Guidant stands against racism.
We stand in solidarity with our Black employees, friends, family members, partners, clients, and the entire Black community. The continued injustices shown toward communities of color are unacceptable. We will no longer be complicit with our silence. We see you. We hear you. We recognize that we are part of the problem. We commit to listening to, learning from, and supporting you. Black lives matter.
It’s time for change. Although the hill is steep, we’re ready to climb.
To our Guidant Community,
We thank each of our Black team members, entrepreneurs, partners, and vendors for sharing their perspectives, advice, and ideas, as well as giving us space to create the actions we choose to take. We have spent the past weeks listening with the desire to educate ourselves and being thoughtful before defining a path forward.
We view our team members and the clients we serve as our family. We believe it is our duty to speak out for them when they face injustice and feel pain.
We are committed to building a better tomorrow.
We must lean on our values to ensure we support the Black community and others who are underserved:
Passion: We support the dreamers.
We’re proud to help fund Black small businesses but acknowledge that Black entrepreneurs struggle to access funding more available to other groups. We’re committed to help level the playing field.
Adaptability: Embrace and drive change.
We support the need for change that improves the lives of the Black community and other marginalized communities. We embrace the work we need to accomplish to be part of that change.
Community: Lift each other up.
We understand that lifting up the Black community creates space for Black imagination and innovation. We support our Black employees, partners, and Black-owned businesses, including those we serve.
Excellence: Get better every day.
We recognize that we aren’t perfect. Conversations about racism and privilege are uncomfortable, but we must speak up. We need to learn when to step aside and elevate Black voices. We understand that the work is never complete.
We are committed to coming together with all those fighting for justice and equality. Now is the time for radical transparency and action.
For Guidant this mean less talk and more action, starting now. This is how:
To our team members:
We are committed to listening, learning, and acting. We’re launching an internal Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity task force. This task force is focused on facilitating conversations and providing education on injustices within our walls and in the communities where we live.
Guidant will improve our efforts to hire and invest in historically underrepresented groups. We’ll immediately invest in training for all teammates on creating an inclusive culture and supporting anti-racism.
Finally, while I deeply respect the work they have done, I must admit that we have an all-white, male Board of Directors. This will change to represent the diversity we value within our team.
To our small business clients:
We love working with Black entrepreneurs across the U.S., but we recognize that the system is underserving Black owned businesses. Today, only 3 percent of all SBA loans go to Black-owned businesses. And only 9 percent of Black owned businesses have a credit line, which is 61 percent fewer than white entrepreneurs.
Guidant will leverage our decades of experience to amplify their voices and ensure that more capital is provided to those who want to pursue their own American dream. Long-term, these efforts will help to heal the damage caused by socio-economic trends that affect the Black community.
To our small business partners:
We want to ensure a collaborative community response. We’ll be calling on our partners within small business, franchising, lending, and small business services to provide additional support to those who need it most.
Change won’t happen immediately, but we know this is the right direction for Guidant, for the U.S. and for the world we live in – because we believe equality is a basic human right.
CEO of Guidant Financial