A Pre-Election Note to Our Associates

Team –

Our AEO family has been there for one another through the challenges of 2020. We have celebrated our successes, taken care of our health and well-being, and we continue to work very hard to make real and lasting change within our company and for future generations.

Tomorrow’s Election Day is a celebration of our great American democracy and I encourage everyone to take the time to vote. This election cycle, just like the past year, has been one unlike any other. Even in typical years, the days following elections can be emotionally charged and can magnify divisions as some celebrate and others are disappointed.

During difficult times we have always inspired others to embrace optimism, take positive actions and lead with purpose. So I am asking all of us to remember this and to lean into AEO’s inclusive culture and our values in the weeks and months ahead.

In the coming week I’d ask you all to please:

  • Disagree Respectfully: No matter how we vote tomorrow, we will have associates who will vote differently. Do not let these differences stop us from appreciating the people who make our AEO family so vibrant. AEO Inc. and our beloved brands are a reflection of all of our stakeholders—different ages, abilities, genders, cultures, sexual orientations, identities, races, and different opinions. Remember—we celebrate the diversity of one, through the inclusion of many.
  • Overinvest in Kindness: It has been a hard year, and we are all bearing heavier burdens than normal. We might not have any idea about the fear, stress and anxiety a fellow associate is facing. So, let’s be kind and patient with one another. Let’s pick each other up and go out of our way to make someone else’s day better.
  • Take Care of Yourselves: As we look out for each other, it’s important to look out for ourselves too. Let’s do our best to stay physically and mentally healthy, and recognize when we need to take a break or take time off to recharge. AEO offers many well-being benefits and I encourage you to explore them.

The next few days may be difficult, but the world will keep turning and we will still be the same people we are today. As individuals, we’ll continue to stand up for what we believe in. As a company, we’ll continue to provide our customers with the best products and experiences in retail—and we will remain one of the best places to work because of our great culture. Let’s not forget who we are and let’s continue to be compassionate to those around us, even when their views don’t align with our own.

Our incredible TEAMWORK has always been one of AEO’s most important values, and I trust it will remain our strength tomorrow and hereafter.

Be well and stay safe.

Jay Schottenstein

Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer