In the wake of recent tragedies in Charlottesville, Virginia, and across the globe, it’s more difficult than ever to “bring our whole selves to work” and feel comfortable and accepted. The tensions in our political and racial landscapes can make us heavy with fear, anger and worry – distracting from our focus on the PGA TOUR’s vision and our daily responsibilities. With these tragedies and their impact as a backdrop, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan knew he would have some difficult conversations ahead of him as the leader of a global sports organization, and he wanted to hear directly from his team members about how they were feeling and the effect the current climate was having on them and their families.
As part of Commissioner Monahan’s commitment to the PGA TOUR team and to the pledge’s call for continuing to make our workplace a trusting place to have complex and difficult conversations about D&I, he requested to meet informally over lunch with the PGA TOUR’s multicultural employee resource group: MOSAIC. It was an intimate group of approximately 20 people from MOSAIC who represented many facets of diversity, differing in job level, age, race, national origin, department and disability. Attendees were encouraged to speak openly about their experiences and reactions to the present-day issues. They were also encouraged to weigh in on how the social climate impacts the business of the PGA TOUR, providing Commissioner Monahan with perspective as he navigates those potential impacts.
At this time, the outcomes of that meeting are not subject to metrics, but it can certainly be said that after experiences were shared, many eyes were opened and team leaders could sense a tangible shift in the tension. Informally and honestly educating one another about the challenges we all face lends greater appreciation of the PGA TOUR family. It also allowed the group to feel better connected to the leadership of the TOUR and feel– in real time – that their perspectives are valued at the highest level.
From the meeting, it was evident that we are more committed than ever to highlighting our organization and the game of golf as an antidote to the angst our communities face. A level playing field, fair rules, integrity, respect and merit-based award are what our game is all about. Given the international scope of our members, our fans, our partners, our people – we can embody the energetic mix of voices that is needed to help change the conversation. We realize that a sports league cannot solve ALL of the issues that plague our society, but we can be a powerful platform to unite people if we take the time to listen.