Each year during Pelotonia weekend, we come together with one goal. Surrounded by thousands of participants from all walks of life, we showcase our unity alongside our diversity. We model the inclusivity and collective action that our organization was founded upon. Standing in the crowd each year during Ride weekend, I am reminded that Pelotonia may be one of the greatest examples of what is possible when we embrace a bigger mission as a true community. I am also reminded of the place where I grew up.
Being raised in one of the nation’s first planned communities, Columbia, Maryland, I had the unique experience of growing up in a highly diverse neighborhood. Columbia boasted interfaith centers, which served all religious denominations in the same structure. There were ten villages, each built with a mix of housing types that integrated people from all income brackets. Community mailboxes graced every street, forcing the intentional collisions of residents as we walked to our mailbox each day. In this environment, I grew up with the constant external reinforcement that no matter our gender, race, status, or creed, we are all created equal and there is tremendous opportunity to collaborate in order to improve the quality of life for all. Today, this is a core tenant of my beliefs as a father, a leader, and a human being.
The past year has brought forward new, critical discussions on creating a more equitable society – and as the President and CEO of Pelotonia, I have been humbled and called to action to help facilitate broader discussions within our organization that will also resonate in our community. Today, I wanted to share an update with you on our targeted and extensive work to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion align with Pelotonia’s core values as we fervently pursue our shared One Goal.
Pelotonia respects each person equally and believes that our differences make us stronger. We understand that there are tremendous cancer health disparities, and we must do our part to erase these grave inequities. As a community, we are committed to listening, reflecting, standing up, and speaking out. We are committed to doing what is right and to doing better. That is why we created an official working group within the organization last year dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These change agents have arranged educational discussions, readings, and resources to help us get started in this process.
I’ve already witnessed many profound moments and conversations thanks to this group’s work. I have personally watched our team process information, ask hard questions, and listen to challenging dialogue. The next step in this process is action, and as a team we are prioritizing four main areas:
Community Engagement: bringing awareness to Pelotonia’s commitment to DEI by creating strategic external partnerships that foster equitable participation opportunities and that drive investment in cancer research and prevention for all.
Research Investment: forging a more equitable and inclusive pathway for talented scientists who are underrepresented in the medical community to obtain research funding and to invest in cancer research initiatives designed to dramatically reduce health disparities.
Supplier Diversity: identifying and utilizing more diverse suppliers as part of our purchasing practices. As responsible community partners, we want to drive economic inclusion that provides opportunities for all.
Workforce Diversity: ensuring diversity at the board and management levels of our organization. This will be addressed by how we recruit, retain, develop, and invest in human capital.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion impact every one of us and every aspect of society, including healthcare and cancer care. We all must act to create a more prosperous and equitable society, and I encourage you to explore our key pillars in detail here
As we approach another Ride weekend and an opportunity to be safely together in person again, I encourage each of us to reflect on the true meaning of community. The power of our one goal cannot be understated – and just as Pelotonia models what is possible when thousands of people come together to drive funds for cancer research, I believe that our community can also model what is possible when we strive together for a more just, equitable society.
President & CEO