CEOs: It’s Our Job to Foster an Environment of Mutual Respect

Photo By: Rebecca Blackwell/Oxfam America is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

CEOs: It’s Our Job to Foster an Environment of Mutual Respect

CEOs are held to a higher standard—we know this the moment we take the role.

We set the tone and the course of the organizations we lead. We lead by example and exemplify the values and standards that everyone in the organization must observe. And, we provide a safe and inclusive workplace where staff are successful and continue to grow.

We all know that sexual abuse and harassment exist in our community. And, it’s a CEO’s job to ensure that staff and the people they serve are free from sexual abuse and harassment.

The recent Mercy Corps crisis reminds us of the perils associated with inaction or inappropriate action. This past week was a reminder that there are many things, including the actions of others, that are out of our control. But, it was also a reminder that it is a CEO’s job to initiate, fully support and grow innovative approaches that ensure staff, and those we serve, are treated with dignity, kept safe, and can thrive.

For the past decade, InterAction has continued to bring awareness and increased action to the issue of sexual abuse and harassment in our community. In 2017, we created the CEO Pledge on Preventing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment by and of NGO Staff.

The 133 nonprofit CEOs that signed The Pledge made a promise for their institutions. A promise to take a zero-tolerance approach to inaction when it comes to sexual abuse in our community.

Through our Pledge to Action program, InterAction has created resources to assist nonprofits in the development of their own policies and to help with the evolution while organizations strive to meet the Pledge.

No work environment is perfect. However, leaders should always strive to have an open-door policy where staff can share their concerns with no repercussions and support each other, and the people in and around our community, and value an environment of mutual respect.