Aleta Maxwell

Beyond Social Media

What if every company enacted changes to live up to their social media posts?

There has been a steady barrage of news stories revealing murder and injustice against Black people in the last few years. These stories are only the ones that have made headlines but have caused a collective rising of voices calling for lasting change in our culture and legal system. While there have been countless incidents and deaths, the three most recent have made the whole country pay attention more than at any time in the last few decades.

We know the stories, right?

Let’s look briefly at the responses. After the Ahmaud Arbery murder, when an unarmed black man was simply out jogging and was gunned down for seemingly only being black, there was an outcry for change across every platform. But did people hold their companies, groups, and friends accountable for more?

Then we heard about the fatality of Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed by the police executing a no-knock warrant without due diligence. She was in her own home and fully innocent of any wrongdoing. There was, again, an outcry for change across every platform. Yet, nothing changed.

And now we have the tragedy of George Floyd. This murder is highlighting the injustice within the police system and exposing the fact that police are not held accountable for their actions.

There is an outcry on not only a national level but around the world.

What change will this bring?

 Hundreds of companies are now making statements. They have posted to their social media accounts that they realize there is a problem and have promised to do their part to end systematic racism and/or stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Imagine if each of these companies actually made changes in their organizations to align themselves with their social media posts and the greater movement. Imagine what we might see. I challenge each and every company to start doing the hard work to ensure that racial equality is a reality and not just a hope for the future.

As leaders in your company, you have the ability to be a part of a real solution.

You may be asking exactly how you can start this process. Here is a great article to assist you in thinking of how you can take action now as a company to stand up against racism.  Laura Roberts and Ella Washington make some great points on what to avoid and how to take action now.

The question is, will you lead in making a long-lasting change to ensure your workplace is free of racist policy and/or an atmosphere promoting unconscious bias? 

As a leader, it starts with empathy. Listen to Black voices describe working in a majority White environment. Adia Harvey Wingfield describes in her article 'Being Black at a White Workplace' that “beyond outright discrimination, which many still face, there are psychological costs to being one of just a few black faces in a predominantly white environment" stemming from the constant effort put into controlling facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. to “show feelings of conviviality and pleasantness, even—especially—in response to racial issues.”

Take some time to develop as a leader, using empathy to educate yourself on these issues. As you educate yourself, learning from Minority voices, you will be more equipped to educate the team around you to lead in empathy as well.

The next step as a leader in your organization is to take a hard look at policies and procedures set up and how they could explicitly or implicitly create a racist or biased work environment.  

Wondering where to start? Start by asking these questions:

  • How easy is it to raise a complaint or call out discrimination or bias? Does it fall on whoever is loudest or most comfortable going to HR? Ensuring that there is a safe and easy way for all to hold each other accountable is essential to rooting out bias, discrimination, and racism in our workplace. Making sure there is diversity in board and leadership positions will also help in this area. Dana Wilkie suggests that “when a team, department or C-suite is dominated by people who are alike, employees in the minority can feel isolated and may be vulnerable to pressure—including harassment or discrimination—from others. Moreover, the report said, employees in the majority may feel they can get away with harassing or discriminating against those who are different.” Evaluate your team in this area.

  • What are the hiring practices? Who makes decisions on hiring and promotions, and how are these decisions made?

It is up to us as leaders to ensure that this moment is one that we do not waste. It is imperative that we utilize this moment to first question ourselves and then mobilize our influence in our places of work, worship, and play to ensure that we do better going forward. It is time for not just simply posting on social media about racial equality, but to do the hard work required for change to happen to ensure that the world is better for our children and future generations.

Taking this time to do this work will create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard that will only cause your organization to thrive! 

I can help you dive deeper as a leader and take a closer look at these questions in relation to your company or organization. Doing the hard work is a team effort that sometimes is reliant on third party non-biased consultants. Please reach out to me HERE if you have a question or schedule a free 30-minute consultation HERE.

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About Aleta Maxwell

"As a leadership coach, CEO & Founder of Uplifting Leadership and former CHRO, I leverage over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry and non-profits to partner with leaders at all levels of management.
Together, we uplift their leadership skill set and develop brand ambassadors. You can find out more about services provided here or email at"