When we started our business in 2006, we didn’t bother with things like Mission Statements or thinking about our Company Vision. We were too busy trying to figure out how to use Quickbooks, hire employees and keep the dog from barking while answering customer calls from the office over our garage. Also, after decades in the corporate world, we had seen too many examples of Mission Statements which were meaningless. “Return Value from Shareholder Investment”. Really? We still don’t have a corporate Mission Statement but iKitchens has developed what I will call a “Personality” over the last 14 years. This personality reflects not only the values of myself and Lou Ann but all our employees. You can get a sense of our personality by looking at the About section on our website https://ikitchensetc.com/our-team/ but it is pretty low-key. The pages in that section talk about our team, our values, and organizations we support. We are a diverse group of individuals with various political views, education, sexual orientation, and race. This diversity makes us a better company. We respect each other’s opinion even though we don’t always agree with them.
We decided early on to be politically neutral and separate our personal political ideology from the business. Our thinking was that customers would be choosing us for the business values, not our political views. This is still the case but the events of the last several months have caused us to shift from this position. For example, few of our clients know that we are an adoptive family with two biracial children. When we decided to adopt outside our race, the adoption counselor told us that we would now be part of the conversation of race in America. Over the years, our family has had to deal with subtle and not-so-subtle racism. The killing of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter demonstrations has us thinking more about race in our family and the world.
Lou Ann and I are both scientists by training. Recently, it seems that science and facts are being routinely replaced by opinion and conjecture. This is a consequence of the rise of social media and commentators that are pretending to be news reporters. This is not restricted to Democrats or Republicans nor Liberal or Conservative. The ignorance of the science has led to the unimaginable spread and deaths from COVID-19. As every scientist knows, the data leads to a conclusion, not the other way around.
With this backdrop, we decided to place a sign on the lawn in front of our Design Studio.
When I went to install the sign, one of our employees said, “Change in company policy”?
I said, “Time to take a stand.”
– Rich Carl