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Akins Speaks About Social Unrest and AEP’s Position

by on June 12, 2020

Nick Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AEP, expressed his appreciation for employee’s leadership to make sure AEP operates efficiently and meets customer needs through the pandemic, in his latest video to employees. The positive elements of AEP’s culture have been on full display. The current racially-charged and violent events bring another layer of stress and fear. Again, this is a time for employees to show their leadership.

“The recent horrible events should motivate us to be thoughtful of inherent biases that exist,” he said. “I want to make sure our position is understood and that employees exhibit those qualities of what we’re about at AEP.”

“As I watch the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others, the situation that occurred in Minneapolis and other cities, it’s truly saddening and appalling. It’s uncalled for and it’s unacceptable in society. It represents not just the physical action, but it also represents individuals who don’t have the same opportunities that others have. We have to work together to fix that,” Akins said.

You can watch the video of Akins here.

It is a reminder that the racial divide continues in our country. It underscores the importance of why AEP is committed to diversity and inclusion. Everyone should feel welcomed, valued, and treated with dignity and respect.

Akins continued, “We need to focus on our company and our employees and ensure that everyone can meet their best expectation of what they do. That’s why we want to have a culture in place to support that. It’s also very important for us to exhibit that in society.”

Akins acknowledged AEP’s diversity and inclusion program as a business necessity. “We have a diversity and inclusion program in our company that I am very proud of. Our executives and employees participate in those activities. We have a lot to do, but we’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “That progress can be impacted by what’s happening in the rest of our country. We are putting out a letter to support the efforts to have our city, state and federal governments focus on bridging this racial divide.”

Part of AEP’s inclusion and diversity program is about understanding and disrupting biases. “There is no question we have to get in the hearts and minds to understand perspectives,” Akins said. “All individuals need to embrace diversity and inclusion and support AEP’s efforts.”

He reminds employees to follow AEP’s Social Media Policy. In light of recent protests, AEP has been made aware of several comments by employees and contractors that appear to violate company policies and standards. If you wouldn’t say it to your supervisor or CEO face-to-face, you probably shouldn’t say it on social media.

“Anyone who can’t support our inclusion and diversity efforts doesn’t belong at AEP. We don’t want people sending out negative messages. That can truly impact an individual’s reputation but the company as well,” said Akins. “It’s important that we understand the role that we play.”

Employees can further this work by making a personal commitment to use their areas of influence to bring about change.

“Just as COVID-19 has brought us together, eventually all of this is going to bring us together to make sure we’re functioning as a society that makes sense for everyone,” Akins said. “We are going to be a part of that in a positive way to make sure we are successful in the future.”

Note: Akins is currently working from home, like many AEP employees. He filmed this video from his home without a videographer.

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