On June 25th, Jezebel published a piece about our company culture and, in particular, me as CEO. If you’ve not yet seen it, I urge you to read it here.
First and foremost, I owe an apology to the women who came forward to Jezebel: I am deeply sorry for their experience. I am profoundly grateful to them for speaking out and for making it clear that, as the male head of a predominantly female company, I must carefully examine my leadership style, my relationship with employees, and any potential gendered power dynamics I may have unconsciously contributed to since Remezcla was founded.
I co-founded Remezcla fourteen years ago with two remarkable women, Nuria Net and Claire Frisbie. Remezcla was founded because of an identity issue common among young, bicultural Latinx who struggle with asserting their belonging in American culture while staying connected to their Latinx roots. We felt displaced in the mainstream media landscape. Remezcla’s vision was to celebrate, represent, discover, and drive success for the best of Latinx culture in a way that was designed to combat Latinx racism, bias and discrimination.
Since the story was published, I have taken a very hard look in the mirror. I am examining everything about myself as a co-founder, a leader, and as a Latino man in corporate culture. I have confronted a lot of fears. I used this time to connect with my incredible staff at Remezcla, to engage our clients and our writers to get their input and feedback because without them, Remezcla would be nothing.
From the start, I have been relentless in my fight to earn the Latinx community a seat at the mainstream media table, and it distracted from my ability to be a good leader and a champion of talent. It’s no excuse. I never looked deeply enough at my team to see if I was leading them in the right direction, nor did I ask them how they wanted to be led. I truly believed that my hustle and determination was all that was needed to prove how much I was willing to do for my employees and for our culture. I was wrong. I should not have needed this article to prompt this self-reflection, but it happened this way and I am grateful for the opportunity to respond with action, commitment and intention.
The opportunity right here, right now is for Remezcla and me to address and tackle the exact scenario that brought about the Jezebel piece–the patriarchal culture of the Latin community and society generally. Today, I am stepping up to address this head on, and to create a working model and a best-practice case study with Remezcla for the professional Latinx community. It is critically important that we build a transparent and respectful professional environment for our employees, our clients and our freelance community. We vow to become a role model.
Our mission at Remezcla to celebrate, represent, discover, and drive success for the best of Latinx culture to help to fight Latinx racism, bias and discrimination, is more needed today than ever.
In order to drive this mission, everything Remezcla does, and everything I do, will be designed to lead us to a place of greater cultural relevance by elevating and amplifying our voices, examining our issues, confronting our shortcomings and communicating our value in order to elevate our community in the right way. I will be transparent and open about the steps we are taking as we work to transform our business to reach its full potential.
This includes making immediate changes within our company, beginning with:
I have not been the best leader I can be. I know that leadership has to be demonstrated and earned. Going forwards I commit to stepping up as a leader, undergoing training and coaching to assist me in reaching that goal.
I also commit to sharing and diversifying my leadership at Remezcla to include more women. Remezcla editorial was born from and always led by great women. I’m committed to re-establishing this legacy. Eduardo Cepeda will be stepping down as Executive Editor and will be leaving the Company.
It is not enough to be minority-owned. As CEO of Remezcla I will have my leadership assessed yearly by an outside committee focused on my ethics and values. I will also provide all employees with the opportunity to appraise my and our leadership’s performance. All voices will be heard.
Remezcla’s first office was my living room. We had no idea that it would ever work. Though our early days as a startup were an exciting time it was also extremely chaotic and difficult for me and my co-founders, and it was also difficult for our former employees. Remezcla has been run like a startup for too long. Regardless of how good our work is, our organization must mature in order for us to truly reach our goals and ambitions. Therefore, we will be redesigning and restructuring how Remezcla operates from top to bottom.
This will include developing and implementing a new ownership structure to incentivize our long-term team members, which I am very excited about. I will fill you in on this as we finalize the details.
We will treat our employees with a greater amount of transparency, support them with the appropriate HR resources, and engage in more frequent and better communication. We will give our freelance contributors that same courtesy and respect. Freelancers are part of our team, and Remezcla would not be as influential as it is if it were not for these talented and hardworking writers.
In order to rebuild trust with our staff and our contributors, we must create transparency and clarity. We do a lot already but because we have not been forthcoming about our own make up, our diversity has been questioned. We will change this immediately and we will be honest when and where we may be falling short so that everyone can learn from our process.
We all have more than one side to our identity and feelings of displacement are prevalent. I am heartbroken to think that anyone might feel as though we have displaced THEM. Questioning, reflecting, and resolving who we are as people, and as organizations, is an ongoing issue for our community. It’s also one that continues to be overly simplified rather than embraced for its complexity. We commit to thoroughly contextualizing issues around identity in our editorial content.
Toggling between two languages is perhaps one of the most common threads growing up for Latinx youth. To ensure an inclusive and unlimited discussion both here and abroad, our content will be made available in English and Spanish going forward.
We will set up a Fund for Journalism for Social Issues. Many clients are wary of advertising around content related to social issues. This has made it historically impossible to cost-manage. We will push our brand partners to contribute to this fund as part of their partnership with Remezcla.
Remezcla is already establishing a new, diverse Editorial Committee made up of Remezcla Editorial, Freelance Writers, and Thought Leaders in our community to guarantee that we are looking at Latinx issues from all angles.
It’s time for me to take accountability and drive real change both within Remezcla and our society. This is my commitment to you.
I hope that you will root for Remezcla. We are hoping you will join us and communicate with us regularly. Please send your comments and feedback to [email protected].
CEO & Co-Founder