An Open Letter From Instana CEO Mirko Novakovic

June 2, 2020

An Open Letter From Instana CEO Mirko Novakovic

The following is a copy of the letter I sent to all Instana employees Tuesday afternoon. It elicited some emotional and thoughtful individual responses.

One employee responded with a quote from Dr. King – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Another employee shared her personally curated reading list with the rest of the company (I’ve included that list below).

Several more told me that they believed I should take my message to the public, so here it is:

FROM: Mirko Novakovic, Instana CEO
SUBJECT: Diversity

Hello all,

Many of you may be aware of the current unrest across the US in response to the ongoing acts of racism and police brutality, including the death of George Floyd and others. I was personally heartbroken to hear about a man losing his life in this way and am saddened that issues like systemic racism and violence continue to plague certain populations, and specifically the black community. These are issues which directly or indirectly affect some of you, your families, friends or communities, and when some of us are impacted, we all are. As we are still navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, I understand that these latest events may have some of you feeling more stressed and disheartened than ever.

As a global organization, we represent a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and we come together each day to do great work for our customers. We hold DIVERSITY as one of our core values, and though we continue working to make strides in that area, I am proud of the team and culture that we have built so far. I want to be clear that racism and bigotry have no place in our organization, and we should not tolerate it in our society either.

While some have chosen to respond in ways that are not productive, and in some cases are harmful, I choose to focus on people – those in our Instana team and those in impacted groups who need our help and alliance. These recent events have demonstrated now more than ever a need for awareness, discussion, and action. We may not have the solution to fix this problem at large, however, we can, and must, come together to support each other during these challenging times. Below are some steps we can take to empower ourselves and encourage others until more progress is made.

Acknowledge that this issue impacts us, our fellow colleagues, customers and communities, sometimes in ways that we can’t see or may not anticipate. Be mindful that you and others may be navigating through some complex emotions, and know that it is okay not to feel okay during times like these.

Support those who may reach out with concerns and seek support for yourself if you are struggling. There are a number of resources available to employees across our geographies, including access to counseling sessions via our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and medical plans for US team members. There are also courses available through LinkedIn Learning on relevant topics such as diversity and inclusion, navigating through change and uncertainty and dealing with high-stress situations. You can contact Britt Harris for more details on what specific resources may be available to assist you.

Educate yourself on current events and the history leading up to them. Below are links to some social justice sites where you can learn more about what has been done and what people are currently doing to affect change, as well as find tools to help you start productive conversations. I have made a personal donation to the Black Lives Matter organization and encourage you to look for ways that you can get involved on any scale, large or small.

As always, I am available to listen to your concerns and support you in any way possible, as is the rest of the leadership team. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Selected Reading List from Instana Software Engineer Dahlia Bock

  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century – by Dorothy Roberts
  • West Indian Immigrants: A Black Success Story? – by Suzanne Model
  • The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America – by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God – by Zora Neale Hurston
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – by Robin DiAngelo
  • Women, Race & Class – by Angela Y. Davis
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – by Layla Saad
  • The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life – by Wallace Thurman
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X – by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland – by Jonathan M. Metzl
  • Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America – by Forman
  • Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition – by Cedric J. Robinson
  • Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour – Peniel E. Joseph
  • How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective – by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves – by Glory Edim
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More – by Janet Mock
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – by Audre Lorde
  • Citizen: An American Lyric – by Claudia Rankine
  • Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays – by Eula Biss
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – by Michelle Alexander
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race – by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • How to be an Antiracist – by Ibram X. Kendi
  • The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories – by Rion Amilcar Scott

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