Resources for leaders navigating the Roe news

Today, I write from a conference where, truthfully, I’ve taken to the women’s restroom for a few minutes alone.

The Roe news is too dark, frustrating, and scary for me to personally process right now; it’s hard to realize that this is a country I love so much and felt so proud to have served — yet each day feels like our future is darker than our past.

So instead of approaching this personally, I’m approaching this as a leader with a voice. Today, my primary source of optimism is from leading a thoughtful team, which has the privilege of serving customers who want ethical and inclusive companies.

I’m doing what little I can to help every manager and leader navigate today and the coming days.

Here are my tips and resources that I’ll continue to add to as we all learn together. I hope some of it helps.

First, here’s what our VP of People shared internally with our team because obviously, some of our employees do want to process what’s happening at work. Others don’t and we try to make space for both.

Our team did this by creating a #current-affairs Slack channel. It’s an intentional space that, importantly, folks can opt-into.

Hi all — this news is nothing short of devastating, in particular because it impacts so many of us at Ethena. While the line between politics and human rights can often feel blurred, what is clear is that it’s our responsibility as a team to do our training proud and support each other.

Please keep this in mind in any discussions on the social-affairs channel. Our guiding principle in all discussions should focus on offering support in ways that would make our training proud.

If anyone needs or wants a live shoulder to lean on or an open ear, let us know. Let your manager know. Leverage your Feedback Friday for a general check-in. In the meantime, here’s a link to our employee resources.

Next, here are some FAQ style excerpts from Ethena’s training that may be helpful.

**Am I allowed to talk about politics at work?**

Your company may have an explicit policy around talking politics at work in which case defer to that.

But note that political affiliation can often be informed by identity which does in many cases overlap with protected characteristics — think gender or race or sexual orientation.

Sometimes you may think you’re just talking about the latest political debate in Washington, when in fact what you’re discussing casually might actively and directly impact someone’s life because of their identity.

**If I’m not comfortable sharing my political opinions while at work, can I still advocate for DEI initiatives without being a hypocrite?**

Of course you can!

Focusing on what’s happening within your own workplace is a fantastic way to get involved with issues you care about, and what’s more, can positively impact your fellow co-workers in a really direct way. Don’t let the large cloud of politics looming from afar limit what you can do in your own backyard, so to speak. Being proactive around DEI initiatives can look like asking questions of your manager and HR partners, or even your co-workers, about specific, actionable ways to develop and implement DEI policies.

It’s important to remember that in the workplace, everyone is on the same team — succeeding together gives everyone the momentum to rise together. Being specific about what you’re looking to support gives others an anchor as well. By making the goal or purpose immediately apparent and focused you can inspire action without requiring a larger political alignment that, ultimately, may not be necessary to build effective support for DEI initiatives where you work.

**How do I tell someone I don’t want to talk about my political affiliations?**

Much like any other personal aspect at work, you’re under no obligation to share your thoughts on politics. If the question does come up, you can politely indicate that you’re happy to listen to the discussion but don’t wish to contribute anything at the moment. Or be direct and let the person asking know that you prefer not to engage in political conversations, and (if you like) indicate that you would be open to discussing other work-related topics or shared interests instead.

In addition to the recommendations above, here are a few helpful ground rules to layer in whenever you and your colleagues have conversations around politics:

* Being passionate is welcome, but being disrespectful is not.

* Allow others to speak, but don’t push someone who doesn’t want to speak to do so.

* Encourage inclusivity, understanding, and empathy.

* Pause and regroup should the conversation get too heated.

* Aim to clarify your point of view not convince someone else theirs is wrong.

For leaders wondering whether they should personally speak out, here’s the framework I use, which I wrote about for Fast Company.

As Melanie, our VP of People, points out, the line between politics and human rights is tricky, but I’m erring on the side of understanding that to many, the removal of what was previously considered a protected part of women’s health care is, if nothing else, deserving of empathy.



Co-founder of Ethena, Army veteran, and pun appreciator

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