Dear customers and friends,
I have read the article published about me in the Globe and Mail yesterday. Reading the stories of these women and how my behaviour impacted them has made me deeply ashamed. To all those who felt marginalized, demeaned or objectified while working for or alongside me, I am truly very sorry.
Behavior and language I viewed at the time as harmless or good-natured was anything but. This was particularly true given the position of power I was in. That position of power almost certainly explains why it took several years for anyone to confront me over my behavior.
Some of the allegations made against me are not true, but many are. Several years ago, I was approached by trusted colleagues who expressed concern about our work environment becoming too familiar and, specifically, with my behaviour and language. I was also told that the socializing and overly-familiar bantering with colleagues needed to stop. I took this to heart and have since worked hard to change my behaviour. But I clearly have much more work to do.
When the Globe and Mail first contacted me several months ago, I was concerned that their information did not accurately reflect our workplace at the Winery today. However, there could be no doubt or uncertainty in this matter. I therefore hired an independent advisor to conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of our workplace and culture. They carried out personal and confidential interviews with all of our employees, and comprehensively reviewed our policies, procedures and communications within the workplace. That assessment was completed in April.
The results found that the Winery required enhancements to our organizational structure, policies and procedures, job clarifications, performance management tools, and an updated and enforceable code of conduct. The independent review did not find any examples of sexual harassment in the workplace today.
Over the past month, my team has begun implementing the recommendations from the review, including developing new policies, job classifications, and an employee handbook, and providing specific training on harassment. We have made good progress. But there is still work to be done, particularly as it applies to me personally. I am absolutely committed to ensuring a safe, open, respectful, equal and inclusive work environment for every member of our team and customers at the Winery.
I would like to thank my team, former colleagues, customers, friends and family who have supported and continue to support me. I know it is not easy for you, and that I have let a lot of you down. To all of the women who were part of the Winery and uncomfortable coming forward with these concerns I sincerely apologize.
All I can promise is that I will work hard every day to earn back your trust in the days, months and years ahead.