In yesterday’s Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten penned an opinion piece in which she makes the following claim:
At corporations like Target and General Mills, employees who believe children need a mother and father increasingly fear that making their views clear could threaten job advancement.
As a Target Team Member, I was shocked to read this claim made in such a public forum. I took to our internal microblogging tool (think Twitter) immediately and shared the link encouraging Communications to contact the author about using Target’s name while making such an absurd claim.
First, our executive committee, board and senior leadership team are made up of primarily heterosexual men and women. While we may have some diversity in the upper ranks, representation for LGBT leaders is limited (or at least the ones that feel comfortable enough to be out). There are a handful of senior leaders that attend one or two LGBTA Business Council events throughout the year, as they would any other business council.
Second, Target’s Christian Network is sponsored by a member of the Executive Committee. This individual reports directly into Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target Corporation. The Christian Network regularly posts Bible versus, conducts Bible Studies at work and has actively encouraged the reporting of any “social” or “political” statements at work. There have been multiple negative repercussions as a result of this action. I will not go into detail here how LGBTA team members have been impacted, but let me say: if anyone is “threaten[ed]” at work for their beliefs, it is those that oppose this mean-spirited amendment. With nearly 1,000 team members part of the Christian network, the claim made by this author, once again, seems absurd.
Third, openness is a cornerstone to Target’s culture. We have open door policies that encourage team members to have conversations with each other. However, in the case of same-sex equality, certain networks have explicitly stated to their team members not to discuss this topic. Per the above, instead, they recommend the filing of complaints. This is opposite to the culture that we promote, and, I would argue, damaging to every team member. Please don’t make a claim that your views could threaten your job advancement, when in reality, you refuse to even engage in the conversation and instead, work to punish those that do.
It’s clear that there are individuals who will continue to work to ensure the conversation around same-sex equality is stopped – whether they use techniques internally, or they take to public forums like this author has done. The whole situation saddens me as diversity and inclusion are true cornerstones to Target’s culture. It’s one of the reasons why I joined this great organization. I know that, together we can figure out how to navigate this topic. If we remain divided, though, we all lose.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council and Christian Network. The views expressed in this post are my own and are no way affiliated with Target Corporation.