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Whatever Man

Story | News

We need to do better.

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We, the craft beer industry, need to do better. 

We need to hold ourselves, and those around us to a higher standard. 

We need to put integrity over sales. We need to hold others accountable for their actions. 

We need to not only have diversity, equality and inclusiveness standards as part of our core values, but we need to train on them, and live by them. 

We need to not look the other way. 

We need to make the women, and minorities in the industry feel welcome and safe. 

We need to hold ourselves to the highest standard. 

We need to be a beacon of hope. 

The craft beer industry has always suggested that it operates on a higher standard. And maybe on paper we do, but add any combination of alcohol, conflict avoidance, and positional power to the mix and that paper is quickly thrown out the window.

Over the past week or so, a dialogue has been started about the sexism and harassment in the alcohol and hospitality industries. And we, the male leaders of Collective Arts have taken some time to reflect on the dialogue. The following is our letter to our female counterparts, whether they be our peers in leadership at Collective Arts, staff members at Collective Arts, in the broader craft beer and hospitality industries, or outside of our profession all together.

We are appalled by what we have read, but we are unfortunately not surprised. That’s the problem. We need to do better. We as an industry need to change. We need to listen more. We need to ask more questions and then listen some more. As leaders, it starts with us. We can shape the culture of our industry and our companies but it won’t happen unless we all take accountability and are better individually.

That all said, we know we haven’t been perfect; we admit that we at times we have been part of the problem, and we will be using this as a reminder that we need to go back before we can go forward. We need to ensure that our policies are being taken seriously and acted on with intent. We have spent hours discussing, debating and being uncomfortable this week and this is just the beginning. In the past the burden has been placed on women to make themselves feel included, and we recognize that needs to change. We, the men at Collective Arts need to take action and do the work.

Over the years we have had to remove staff from terrible situations, provide formal complaints to distributors and accounts on their staff behaviour, and have severed ties with a few of our partners due to inappropriate treatment in their organization. We have had to adjust our policies and training to account for these types of people and situations. Our policy applies to all employees, service providers, contractors, volunteers, students and applicants for employment and it states that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated  in the workplace, whether it be perpetrated by or against clients, employees, contract workers, contractors, visitors or other third parties. Our policy also states that we are committed to allotting whatever time, attention, authority and resources necessary to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

A number of our distribution partners, accounts, and peers in the industry have been accused of sexism, harassment, mistreatment and more. We are determined to investigate all claims made against individuals and organizations and address them accordingly. This can result in severed ties with individuals and organizations to ensure our standards are met both internally and externally from this day forward.

We are going to conduct training on violence and harassment in the workplace as well as unconscious bias. We want to explore ways to create an open forum like Brienne has, to allow our employees to tell their stories in a safe way that can be heard and listened too. We are committed to this work and we are committed to having uncomfortable conversations. We are committed to making the craft beer industry a fun and safe place to be.

Our senior leadership team is 40% female. That group worked with the male members of the SLT to make these commitments and statements as it’s on that group to take the action we want to see:

Adrienne Smith, Executive Assistant & Strategic Alignment Partner
Catherine Oppedisano, Director, Innovation
Alida Viljoen, Senior Manager, Supply Chain
Toni Shelton, Director, Brand Marketing & Communications
Olivia Billeci, Director, Business Intelligence, Pricing & Compliance
Nicole Sagolili, Senior Manager, finance
Jennifer Pavicich, Vice President, HR, Legal and Administration
Matthew Johnston, CEO, Co-Founder
Bob Russell, CCO, Co-Founder
Chris Waldock, Vice President, Sales
Garfield Robinson, Vice President, Finance
Jeff Tkachuk, Vice President, BI, Planning & Costing
Dan Johnston, Director, Spaces & New Business
Ryan Morrow, Brewmaster
Matthew Howell, Director, QA, Head Distiller & Cidermaker
Andrew Rusinas, Director Of Operations


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