Under Armour CEO on the brand’s diversity and inclusion strategy and choosing which social issues to support
Consumers today are not satisfied with diversity and inclusion as an ultimate goal. In many cases, people don’t want to wait to see the brands they love embody the values they hold dear.
In the athletic-wear sphere, this is certainly the case. And Baltimore-based Under Armour is no exception.
During an interview at Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival on Wednesday, Under Armour CEO Patrik Frisk explained how the American sportswear brand is tackling diversity and inclusion. He also outlined how he chooses which social issues to weigh in on as a CEO and brand — and how he helps his company take action when necessary.
“It’s all about our values ultimately, and one of our values is standing for equality. So for us, it’s really a no brainer,” Frisk said in the interview regarding the company’s commitment to standing with movements like Black Lives Matter.
A reckoning for sportswear giants
As national conversations shift to issues regarding workplace diversity and inclusion, the athletic-wear industry is facing a reckoning. Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour have all acknowledged their part in maintaining a workplace lacking in diversity and inclusion. And all have announced new initiatives to tackle the problem head-on.
In June, Frisk sent a letter to Under Armour employees that outlined the brand’s commitment to increasing the diversity of its workforce. In the letter, Frisk said he recognized the responsibility of his company to “do so much more” and outlined new initiatives for the Baltimore-based company to address racial injustice.
Under Armour has committed to filling to 30% of positions at the director-level and above with BIPOC, and 12% with Black talent by 2023. The brand is also tripling its investment to encourage the professional development of teammates from underrepresented groups as well as offering monetary incentives for executives to work on diversity and inclusion.
“It takes effort,” Frisk said in the interview. “You have to be purposeful.”
In particular, Frisk said Under Armour is focusing on a diverse set of candidates for hiring purposes and is working on providing company-wide trainings for diversity and inclusion. The ultimate goal, Frisk explained, is to give every employee in the company an equal chance for advancement.
When publicly taking action on a cause, Frisk said a company’s core values should guide how and when to do so.
“When you have a clear purpose, when you have very clear values, ultimately that’s what you lean into,” he said. “And you use that as a filter.”
For example, Under Armour recently launched its “Run to Vote,” campaign to encourage a higher turnout at the polls for this year’s presidential election. As Frisk put it, the initiative fits in with Under Armour’s core value of giving people the chance to participate in something greater.
“Under Armor is, as you will see going into the future, really conscientious of our value set as a company and of our purpose ultimately, which is to empower those who strive for more,” Frisk said.
This content was originally published here.