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If you want to change the world, look at yourself: Verizon Media CEO on racial justice

Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media, discusses how Verizon Media is addressing social injustice both as a media company and within the company itself

Video Transcript

GURU GOWRAPPAN: Great question, Sibile. And I think this is one everyone has to be focused on. And the way I think about it is, to move forward, we must do this together, right? The issues we are facing today didn't happen overnight. But in some ways, they were indeed illuminated overnight. When it comes to race, the pandemic also has disproportionately affected communities of color.

Meanwhile, we are grappling with the issues, as you mentioned, of racial and social injustice. So a week after George Floyd's death, anxiety and depression among African-Americans shot to highest rates ever when you think about the impact it has had.

So that leads to the way we think about-- Verizon, Verizon Media, our commitment, to diversity, justice, and inclusion is deep and long lasting. We've taken substantial steps throughout my tenure here to reinforce that commitment. That being said, there is a lot more we have to do.

So I'll talk about the actions. For me, if you want to change the world-- I think the code we always heard of many times is, if you want to change the world, you start with yourself. That is what we are doing at Verizon Media. We're looking at our processes, and procedures, and finding ways to be better.

We created this roadmap called the Racial Justice Plan. Starts with employees, so hiring. We're focused on amplifying diversity and Black talent in the hiring pipeline by reimagining the process we use to identify great talent. Early results are showing a pipeline three times as diverse as previous pipelines. So early hiring trends are also looking good, what we're seeing.

Second is around retailing, creating opportunities for diverse talent in multiple ways, including building our diversity and inclusion plan for employees, giving them toolkits. We launched a diversity, equality, equity, and inclusion 101 on one mandatory training for employees. We launched career development plan for diverse employees to identify career growth opportunities and help them advance on that journey.

So at Verizon Media, we always think about our stakeholders across four, right? You have employees, customers, society, and shareholders. So a lot of work started inside with our employees. Then we focus on customers, society, and shareholders. So in that end, when you think about customers and society, racial justice, again, has been top of mind for us in our content across ecosystem.

Our editorial teams, we added a whole Black Lives Matter page to Yahoo.com to ensure that our sources are diverse and can provide a diverse perspective, and for our reporting, as well as continue our original coverage on when George Floyd's murder happened to many others. So covering that, including national protests, really taking care of that.

And then the other pieces we did on society was supporting Black-owned small businesses, where we donated $5 million in ad inventory for marketing and awareness. We committed $10 million in aid to our organizations dedicated to equality and social justice. So that's how we've addressed employees, society, customers, and shareholders when it comes to racial justice plan.