CU Strategic Planning has changed its employee holiday calendar to more authentically reflect the values of the company. Offices will close on Oct. 11 in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and on June 19th in honor of Juneteenth, both dates of significance to the staff.
CFO/Co-Owner Sharon Hall is a descendent of the Blackfeet Nation. "This change is personal to me," she acknowledged. "The thousands of missing school-age children found in mass graves awakened in me the history of our people being silenced. My business partners listened when I said my people should no longer be silenced. They responded by officially replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day."
Hall added she hopes this stands as an example to the entire credit union system of how the practice of DEI is operationalized with the credit union operating principles of social responsibility and nondiscrimination.
Chief Strategy & Advocacy Officer Mike Beall explained that he and his partner, George, chose Indigenous Peoples’ Day for their wedding weekend. “Sharon is a guest at our wedding. It is no longer Columbus Day to us,” he said. Earlier this week, Beall was designated an official ‘LinkedIn Influencer’, achieving 36,000 views for his LBGTQ leadership on gay marriage in the credit union system.
At the same time, the executive team added Juneteenth as an official company closure and staff holiday.
"Ronaldo shared the context of Juneteenth recognizing the legacy of Black Wall Street that was stolen and the incredible loss of life," CEO/Co-Owner Stacy Augustine said. "That was only 100 years ago.”
"They honored me as an executive, a Black executive, knowing how inappropriate it would be to provide DEI consulting without leading by example with a diverse ownership team and equity,” Chief Diversity Officer/Co-Owner Ronaldo Hardy stated. “They didn't want to hire me as an employee to build something they, as a majority White ownership team, direct or reap benefits from exclusively, as has so often been the treatment of Black people in American history." Hardy was extended equity to build out the company’s DEI consultancy and empowered to make policy decisions like recognizing Juneteenth.
"By enacting these changes to staff holidays, CU Strategic Planning is working to be an organization that acknowledges stolen generational wealth, assimilation and lost lives,” Augustine said. “This work is essential to authentically lead credit unions in CDFI and DEI consulting."