Ron Walden, US Group Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Activation, shares his thoughts on his recent appointment as RX Global’ first Executive Sponsor for Race, and his vision for a more racially equal organisation.
Q. George Floyd’s murder has sparked unprecedented global protests in support of Black Lives Matter. Do you believe that demands for racial justice and equality now have a new and unstoppable urgency?
A. What I believe is that the demands for racial justice and equality are not trends. I believe that there is a heightened awareness, people are “woke”, and that the calls for change will not stop.
Q. How did you feel about being offered the role of RX Executive Sponsor for Race?
A. RX Global has taken a huge step towards change by creating this inaugural position. I believe that change happens from within. I felt honored.
Q. How unusual is it for a company to make such an appointment and commitment?
A. In my experience, highly unusual. While well intended, more often than not, the words and actions of companies are not aligned.
Q. What experiences do you bring to the post?
A. Specific to racial justice and equality, I have dedicated my personal and professional time to the advancement of these issues. I have served on boards and committees for non-profits and charitable organizations. But most importantly, I have successfully built and assembled teams that have delivered at the highest level. The commitments that RX has made will be carried out by the committee members and the overwhelming support of the employees at RX. We have assembled a diverse and dynamic committee. We are all excited to get to work.
Q. What is your vision for a more racially equal RX Global?
A. Parity. In a simple word, Parity. We have a vision that the employees and our business partners will be a more than fair representation of the diverse communities in which we live and work. We envision this representation appearing throughout the organization, especially at the leadership levels.
Q. What key actions do you envisage? And how will you work with the newly appointed Global Race Committee to achieve them?
A. Without getting into the details, our CEO, Hugh Jones, has provided us with specific commitments to change that will impact our employees, the communities in which we live and work, and the businesses we operate. The committee will prioritize the commitments, align on the deployment of resources to achieve desired results, and report and share the outcomes.
Q. Many organisations talk the talk on diversity and equality but don’t deliver. How will you define success and measure results?
A. We have an honest commitment from Hugh Jones, our company CEO. The intentions are clear, the goals that we set will be attainable, and measurable. Accountability is in place. In all of my career, this is the first time I have witnessed such a comprehensive approach to taking action against systemic racism, and racial injustices. In the words of John Lewis, “If not us, then who. If not now, then when?”