Time for Change
Dear Members of our Georgetown McDonough Community,
This is a troubling time in our country and in our hearts. Like many of you, in recent weeks, I have seen images and heard names I will never forget: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. These names only add to a long list of others — and each of them was someone’s child, or someone’s parent, someone’s friend.
Our nation and the world continue to be plagued by racial violence and structural inequities. Many of us are feeling unsettled, afraid, anxious, and disheartened. For too long, we have waited for change. Now — when the world most needs us — is the time for our community to take action. We have a duty to make a difference. If not us, then who?
We must be Georgetown women and men for all others. Our Jesuit values call upon us to be caring leaders who will not tolerate a society where we worry that we may lose our friends, coworkers, neighbors, or loved ones because of hate and fear.
Let’s understand and appreciate each other’s opinions and beliefs. In particular, listen to — and value — the concerns and fears of our friends and colleagues who are Black or from other marginalized groups. Let’s be mindful of racial inequalities and our own implicit biases in our interactions with each other, in whose voices we invite in, and in the decisions we make, acknowledging that many of the racial challenges we face may be structural.
Our McDonough colleague, Professor Ella Washington, just co-authored an article for the Harvard Business Review on what leaders should do to help their organizations through this painful time and address the challenge of racial injustice. The authors so eloquently state: “Racism isn’t just Black people’s problem; it’s everyone’s problem…” Let’s follow their advice and take deliberate and positive steps to enact meaningful change.
In recent years, McDonough has developed programs to directly address inequality, through initiatives such as the Pivot Program for formerly incarcerated individuals; Georgetown Reach to prepare disadvantaged D.C. youth for college; Smart Start to equip a diverse pool of students for academic, personal, and professional success; and our MBA opening term, which now includes an exploration of the dynamics of diversity and inclusion, implicit biases, conflict and civility, and giving and receiving feedback.
We must do more. In the coming weeks, I will be discussing with our community new ways we can proactively make a difference in a meaningful and sustained way. I encourage you to share your thoughts with me at MSBDean@georgetown.edu. In addition, if you would like to speak with a counselor, Georgetown’s offices of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Campus Ministry, and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) continue to be available virtually during the pandemic.
So, in the next days and weeks let us show how we care for one another and take steps to change our organizations and our communities as we aspire to build a fair and just society of which we can all be proud.
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy
June 2, 2020