Starting in 2020, Juneteenth is an official company holiday for Altvia.
I am inspired by companies that have made similar policies in recent days and am hopeful that those within and outside the Private Capital Markets will take a similarly bold step to be a catalyst for change and leadership.
If you are like me, you have experienced a range of emotions since George Floyd’s death on Monday, May 25 in Minneapolis. It’s ironic to me that this happened on Memorial Day, the day we celebrate servicemen and women who lost their lives fighting to protect the ideals of the United States. Perhaps Memorial Day 2020 will go down in history as the day that we as Americans were called to take responsibility for these ideals and initiate the changes necessary to be in integrity with them.
As the news coverage increased, it hit close to home as a native of the Twin Cities. While the killing took place in Minneapolis, the protests and unfortunate destruction of property spilled across the Mississippi River into St Paul. Much of the destruction in St Paul took place on the University Avenue corridor, mere blocks from where my mom grew up 70-80 years ago, and where my grandfather, the son of Irish immigrants, had a grocery store. His parents, along with other immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and eastern Europe, came for the American Dream. It saddens me to think that there are people in those neighborhoods today that are questioning whether they can ever be included in the American Dream.
As the protests spread across the country and ultimately the world, I experienced a small taste of the conflict that can happen with different perspectives just inside of my own family. We had several heated discussions over those days with our kids alone.
As a family, we went to the protests in Denver on Sunday, May 31 to see if we could better inform our opinions by experiencing it first hand. We found ourselves saddened, angered, bothered, and even more confused. And hopeful.
The two weeks since have been a whirlwind. In quiet moments I continue to try to understand this new world we have entered and to try to find the ways that we as a company can be a force for good and a force for change.
While I alone don’t know the answer, I do know that as a company, we can start to find the answers, together.
I believe that a journey has started and in this journey, Altvia will be a tortoise.
When I first sat down to write this I had it in my mind that we were the tortoise in contrast to the hare. But then I realized the fallacy of that distinction. There is not one tortoise. I want a future where every company and every community can be a tortoise. That through steady, thoughtful, and sustained action each will ultimately persevere. And while we will be a tortoise, we can still take inspiration from hares and support them as well. This is not a competition.
By closing the office on Friday, Altvia invites our employees to start their own journey or accelerate a journey they may have already initiated. A journey about vision and understanding and education and love. This is about creating a future where Altvia and each of us individually can be a source of energy, inspiration, and abundance for our clients, partners, employees, and communities.
As a white person, I understand that the black community and all communities of color demand and deserve a rapid response. By stating that we will be a tortoise, I am not implying we sit on our hands and take our time, I am expressing that we’re in this to make a long-term sustained change and we understand that to do so, we need to be in for the long haul.
Internally, our team is collecting resources and designing additional programs in support of Juneteenth and our local community. We will communicate those as they are finalized and look forward to hearing about the additional steps you take as well — as always, please let me know if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns.
CEO AND FOUNDER
Kevin Kelly founded Altvia in 2006 and brings a unique mix of technical acumen, business development skills, creativity, and energy to Altvia. Before starting Altvia, Kevin served in a CTO advisory role to a Chicago-based Buyout Fund of Funds with nearly $1B under management. He has also worked in various technical sales, business development, and management roles in small startups and leading technology firms such as Cisco Systems and NEC Unified Solutions.