One of the reasons I joined the Erin Condren brand was because of the incredible community. Not only does our team feel like family, but the community of planner enthusiasts who share the same deep appreciation for paper that I do has brought incredible joy and inspiration. When I became CEO 6 months ago, it was this emotional connection to the Erin Condren brand that excited and invigorated me. Our customers have been proud to support us and make our products a part of the big and small moments in their lives. And I want to state right now that, while I can’t change the past, I am committed to making sure we earn that pride every day moving forward.
Today, I understand that many customers are hurt, angry and disappointed. Our founder – a person we love – recently made a careless and dangerous decision when helping to plan a personal event marking the high school graduation of her four children. That event was a mistake in several ways. It was poorly conceived and horribly executed in light of the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More importantly, the graduation walk should never have been mentioned in the same breath as the important Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter works to save lives. Black Lives Matter is striving to address the realities of racial injustice and racial inequity in our country.
While the company was not aware of or involved in the graduation event, we understand why many people are angry and disappointed in the role our namesake played. She has now taken a leave of absence from the company. Even though the company and its nearly 200 employees were not involved, as the CEO, I accept responsibility in earning back your trust in this brand.
Two weeks ago, we announced our initial commitments to address racial inequity within our company. It was a good start, but we need to do more. We are now mandating implicit bias training for everyone in leadership. We believe in backing up good intentions with education and expanded awareness of our blind spots. We will continually take steps to make meaningful progress in the areas closest to our work – education, opportunity and families. We remain fully committed to racial justice, change and action in support of righting wrongs against Black Americans.
And, we need to be accountable to our customers on this. That’s why we will keep you updated on our progress every month via the blog where we have shared our ongoing commitments.
Erin Condren team members work to help customers plan for and preserve key moments in their day and in their lives. This moment in our nation’s history is not one this company will ignore. This is a moment for which all of us will be held accountable. I promise one thing to our customers: our company will not let you down again.
Tonia Misvaer, CEO
*Please note the following statement was updated on 6/20/2020 to reflect recent company changes.