I have more to learn and do on race. This reminder came recently on a trip to Kansas City, MO and I must thank Satchel Paige and all of the unsung heroes of the 20th century's Negro Baseball Leagues for keeping this top of mind.
Our nation remains divided and conflicted in many ways, but one area remains particularly sensitive: how to provide solutions for racial inequality. As a CEO, I am always looking to hire people with skills, talent, and a high-potential for success in our company's culture. But like many other folks, I have a blind spot — people have a tendency to hire talent from their schools and existing networks, leading to many white, male leaders inadvertently perpetuating the racial and gender inequality that continues to exist in the business world.
One reason Disney and Starbucks recently took strong stances on racial topics was due to the presence of influential black women in senior leadership roles. Having diversity of culture and thought in executive spaces is critical for companies to better understand, empathize, and support various communities. Ultimately, the promotion of diversity in the workforce is a critical business need that cannot be done simply for PR purposes. Changes and improvements in racial diversity need to start in the corner offices and in the minds of entrepreneurs.
I had the privilege to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last week with my son's 13-year-old baseball team. To see a rambunctious group of 13-year-old boys sit in rapture as they learn about our nation's ugly history of Jim Crowe Laws in the game they love was amazing. They learned about the talent, the passion and true American spirit of these nearly forgotten heroes. Many of these ball players served in WWI & WWII but were not allowed in the Major Leagues until Jackie Robinson.
America's ugly racial history is not an easy topic to discuss with most teenagers, but I am heartened to see my son and his friends understand the gravity of inequality, express empathy for the struggles of others, and be more accepting and integrated than previous generations. Using a bit of baseball history to remind me and the other parents that we have something to improve upon every day was worth the trip.
–J.W. Postal, Founder & CEO