I am an executive of color in a large publicly traded company with a national footprint. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the CEO has taken some largely symbolic actions around diversity and inclusion (D&I) that have proven to be little more than window dressing. It is obvious that she is not only uninterested in diversifying the executive team (2 of 16 executives are people of color; there are no people of color at the next management level down, which consists of over 60 positions), she is openly hostile to meaningful discussions about improving the organization’s D&I makeup and statistics. Though she agreed to launch a D&I program several years ago (after much arm twisting by the board of directors) she has refused to adequately fund and empower it, and routinely rejects or personally dilutes any actions or initiatives the D&I staff of 2 (in a company of nearly 50k employees nationwide) proposes. I’ve personally had conversations with the CEO around the D&I effort and have offered to assist in any way I can. Although both of those conversations went well and the CEO seemed, at the time, receptive to my offer, nothing more has come of it.
I have been with this company for close to 10 years. I very much enjoy the work, the company and my colleagues. The lack of diversity coupled with the CEO’s open hostility to matters of equity and inclusion have become my sole source of dissatisfaction with my role. However, in more recent times, it has become so frustrating that I am now questioning whether it is my cue to begin a job search. The actions and behaviors in this regard certainly don’t align with my personal values, and the longer I stay and tolerate the status quo, the more I feel complicit in what I see as systemic racism. I also feel that my personal integrity is being compromised. On the other hand, I’ve been successful in the role and proud of what I’ve accomplished in the organization to date. I have a good rapport with my colleagues as well as the CEO, am compensated well and, by all accounts, am highly respected in the organization. Every new job is a risk, and while I loathe the idea of starting over at a new company, I don’t know how I can stay here without feeling like a sellout. Please offer any advice that might help in this situation.