Each week, Karen Catlin shares five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

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Image for post

1. Compliment with context

Last week, Lacey Wilson of Nutanix interviewed me in a fireside chat for their employees. We covered a range of topics, including privilege, the mindset of being an “ally in training,” and specific scenarios of how to take action as an ally. One of them was especially insightful and helped me crystallize how I want to show up. With Lacey’s permission, I’m sharing it with all of you.

Here’s the scenario Lacey posed: “I overheard someone saying to a Black person: ‘You were so articulate in that meeting just now.’ How might an ally respond?”

I went on to explain that, while they most likely thought they were paying a compliment, many Black people don’t take it as one. Here’s why: There’s an underlying assumption that they couldn’t possibly be well-educated, well-spoken, or articulate. It’s a lousy stereotype. …


Each week, Karen Catlin shares five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

looking up at a USA flag on a flag pole, flying on a cloudy day
looking up at a USA flag on a flag pole, flying on a cloudy day
Photo by Dave Sherrill on Unsplash

1. Prepare to support coworkers after the US election

I speak with potential clients almost daily, and last week, someone asked for my thoughts about how to be a better ally after the upcoming US election on November 3. Given how divided our country is over this election, there’s a good chance there will be division in our workplaces once the results are announced.

We discussed a few ideas for how to be an ally. Consider pushing out work deadlines because people will most likely be distracted. …


Each week, Karen Catlin shares five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

Illustration of a person presenting a slide with the 5 tips in this article. People in meeting are clapping their hands.
Illustration of a person presenting a slide with the 5 tips in this article. People in meeting are clapping their hands.

1. Avoid phrases that diminish or disparage Indigenous people

On Monday, the US celebrated a federal holiday that’s a bit controversial. The original holiday was declared “Columbus Day,” in honor of the European explorer who landed on the shores of our country in 1492. However, many universities, cities, and states have moved to celebrate “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” a holiday that celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans — rather than Columbus. (Interestingly, both holidays appeared on my Google calendar.)

Unfortunately, there are all too many sayings that diminish or disparage the culture of Indigenous peoples. …

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Better Allies®

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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