From my forthcoming book…The ERG Handbook, What You Always Wanted to Know about ERGs but Didn’t Know Who to Ask.
The ‘A’ of ABCs of Allyship
I had the honor and privilege to be the first ally to lead an LGBT+ Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) and develop and co-lead an Ally Program at a Fortune 50 company. One of my proudest accomplishments is the Ally Program I and a team of awesome people developed, and I had the honor of co-leading with my friend, Daniel Docherty. To date, this program has enrolled and educated more than 25,000 visible allies and out at work teammates. I mention this because much of the work I do today is because of my work with those people and that Ally Program.
From that work and for showing up for the LGBTQ+ community, my friends gave me the title of ‘Galactic Ally’. As I have reflected on my ‘title’, I realized I wasn’t truly being the Galactic Ally if I wasn’t moving my allyship forward to become an Ally for All. As I have grown in my LGBTQ+ ally journey and seen the travesties perpetrated against our black brothers and sisters, I knew I needed to do some work. I realized if I needed to do this work, there must be many others who were looking to expand their thinking about allyship too.
My team at Inclusive Space and I developed the ABC’s of Allyship to give ERGs a basis to define what they need from their allies and to empower people to become allies and continue to grow their allyship. We set out to make this program inclusive of everyone needing allies. Although ABCs of Allyship is focused on allies in the workplace, it can also create allies outside the walls of work.
Let’s talk about ways people can begin the journey to becoming the A – Ally:
- Set a positive example of support to all and help others to do the same.
- Check and recheck how we interpret situations and perceive others.
- Actively seek diversity on work project teams and networking groups.
- Help all to be heard and respected in the workplace.
- Seek out cultural information so that all may be able to be comfortable participating in social work gatherings.
- Educate yourself and others about diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- Get to know a wider range of co-workers outside your department or work groups.
- See all co-workers as individuals and help others to do the same.
TIP: Being an ally is a continuous learning process
None of us can completely understand every aspect of the cultural nuances or personal stories of every person on earth, but what we can do is actively seek to listen, learn, value and support. We can cultivate an environment of acceptance, equity, and inclusion within our work communities and beyond.
Take the step: become an Ally