What would you say were the top 3 things your allies did to support your growth?
I have been fortunate to have many mentors, sponsors, advocates, and allies over the years. As a business owner, I have had the opportunity to work with many dedicated people in supplier diversity who have devoted their careers to diversity, equity and inclusion (D, E&I) in corporate America.
My allies are those who are willing to acknowledge gender gaps where they exist and help clear and create paths to inclusion. My allies are empathetic listeners who go out of their way to help someone else to make a difference in their community. I would say that most of these people are secure and confident in their own careers and are interested in “giving back” or offering a helping hand to help someone else up the career ladder.
Some of the most powerful things allies have done for me are:
Acknowledge that people who don’t look or think like them are indeed not a threat and are worthy of having a “seat at the table”. These are folks who believe having a diverse group (in all areas – race, sex, age, etc.) around the table leads to better decision-making. This leads to better products and services that can reach more of our society.
Be a “champion” for me even when I’m not present—having someone speak up for you when you aren’t in the room fuels inclusion.
Help me to expand my network by connecting me to others within their network or introducing me to events or organizations that I might not otherwise know about.
Women now make up over half of this country’s workforce, but on average, most Information Technology departments are still 75% male. This statistic points to the importance of allyship– male allyship in particular. Although women have made enormous strides in the technology space, men are still the decision makers and top leaders more often. Enrolling men in allyship is so important for inclusion to happen. Personally, many of my mentors, advocates, and allies have been men. Starting with my Dad and my husband, all the way to the successful men in leadership and on boards who realize they need more women in the room.
What recommendations would you give to anyone looking to be an ally?
Listen. Sometimes the best thing an ally can do is just show up and listen with an open mind to get a better understanding of what a marginalized group may or may not need.
Be understanding. Recognize that there still are still unconscious biases to discover.
Shine a light. When implicit bias or discriminatory comments or actions pop up—call it out. Let people know you are not appreciative of that comment/action and request that it stop.
I am the Founder and President of Partner’s Consulting, Inc.
About Partner’s Consulting:
Partner’s Consulting is the first and only woman-owned project leadership company that helps enterprises meet the changing demands of technology. For over a decade, we have differentiated ourselves with Fortune 500 and 1000 clients that care about great project leadership. We support large-scale technology projects for corporations by filling the following types of roles: Product Management, Program Management, Portfolio Management, Project Management, Agile Scrum Master, and others. We consciously support women and underrepresented groups into STEM careers across the country.
Partner’s Consulting is a proud sponsor of The WICT Network: Greater Philadelphia.