From the start, Gazelle Sports set out to be a different kind of running store — we strived to be a place where anyone could feel welcome, supported, inspired, and empowered to live healthy active lives. However, what we didn’t grasp was that our unconscious bias from a position of privilege created barriers for many to be part of what we were building. Anyone didn’t mean everyone. Although this realization came far too late in our journey, it sparked our first conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion, and it’s what fuels our ongoing commitment to progress in the communities we serve, the industry we’re in, and the company we run.
We believe every person should feel a sense of belonging and value, should be treated fairly and respectfully, and have equitable access to opportunities and resources. But it is not enough to simply believe. Action is necessary for change, and while we won’t get it right one hundred percent of the time, we will keep listening, learning and adapting as we go.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mission
To foster an environment of growth, action, and advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion within our business, community, and broader run specialty industry. We are invested in identifying and addressing unconscious bias as well as removing barriers to access and creating opportunities for those from underrepresented and marginalized groups.
Our Vision & Goals:
With a goal of integrating diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our business, we started by identifying four focus areas:
Recruitment, Hiring, and Procedure
Building a diverse team means ensuring our processes are anti-racist, free from bias and provide equitable possible outcomes for every individual. It also means recruiting and hiring from all demographics and providing a work environment that is open, safe, and authentic. We are working with purpose to create diverse representation throughout our staff- including our leadership teams.
It isn’t enough to simply recruit and hire a diverse team- we must also foster an environment of belonging for each team member. We are committed to providing a space that is welcoming and accepting of all— a space where people of all identities not only feel represented, but cared about and comfortable to be their authentic selves.
Community & Partner Engagement
We are empowering the communities we live in and love through partnerships that engage at every level. From sponsorship of community programs and events that directly address equity and access for marginalized groups, to sharing our values and commitments with community partners, and seeking community expertise and consultation for our own initiatives, we are holding ourselves accountable to our core values.
Of course the hope is that our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts impact more than just ourselves and our communities, but also the Running Specialty Industry as a whole. To do our part, we are working to improve the diversity of our suppliers and vendors, increase the breadth of our product offerings to address specific needs of marginalized groups, and to ensure our brand presentation is representative of our diverse communities, and the diverse individuals within them. After all, the differences in humans are many, and diversity encompasses them all — from race, gender, and sexual orientation, to ethnicity, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, physical stature, abilities, age, and more.
Our Commitment in Action
Learning and commitment to action are critical to our work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, yet we are aware that this work is a marathon, not a sprint. While we’re proud of the accomplishments and efforts we’ve made thus far, we know there is much more work to be done. Our ongoing efforts include:
Budgeting and strategic integration into all areas of our company
DEI training and engagement opportunities for all team members and new hires
Financial and personnel investment in community partnerships with organizations and businesses engaged directly with the needs of marginalized individuals
Team and company initiatives around cultural moments and holidays that honor the experiences of marginalized groups
Engagement with expert consultation on and evaluation of best practices
Leadership team evaluation of DEI Strategic Priority implementation and progress
Active leadership role in Running Industry Diversity Coalition, a non-profit that unites the running industry to provide resources, measure progress, and hold the industry accountable to equitable employment, leadership, and ownership positions and improve inclusion, visibility, and access for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
We acknowledge that the land on which we live, work, and participate in movement is the unceded ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. With this awareness comes a responsibility and a commitment by Gazelle Sports to learn about and honor indigenous communities, and to acknowledge the complex and painful past.