“There are moments that the words don’t reach | There is a suffering too terrible to name | You hold your child as tight as you can | And push away the unimaginable”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton (“It’s Quiet Uptown”)
To the Employees of Exactech,
Words fail me. And I take pride in having the right words. But this tragic continuation of devastating racist events is so removed from anything I have ever experienced or can understand, that I realize it is time for me to stop and listen. I’ve always thought that I was doing my part by simply not being a racist; I’m now learning that I must become an anti-racist.
I believe deeply that Exactech must celebrate and elevate our diversity and that we are a better, healthier business by doing so. We have talked this year about evolving our culture at Exactech – more team, more tempo, more intensity, more accountability – and it is both the right thing to do and will fundamentally help us be better if we include in that cultural transformation, an initiative focused on increasing diversity and inclusion at Exactech.
For the last several weeks, we have been discussing an idea of starting focused conversations with under-represented minorities at Exactech and within orthopaedics. We have envisioned a future state where we have explicit plans and programs designed to elevate women, black people and people of color (additional groups will likely emerge). And while that overall initiative remains critical and something we will absolutely pursue, today’s #1 diversity and inclusion priority must be to start a dialogue around being black at Exactech.
We will use these dialogues to look carefully at the ways in which we conduct ourselves at Exactech. We recognize that just as social and economic inequality exists everywhere, it also exists at Exactech. My instinct is to try to impress you with all of my ideas on how to improve things, but I am learning, that as a white man of privilege, I don’t have the answers. But you do, and we are ready to listen. I have reviewed this with our executive team and we are committed to an enduring, sustained journey of progress. We may not end it everywhere, but we have the obligation and power to stop it here. It starts with listening to our black teammates. It starts with asking you how you feel and how you think we can do better. It starts by looking at the way we hire, develop, mentor, promote, interact and communicate every day. It starts with acknowledging our own biases – both conscious and unconscious – and then changing them. Our values of Integrity, Compassion, Teamwork, Excellence and Innovation are only words until we live them through actions.
Please reach out to me or Denise to let us know you will a) support our efforts with a willingness to learn and change, b) directly inform our thoughts and plans by participating in a focused dialogue and/or c) have a direct one-on-one conversation with Denise, me or your team leader to share your perspective. Thank you for joining us on this journey that begins today improving our culture to be more inclusive and diverse.
Darin Johnson, CEO