Challenger Colleagues and Friends –

As with many of you reading this, the events that transpired nationally over the last week were for me a resounding call to action. They have spurred a time of deep reflection and invoked a period in which we all must question how we can build a more just society in which racism is not tolerated. We need to do better. We need to honor the memories of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and so many others, and we need to change the narrative. One clear lesson I take away from these recent events is that progress cannot be taken for granted.

I am often called an eternal optimist, but I believe that out of the pain we are experiencing right now can come great opportunity. This is possible only if we use our anger and the discomfort we are feeling as a wake-up call, as a catalyst for being more attuned to the issue of race, to listen and seek to understand, to embrace our differences, and to figuratively walk in others’ shoes. Through these actions good things will happen. Two of Challenger’s core values are authentic collaboration and bold thinking. These are the exact values we need our leaders to model and everyone to embrace to achieve the enduring progress we seek.

We are all feeling pain right now, and we recognize that for some, especially our friends, colleagues and clients in the Black community, this pain is unbearable.  In reflecting on this I’m reminded of a principle we teach through the Challenger methodology. It is that people begin taking action to bring about change when “the pain of the same is greater than the pain of the change”.  Are we there yet? I believe the energy we see coming right now from cities and towns around the world is a collective recognition of this “pain of the same”. Change will be difficult, but the status quo is much worse for everyone.  I am certain though, that we can be stronger if we tackle this together.

Only real and immediate progress will soothe the wounds caused by these events and the long, fraught history that led up to them. It starts when each of us takes ownership of the outcomes we can control or influence.  The Challenger team is committed to doing everything we can to help, in ways large and small.  We will be introspective about our own practices.  We will donate our time and expertise to promote diversity and progress, and we will learn to be better listeners and advocates.  Please hold us to these commitments and join us in the effort.

What if 2020 is not the most dreadful year as many have come to believe, what if it was the year where everything changed for the better?

Simon Frewer