Prior to founding Working Planet, Vida and I worked at a number of companies where we learned things we wanted to replicate and things we wanted to avoid in our own company. When we launched Working Planet seventeen years ago, we knew one thing we would do is build a company based on fairness. A company where one’s work and actions mattered and where performance alone would determine any team member’s success.
Vida and I were influenced by our families’ histories. By Vida’s father standing up for Hungarian democracy before being forced to flee to America. By my parents’ long-standing political activism from the 1960’s onward. We were both taught and had firmly embedded in our core beliefs from an early age that racism is wrong. That treating people differently based on race or sexual orientation or religion is not only morally wrong, but at odds with the core values that make America such a valuable and potentially unique political experiment: that all people are created equal and hold the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And for a long time we thought that believing these things was enough.
But it isn’t enough. We’ve come a long way in America, but we have an awfully long way to go. It isn’t enough to simply hold beliefs. Action is required. That fairness and equality are not the automatic byproduct of beliefs or even laws, but of active behavior by everyone all the time.
At Working Planet, we have been in discussions about what actions we can take to play our part as a company and as individuals. To push America forward. To not be complacent. Action is required. Beliefs only matter to the extent they impact action, and this is now our focus. We don’t know where this will lead, but we’re not letting it go.
Soren Ryherd, Vida Jakabhazy