I’m speaking at the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in Seattle, on Ally Skills for Diversity and Inclusion Champions.
An ally is someone who is willing to take action in support of another person, in order to remove external barriers, that impede that person from contributing their skills and talents in the workplace or community.
Being an ally takes courage because it might mean speaking out against comments or jokes that are racist, homophobic, sexist, etc.
If the people making those jokes are your peer group or the people you’ve known for years, it might mean they stop inviting you places, and start to exclude you.
It might mean recommending a talented employee for a promotion, but who keeps getting passed over because they are disabled, and people making the decisions don’t think the person can do the job because of their disability and don’t bother finding out.
It might mean even reporting a fellow employee to a manager at a higher level, because they refuse to stop harassing another employee based in their age, race/ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
It might mean that if no one else steps up, you’ll be singled out by the bully, and hopefully you’ll have an ally stand up for you.
So, it might mean that by stepping up as an ally, you’ve helped your company turn a profit, because you’ve helped create a workplace where everyone has an opportunity to excel, and where customers across the whole diversity spectrum love to do business.