The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, and many others, have affected people in different ways. I am realizing how little I know. I grew up as a white male, lived in predominantly white neighborhoods, attended top tier universities, and went into finance, a profession dominated by other white males. I understand this system well, it makes sense to me. It is capitalism – which feels logical. If I worked hard and set clear goals, I could thrive. I always thought of it as fair. I was wrong.
In discussing with the partners at Alpine (Will Adams, Billy Maguy, Matt Moore, Dan Sanner, and Mark Strauch) we are realizing we didn’t understand (and never will), what it’s like to be left out of that system. We didn’t understand how it felt to grow up as a person of color or a person without access to basic things we took for granted like education, liberty, freedom, and safety— basically a fair chance. We don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in a systemically racist system. And so one of the first actions we can do as the Alpine team is to learn and try to better understand the system from which we have benefited and others have suffered. We are going to read, listen, and learn as well as undertake diversity and inclusion training as a team and share our learnings with the leaders throughout our portfolio. And even these actions are just a small step toward equity.
Learning is essential, but it’s not enough. Alpine is also trying to understand how we can drive long overdue change. The finance industry as a whole is noticeably and undeniably homogenous. Several years ago, we realized that, though it may be difficult to single-handedly change the industry, Alpine could start by changing our own hiring practices. Today, we’re focused on hiring more minorities and women into leadership roles in our portfolio through our CEO-in-Training program. We believe in hiring for attributes over experience and in turn hire exceptional people with nontraditional backgrounds for the roles in which they will be hired. We hope these initiatives create opportunities for those who may not have previously seen paths into senior management or finance roles.
We’re proud of our focus on the development and empowerment of people, and we know we can do more. Our people-driven strategy is intrinsic to who we are, and now is the time to reassess how we can do more to create more equitable opportunities for people and communities who have been negatively impacted by systematic racism. We hope that this movement will serve as a much needed catalyst for us to prioritize and mobilize becoming a positive force for social equity and justice.
We’re proud to work for a firm that is filled with people who acknowledge their weaknesses, challenge each other to have difficult conversations, and care deeply about decisive action and impact. In recent weeks we’ve walked away from several conversations with our team reminded of how much work we still need to do and also energized by our team who share a deep sense of commitment to impact and to helping more people get a fair chance.
Graham Weaver, Will Adams, Billy Maguy, Matt Moore, Dan Sanner, Mark Strauch