Tru Pettigrew joined the Minnesota Timberwolves-Lynx organization over a year ago as diversity, equity and inclusion advisor. Later last year he was hired as vice-president of player programs, focused on diversity and inclusion.
Earlier this month Pettigrew received his second promotion in less than a year as chief diversity and inclusion officer. His new job will oversee the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy for all franchises: Wolves, Lynx, Iowa Wolves (G League), and T-Wolves Gaming (NBA 2K League) as well as support equity training and planning for the parent company, Taylor Corporation.
“It’s something that I believe needs to be seamlessly integrated into the fiber of the DNA of any organization,” declared Pettigrew in a recent MSR interview. He and officials in the organization started talking with him about his new position “a couple of months back,” he recalled. “The more we talked about it, the more we all realized it made sense to move forward in this direction.”
Pettigrew played a critical role last summer in convening team discussions after the murder of George Floyd and the aftermath of racial unrest that occurred locally and nationally. He has over two decades of experience in facilitating community dialogue around race relations and social justice for groups and organizations.
“I’m extremely proud to know that they are taking [it] seriously,” said Pettigrew. “I know how important this work is.”
He also pointed out that diversity, equity, and inclusion can’t be the focus only when something happens. “We’ll all get excited and up in arms,” noted Pettigrew. “It’s not just a one-off. It’s not a box chat flavor-of-the-month type of thing that you do.
“I will say I believe that the Timberwolves and Lynx have fostered a culture and environment to encourage that courageous and uncomfortable conversation so that we all can be comfortable,” said Pettigrew. “But I do still think it will be a case-by-case basis, based on the level of comfort that people will have in engaging in those conversations.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.