CEO Reflections on Diversity and Inclusion

By June 2, 2020

The following message from our President and CEO, Chris O’Connell was shared with all Waters global employees. It serves as a reminder that we have a responsibility to take action, drive change and build an inclusive world. 


Dear Colleagues,

At Waters, we are driven to Deliver Benefit in all we do for customers, for each other as fellow employees, and for society as a whole. Respect and inclusion are at the core of how we deliver benefit each and every day. Sadly, recent events in the U.S., and all too often around the world, point out that society has a very long way to go.

I was personally outraged by the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. It was heartbreaking and painful. In the wake of this, we have seen a massive outpouring of peaceful and productive demonstration. Sadly, some have used this as a catalyst to spread violence, crime and hate that is doing lasting harm to many cities and communities. Even worse, what happened in Minneapolis is not unique; we see regular social injustices and the violation of human rights too often and in too many places globally. This must change, and we all must be a part of that change.

To employees and allies of the Black community, I stand with you in your condemnation of this latest terrible example of institutional racism, and I am fully committed to doing more to overcome racial inequities as both a corporate and private citizen. It starts with creating institutional inclusion in every part of our lives.

Inclusion is not simply a mandate in our drive to deliver benefit; inclusion is a core tenet of our Employee Success Model and the very values we live by. Furthermore, every policy and action at Waters relative to inclusion is guided by my personal philosophy:

“My fundamental belief is that talent is equally distributed across all human beings. It is our mandate to look broadly at talent, to identify the very best people and teams, and to give everyone an opportunity to Deliver Benefit. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of Waters’ values.”

I am proud of our efforts over the past four years to improve diversity and inclusion at Waters, but we can do more and that must begin now. Yesterday, I gathered our Diversity & Inclusion Council, which includes the leaders of our four employee circles as well as several Executive Committee sponsors. We shared views on the deeper causes of this most recent tragedy, the state of our world and our responsibility to take action. I sought their advice on how we can accelerate our efforts to foster a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

For us to deliver benefit to society, we must lead from within. The issues we are seeing today are not “someone else’s problem” it is our problem to solve too. We cannot achieve our highest purpose until we create an open, safe, secure and supportive environment within Waters. We have come far in this journey, but we have miles to go. As such, we will take additional actions at this time, including:

  • We will elevate our diversity and inclusion program further by appointing a Senior Diversity & Inclusion Officer, providing expertise and a daily focus on our journey;
  • The launch this month of our new e-learning platform will include a mandatory Learning Path for Diversity & Inclusion with specific training on topics such as unconscious bias;
  • Within the month of June, as we celebrate Pride Month, each Executive Committee member (starting with me) will host an “open office hour” meeting on Teams Live to welcome dialogue and feedback on the topic of inclusion.

Equally important in creating a more inclusive world is creating a safe environment for anyone to speak up at any time. I want you to be comfortable speaking up. We cannot turn a blind eye to injustice, we cannot ignore problems and we must come together as a global community to create an environment where everyone at Waters is included, respected and treated with fairness. When we do this, each of us as individuals, and all of us together as a global corporation, will be able to contribute more fully to society’s progress.


Categories: Leadership