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Leading By Example in a Crisis

Strong leadership in the business world often calls for bold moves in tough times. For many of our clients, that time is now.

We have witnessed leaders shine a spotlight on important and necessary issues in recent weeks, using their positions of influence and their brands to help promote healthy conversations in moving our world forward.

From protests on public squares to company-wide announcements from the C-suite at work, the Black Lives Matter movement has created a national and global discussion on race relations where commentary is being sought as well as embraced. CEO Mike Bidwell of Neighborly began by looking inward across more than 4,000 franchisees that serve an estimated 10 million customers across the globe. And his words championed the very culture that the company name promotes: being Neighborly.

“Let me say unequivocally, there is no room for bigotry or discrimination of any kind with our company or the communities we serve. The diversity of backgrounds, opinions and experiences of all associates, franchise owners, their employees and customers are what makes us who we are — and we must never waver from our commitment to respecting all people,” Bidwell said. Read his full statement HERE.

President and COO Cheikh Mboup of Edible Arrangements used his own personal and professional journey as a black executive of a global brand to not only make a statement to his company and the media at-large about the importance of openly discussing the issue, but also to put things in place to help others do the same. Mboup is encouraging workers to talk with one another, check in on each other’s well being and show a level of care for one another as not only a workplace goal, but a goal for humanity. Edible also debuted an anonymous hotline for employees to speak to certified counselors, and Mboup spoke to the media [CNBC, Cheddar, QSR, Franchise Times and more] about the need for more companies to shed the taboo of discussing race relations in the workplace. To watch his full Cheddar interview, visit HERE.

Teen suicide

While George Floyd’s death has spurred an important conversation, another silent killer is equally troubling to Rob Price, CEO of School of Rock. As the surge of COVID-19 closed franchise locations to an estimated 40,000 students around the world, Price has been fixated on the isolation of kids who shouldn’t feel alone, bullied or cut off from a social network of support. With teen suicide as the second leading cause of death among young adults, he has used his organization to support the greater School of Rock community in a whole new way.

The company launched a Rock Remote online program to keep students and teachers connected. That was followed with School of Rock’s Artists Sessions, as the company masterfully gave online access to some of the world’s most famous musicians for tips and conversations while also benefitting the Association for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Price said, “This puts us on the front lines with our students.” Especially now, given how the isolation, anxiety and helplessness of the Coronavirus pandemic, with its subsequent school closures and economic downturn, and widespread protests of racial injustice are fueling a mental health crisis. Read the full Forbes article HERE.

Tough issues deserve tough conversations. Talking is key.

If recent developments are any indication of leaders embracing tough subjects, the trend to put hard topics out in the open for a healthier and happier future are a sign that the world indeed can move forward in the best possible way.

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