Making History NOW: Recognizing Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the past and honor the many exceptional women who were crusaders for equal rights and champions for women’s causes. It’s incredibly moving to reflect upon, but this year, it’s impossible to commemorate this observance without acknowledging the history being made now and the many women and men making their voices heard while passionately advocating for change through #MeToo, #TimesUp and other similar movements.

This year’s Women’s History Month national theme is “Nevertheless She Persisted.” I find that particularly striking because much of the activism we are presently seeing is aimed at removing barriers that have forced women to persist in order to be heard in the past. Voices that have felt silenced before are not staying silent any longer. They are speaking out against heavy issues such as sexual and physical abuse and harassment, and they are speaking out against powerful and influential figures. Their courageousness is setting precedents so others after them will never have to endure what they’ve endured and will never feel forced to be silent again.

Within Day & Zimmermann, our Chair & CEO Hal Yoh, our Leadership Council and our Executive Diversity & Inclusion Board are unequivocally committed to creating an environment where everyone feels confident sharing their voices openly, without fear or intimidation, and with the knowledge that they will be listened to and supported.   This is true for all of our people, men and women alike.   We take a proactive approach to building and sustaining a culture of trust, respect, fairness, transparency, support and openness. Some of our efforts to support this include our Open Door campaign where we’ve invited everyone to display in their work area an icon that serves as a visual reminder encouraging others to share their voices and their unique characteristics and perspectives. We’ve also implemented the concepts and principles of the book “Opening Doors to Teamwork and Collaboration: 4 Keys That Change Everything” by D&Z Board of Advisors member Frederick A. Miller and consultant Judith H. Katz to equip everyone with helpful tools to better share their voice and in turn, also better listen and respect the voices of others. We also empower our seven Employee Resource Groups to be the voices of their constituents and advocates for related issues and causes. As Executive Sponsor of our Women’s Resource Group (WRG), I’m particularly proud of this team for orchestrating a series of webinars around “#MeToo and Creating a New Awareness” which have been attended by more than 120 colleagues from across our company. These focused on bringing these current events and issues to the forefront and engaging employees in candid discussions around how the current external climate impacts our culture, our expectations, and how we all play a role in supporting one another as colleagues. Importantly, we also have our Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Conduct and required ethics training courses and our policies that are crystal clear regarding our expectations of workplace conduct and our stance against harassing, discriminatory, intimidating, or threatening behavior and language, or any actions that violate our policies. So it’s not all just lip service, its action. In its simplest form, it comes down to living our values of Safety, Diversity, Integrity and Success.  

A key phrase that has come up repeatedly in our #MeToo WRG webinars is that “it’s an evolution, not a revolution,” and I think that’s applicable at many levels. It’s applicable within D&Z and in the context of our cultural aspirations. It’s applicable at the personal level in what we, as individuals, are doing to drive positive change. It’s applicable nationally and globally with the culture shift we are seeing. Undeniably, history is being made now. I’m proud of what D&Z is doing to use these current events as a reminder of what we stand for and to further heighten our knowledge and awareness around these issues. This is also a time of great opportunity for us as individuals and for us as a nation to change attitudes, perceptions, and even laws and policies where necessary, so no woman or man ever has to persist in order to be heard again.