I’ve talked a lot about the transformation my company – American Family Insurance – has made.

We’ve adapted to changing customer needs with a solid strategy, structure, and mission, vision and values. We’ve expanded our reach through acquisition and mergers. We’ve brought in new leaders and fresh voices.

And, we’ve grown … in many ways.

Underneath it all, we’re changing the culture at American Family. This is what organizations need to compete in the 21st century. It’s also what those organizations (including American Family) deserve – an environment and set of principles and behaviors that reflect the transformation of our customers, company and communities.

I’ve talked about this many times, for years. But it’s more important than ever to welcome everyone when we work together – their ideas, backgrounds, and unique experiences.

An organization’s leaders and its employees must create a place where how we work is as important as the results of that work.

Every voice matters.

At AmFam, whether we’re protecting customers, working with each other, or living in our communities, when we feel included, we do our best.

This isn’t just talk. Our company has made significant strides to walk this walk. And now we’re making more strides – outside the walls of American Family.

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, I signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion on behalf of American Family Insurance. This is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace today.

I am so proud to join more than 450 other CEOs and company presidents who support more inclusive workplaces.

Across our country, persistent inequities still exist. So does what seems like a growing lack of inclusive behavior. I see it every day.

Signing the pledge means we’re committing to drive meaningful conversation and action inside our organization and with other companies that signed the pledge. We’re committing to creating a safe space for complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion

We’re already starting this work at American Family. We created the Diversity and Inclusion team. And we’re making progress by:

  • Creating an Executive Diversity Council committed to drive a culture of inclusion through our corporate values.
  • Providing diversity and inclusion learning opportunities for leaders and employees, including unconscious bias training and inclusive leadership workshops with industry experts.
  • Developing an online manager toolkit with resources and suggestions to incorporate topics in team activities.
  • Conducting empathy interviews to inform our work in building mentoring programs.
  • Building a social media platform with educational resources and conversation starters around these topics.
  • Strengthening connections to our business resource groups to enhance their impact on cultural competency.
  • Using company leadership events to build awareness around the business case to further diversity and inclusion.

Our Executive Diversity Council – which I proudly serve on – recently completed formal inclusion education and a nine-week “Black History for a New Day” course. This experience helped all 18 members better understand African-American history, uncover biases and create allies.

It’s just a start. Cultural change starts at the top. I’m committed to this work, but I want us all to be leaders … to have voices … to set examples for others in the communities where we live and work.

We have much to contribute as an organization, but much to learn as well. Our participation in the CEO Action Pledge only enhances the work we’re doing to create the culture we deserve.