I have been on TV for 12 seconds and in front of the legislature for three minutes regarding the bills. 12 seconds is not enough time to read the instructions on a shampoo bottle, and three minutes is an average trip in an elevator. I am not skilled enough at speaking to convey my thoughts in either timeframe.
I want to provide a small business perspective on this issue. Will Feichter and I started Myriad Media 22 years ago. We now have 20 people in Raleigh, 17 in Vancouver, and we’re working on an office in NYC.
Despite all the growth, there is an absolute truth: Your people make you successful. I love every person on our team, and we are humbled to consider these marvelous folks our co-workers.
Because of this, we could imagine no greater insult than to infringe on anyone’s personal choices.
In fact, the only discussion we would ever have with a co-worker regarding their lifestyle is if we could offer some measure of support.
That is our issue with these hostile bills:
How can we foster a healthy work-life balance when our legislature feels that those decisions should be at the discretion of a stranger’s religious expressions?
And how can we recruit and maintain top-level talent with that kind of culture? Our state is currently creating a hostile environment for many North Carolinians. The respectful environment we strive to build at Myriad can not compete with a dysfunctional community.
These legislative efforts, whether or not they pass, tell people that North Carolina does not care for a specific group of people. As a small business owner, it is my responsibility to show that I am adamantly opposed to this message, and that Myriad will always honor a person’s right to guide their own life.
Should this push away a would-be or existing client, we will consider it as avoiding business relationships that aren’t a healthy fit for our culture. We will always fight against discrimination.
Years ago, our country had a discussion about who has the right to be served at the lunch counter. North Carolina came out on the wrong side of that argument, and it resulted in decades of damaged reputation and lack of trust.
Here we are again, having the same argument, fighting again to be on the wrong side of history. Only this time, I know what damage it can cause to a business.
The current attempt to define “religious freedom” as some special class of freedom only serves as an excuse to minimize the freedoms of others. There’s nothing more sacred than the freedom of each person to guide their own life and personal choices.
That’s a fight we are very happy to be public about.