Serving San Francisco and the East Bay

Are You An Ally? The Art of Allyship: How Leaders Create Inclusive Cultures by Calling Others In

By Linda Wagner, FWSF MarCom Co-Chair

Pamela HopkinsOn Tuesday, April 17, as part of the Professional Development Series, the FWSF co-hosted this event with one of our valued partners, Wells Fargo. The speaker, Dr. Pamela Hopkins, Ph.D., is the owner; executive consultant and managing partner of Enact Leadership which provides development solutions that equip leaders to drive superior results while cultivating vibrant engaged cultures.

Given the recent media coverage of implicit bias in many different scenarios, this event was timely and relevant. Whether in the workplace, the community, or in sports, bias is pervasive. And we can all do something about it.

Increasing employee engagement

The evening began with the subject of engagement. According to the statistics Dr. Hopkins cited, only 13% of employees worldwide feel engaged in their work. This impacts productivity, satisfaction, and turnover. Inclusion is a way to increase engagement.

Dr. Hopkins both presented and facilitated a discussion on how we all can contribute to transforming organizational culture to be more inclusive and diverse in three major ways:

  1. Acknowledge your own biases
  2. Recognize acts of micro-aggression
  3. Cultivate brave space (psychological safety)

Key Takeaways:

  • Equity is not a pie. When you include others and their viewpoints, you are not giving away your share.
  • Embed inclusive behaviors into the culture to avoid employees thinking of it as one more thing being added to their already full plate.
  • Leaders with privilege and power must step up.
  • While employees expect leadership to set an example, the reality is that anyone can become an “ally.”
  • Everyone is accountable.
  • There is a difference between intention and impact. Show your commitment.

Art of Allyship Discussion


This presentation was especially valuable as it was in line with FWSF’s stated inclusion policy: FWSF is committed to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion. We promote diversity in membership, leadership, and activities in order to foster a culture of inclusion. We celebrate and value our similarities and differences with respect to gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, language, religious beliefs, political affiliation, academic background and professional experience.

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