social justice in our organization and community. We've also backed other organizations within the credit union industry that are focused on diversity and inclusion and are increasing that support with more funds and involvement. You must be willing to hold yourself – and others – accountable to a higher standard. You must support other people and organizations that are committed to bringing about change.

Each of us have unique backgrounds and experiences. We come from different communities, some more diverse than others. It's important to acknowledge that these factors cause us to have biases and then we must be intentional in our efforts to overcome them and not let them cloud our judgment.

This issue is important to me. I recently put out a statement on social justice so my staff, peers, family and friends know where I stand. I hope you'll consider doing the same and join me in this commitment to make our nation equal for all.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger)

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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