The Kelley Marketing Department held two DEI Workshops, in the spring of 2021, to inform and empower faculty, staff, and doctoral students on various DEI topics. The first was the Lead like an Ally workshop led by Julie Kratz, a Kelley MBA graduate. The goal was to provide resources and tips on how to be an ally in class, business, and life. The workshop encompassed four main subjects: why allies matter, what an ally is, how to be an ally, and commitments.
DEI constructs are often hard to define because they are shaped by one’s life experiences. Therefore, to start the workshop, Kratz defined important words that would be discussed later in the meeting. These definitions are listed below:
- Ally: Supporting someone different than you.
- Diversity: The representation of differences.
- Equity: Differing level of support to create an equal playing field.
- Inclusion: Feeling comfortable to speak up.
“Being an ally is a journey, not a destination”.
There is no step-by-step guide to becoming an ally, instead being open to learning is a huge part of the journey. Allyship requires a person to be self-aware of their power and privilege and to use that power to advocate for and prioritize marginalized peoples’ needs. In the workshop, Kratz gave participants simple ways to start and continue this journey toward being an ally. Some of these suggestions included having candid conversations, practicing perspective-taking, and setting a plan to be an active ally. In order to achieve equity for everyone, one must start with oneself. We all must work to understand the struggles of others and make an active effort to promote inclusivity.
It is important to remember that ‘allies’ is an umbrella term. Being an ally looks different for everyone. Some may be mentors, advocates, challengers, coaches, or sponsors, but among all, the one commonality is support. Inclusive leaders share the same behaviors as an ally such as, empathy, emotional intelligence, vulnerability, seeking to understand, etc. Therefore, Kratz explains, leading from where you are, shows allyship. A person does not need to protest or post on social media to be an ally, instead, they need to be an ally in their everyday life and continue to build the skills needed to be an ally long-term.
One question that arose during the workshop was how to implement this allyship framework into the classroom. Kratz was able to give tangible examples of how faculty can show students that they are an ally. These examples included introducing oneself as an inclusive teacher who wants to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, respecting how people identify, and being open to others’ perspectives. Overall, the conversation throughout the workshop was very engaging and interactive, allowing participants to ask questions and expand their knowledge on the topic.
We in the Marketing Department believe in being an ally to our students, faculty, peers, and other community members is an important part of making the Kelley environment more equitable. Therefore, organizing workshops such as the Lead like an Ally is a priority for us. These sessions are able to teach and inform viewers on various DEI topics that can be immediately implemented into the classroom, and to continue the progress towards an equitable environment for all.