Charles Brindamour issues call to action to end systemic racismBy Hubert Roy | June 15 2020 12:38PM
The circumstances around the death of George Floyd have struck a deep chord with Intact Financial Corporation’s CEO Charles Brindamour.
Floyd, 46, is an African American who was killed by the police during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Demonstrations have been held in the US and around the world to denounce the treatment of people of colour by law enforcement and by society in general.
In a message he posted recently on LinkedIn, Brindamour says he asked the Intact employees for their input on how they could work together to bring about meaningful change.
“Our employees responded by providing advice and sharing stories of their own experiences with racism as well as their frustration and fear. It takes courage to talk about those feelings. And, like other voices around the world, our employees’ views signal a tipping point. Their stories are powerful and have made a tremendous impression on me,” he points out.
Working with the same urgency as for COVID-19
The Intact CEO says that COVID-19 taught him that society can react fast to a crisis. He wants to see systemic racism addressed with the same urgency as the pandemic.
“If you had asked me a few months ago if we could mobilize 99% of our people to work from home so quickly, I would have said no. While we can’t eliminate systemic racism overnight, we can apply the same level of urgency in developing solutions and taking concrete actions–whether inside our own organizations or across nations,” he says.
“Living with Integrity–one of our Values—means standing up for what is right. We know there is more work to do. I can assure you that at Intact, we have made a long-term commitment to action,” Brindamour continues.
Launching a task force
Intact already has a Diversity & Inclusion strategy, but Brindamour is convinced the company can do better.
“In the days ahead we will be focusing our efforts on active listening, education and supporting our communities. It is also clear that we need to renew and increase our efforts to identify and develop diverse talent for leadership positions; as well as for our board.
He says he wants to act quickly. “That will mean things won’t be perfect, but our efforts will be action oriented,” he explains.
Intact has formed a task force made up of Black and other visible minority employees, and our Diversity & Inclusion Council to provide recommendations on our plan, Brindamour explains.
The insurer is also committing $500,000 to support anti-racist organizations, as well as the Minneapolis communities that have been directly affected. “The current COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated many underlying societal challenges, from poverty to racism, to the care of our most vulnerable people. Businesses and their employees have an important role to play in leading the way forward on positive change,” Brindamour wrote.