Let's discuss, not debate - a lesson in courageous conversation

Tamara Wyre, August 4, 2020

Let’s discuss, not debate.

Courage is grace under pressure. The purpose of courageous discussion is not to debate or disagree, but to listen and learn. Listening with grace to varying perspectives will shape how we at Hancock Whitney will move forward as an organization and in our community.

It’s important to be conscious of our words and nonverbal cues because they have long term effects on our lives and decisions. As Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you did, they will remember how you made them feel."

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I remember the words and actions that shaped my lens of possibilities early in my career. As a young professional, I was told that I would not succeed in an industry based on characteristics I had absolutely no control over. That feeling of inequity doesn’t go away, but it does provide inspiration and motivation to encourage intentional acts and conversations that push beyond the visible. It’s like the late John Lewis says: “If you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you're consistent, you will succeed." It was words like these and purposeful conversations that gave me something to aspire to - both professionally and personally.

How do we have “intentional conversations”? We make it a point - or intend - to have intelligent, respectful, honest and meaningful conversations to better understand each other and our respective experiences. We provide associates with a platform and the tools to identify, understand and address bias to ensure every person feels valued.

From pressure comes hope, beauty and change. So let’s be intentional about our words and actions. Let's continue discussing and learning from our differences until our differences make no difference. Let’s keep connecting through healthy dialogue, as it will heal us and strengthen us.

We invite you to continue these courageous conversations. If you would like to provide feedback on how we can better foster a culture of Inclusion at Hancock Whitney, please reach out to us at diversityandinclusion@hancockwhitney.com.

About "Courageous Conversations":
The "Hancock Whitney Courageous Conversations” program was launched in 2020 to not only highlight the experiences of Hancock Whitney associates, but as a commitment from the bank's leadership to continue to encourage difficult and courageous conversations that will test us, connect us, and heal us. This program accompanies existing resources such as diversity learning courses, campaigns to attract diverse talent, social media dialog focused on diversity endeavors and volunteerism efforts. We continually live by and reinforce our Core Values that apply to all: Honor and Integrity, Strength and Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion. Tamara Wyre was named the bank’s first Director of Diversity and Inclusion in April to expand Hancock Whitney's diversity and inclusion impact and efforts.