WEST Wisdom Blog

Be a Better Ally

Posted by Dawn Diperi on Jan 13, 2022 2:56:13 PM

I had the opportunity to sit down with certified coach, Kim Meninger in an incredible conversation about women in the workplace, allyship, diversity, equity, inclusion, and the upcoming WEST event that Kim is leading next month. In only a few short minutes it was clear that Kim had plenty of experience in the field with allyship.

Kim has been a women’s leadership coach and consultant for almost 11 years. She is an ICF Associate Certified Coach and CCE Board Certified Coach with certifications in career, executive, and leadership development coaching. Kim does a variety of different types of coaching, including one on one coaching, group coaching, and workshop presentations. She primarily works with women and members of historically marginalized groups. Having previously worked in the high-tech industry she knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities facing women in the workplace. STEM careers are grossly under-represented by females making it especially challenging to find representation, mentorship, and allyship.

During our conversation, we chatted about the positive attributes women leaders bring to the table and how companies cannot afford to lose them. We can all step up and do our part to be an ally in the workplace and help pave the way for future women to succeed in these industries. Allyship is something we hear a lot about but few know what it actually means and how to apply it.

Kim shared a bit about her personal story and motivation for getting the message out about allyship. She regularly talks to people about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While it's a conversation that is happening everywhere, Kim felt there was still a disconnect between the big vision of having an inclusive environment where we all feel welcome and a sense of belonging and the actual behaviors that we can start to adopt in order to make that a reality.

“It’s easier to think; oh, they’ll figure it out. It’s the diversity officer or the leadership team's responsibility to create a culture of inclusion. So, it kind of lets us personally off the hook. Or often we just feel so intimidated by it that we're more likely to just sit it out. We don’t want to make the wrong move, and then in the end we don’t show up for one another and inadvertently perpetuate the system we all know isn’t working.”

Kim went on to say that the goal of the event and conversation is to help women take practical action-oriented steps to be an ally in the workplace and beyond. In this upcoming event, Kim will use scenario-based learning to teach participants strategies they can begin to use right away and on a daily basis to show up for each other and help create a culture of inclusion.

When Kim designed the event, she made sure to have conversation starters ready because she felt it was a good opportunity to reflect on what we are seeing in the workplace and if we are stepping up when they are happening. Kim will talk about various situations that women face including when women are being treated differently in certain kinds of situations, and when offensive humor or comments occur. Often, we don’t know what to do in the moment, and it can be a challenge to act but by workshopping ahead of time participants can be more prepared with what to do and say in the event these situations occur again. The theoretical conversations can prepare participants for the future when they leave the webinar and see something similar. In our conversation, I asked Kim how power and privilege come into play and how the fear of speaking up can paralyze us when people in positions of power are the perpetrators. Kim again had practical solutions for scenarios like this and you won’t want to miss them. 

Kim then went on to talk about how our actions should be in line with our core values and how we all need to be showing up in an authentic way that supports other women, to be a true ally. She says…

“How do I want to show up to other people? What do I want people to say about me when I'm not in the room? It's really important that we really reflect on our own core values. Then each time we are faced with a decision around how to respond to something, we have an opportunity to stay connected, to stay anchored in that intention, in that value of, “I want to show up as somebody who is an advocate or an ally for other people.” So, when I see an opportunity to do that, it's top of mind for me and I have a set of tools and behaviors that I can pull from to do that. And it doesn't mean we're ever going to be perfect. It doesn't mean there aren’t going to be times when we freeze or it's just such an intimidating scenario that we don't know what to do. But staying connected to that intention means we're far more likely to deliver on that vision.”

Kim and I also spoke about how to create space in meetings for others, how to include all voices in conversations and how to praise others for well-deserved work. She also talked about how to ask others what allyship looks like to them instead of putting people on the spot. Kim had so many practical tips and strategies for allyship and I can’t wait for her to share them with you. We ended our conversation with a couple of recommended resources including the book The Good Guys by David G Smith and a book and podcast by Michelle King called The Fix.

Don’t wait, register today for:

Be a Better Ally

February 8, 2022 6:15-7:15 PM EST 

As we continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the term allyship is tossed around a lot. But what does it actually mean (and not mean) to be an ally? Many well-intentioned professionals would like to be allies but they’re not sure how. They have concerns about overstepping or misreading situational cues. Or, they feel uncomfortable having conversations about what support looks like to others. 

Regardless of your background, role, or level, you can be an ally. In this interactive discussion, you’ll learn how with speaker Kim Meninger. We will:

  •   Debunk some of the myths around allyship
  •   Explore common challenging scenarios in breakout sessions and strategize how to show up as an ally in each one
  •   Discuss key strategies and action steps to serve as allies to others.

Location: Zoom

Cost: Members: $5; Non-Members: $15

Registration: https://www.westorg.org/2022-02-08-be-a-better-ally

About Kim Meninger 

As a women’s leadership coach, Kim Meninger is passionate about empowering women to become more confident, visible, and influential leaders. Having spent over 10 years in the high-tech industry, she experienced first-hand the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in traditionally male-dominated environments. She strives to be the resource to women that she did not have during her own corporate career. Kim has a BA in psychology and an MBA from Boston College. She is an ICF Associate Certified Coach and CCE Board Certified Coach with certifications in career, executive and leadership development coaching. 

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Topics: Upcoming Events, Learn, Bias, Inclusion, Diversity, #WESTevent, #WESTorg, Equity, Female Representation STEM, Ally, Allyship, Strategies

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