Black History Month leader spotlight: Ken Ewell
Chief Customer Officer Ken Ewell shares his take on equity at Momentive, leaders' responsibility to be accessible to their teams, and words that have inspired him.
In honor of Black History Month, we’re featuring Q&A’s with different Black leaders here at Momentive. I asked each of our leaders the same four questions, but got very different, yet equally inspirational answers.
This interview is with Ken Ewell, our Chief Customer Officer.
What are ways that you believe Momentive supports its Black employees?
Momentive supports its Black employees first and foremost by supporting us as PEOPLE. At the end of the day, we should all think of ourselves in that way—and Momentive is focused on employee engagement across the board.
Our support of our employee resource group for people of color, BUILD, our willingness to put Workplace Equity IQ at the forefront of our marketing story, and our true commitment to social justice are all elements of how we lean into our values. For me, the sincerity of everything that we do—and the fact that it comes from the very top of the company—gives me great pride in what I do and who I work with.
What policies, processes, or practices can executives back to support a better future for Black folks at work?
The “I” in “DEI,” inclusion, benefits all of our employees—so everything that we do can be a bit of a benefit for our Black employee population. But specifically, I think the more that we can continue to acknowledge people and the culture and hold ourselves accountable for equity in compensation, promotion, and treatment the better off we will be.
Perhaps the biggest thing we as leaders can do is to be accessible to our team and let that accessibility extend to whatever topics are on their minds. By not limiting the things we’re open to in this way, we stand the best chance of really getting to know people and being able to put them in an environment where they can thrive.
Are there Black voices or thought leaders whose work still resonates for you today in shaping the future of Black folks?
There are too many to name: Barack Obama, Malcom X, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver, Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier, David Steward, Robert Smith, Tony Dungy…I could go on and on.
For me, I take something away from almost everyone–including my teammates at Momentive. I think people have so much to offer, from so many angles. I was listening to Andrew Young speak, and he talked about the diversity of ways in which Black people have affected the world. I truly do celebrate us in all the many ways that we excel—past and present.
What one word would you use to describe how you feel about the future of Black people?
Optimistic. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” The resilience that has gotten us to this point will not ebb, and therefore will over time become the resilience that delivers excellence, prosperity, and recognition. We have to fight to get there.
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