September 23, 2021
There are many different descriptions and definitions of what allyship means. For some, it’s about amplifying the voices of those who don’t feel they hold power, or maybe it’s educating yourself to understand and support people who experience discrimination to be a part of the change, or maybe it’s as simple as listening.
We asked #TeamEames: What does being an effective ally mean to you?
- "To me, an active ally is someone who actively and authentically supports/promotes a culture of inclusion, while advocating for those who might be marginalised or underrepresented." Tara Robinson, principal consultant
- "Being confident to challenge where required, everyone can always do more and do better." Heather Yardley, senior consultant
- 'Being an effective ally in my view means going beyond sympathising with those who experience discrimination in the workplace. This could be through educating yourself on diversity and inclusion by attending talks or conferences, sitting on a D&I committee that aims to address and limit these issues, or actively engaging in conversations on D&I." Hannah Turner, principal consultant
- 'Being there and offering support, taking time to understand culture and the issues that affect people around you as well as respecting opinions when they differ from your own." Rahul Bali, senior consultant
- "Being an ally is more than being understanding or sympathetic towards those who experience discrimination. To me being an ally means being willing to act with and for others in pursuit of creating equality." Glen Roberts, partner & director
- "For me being an effective ally is about always being available for my team! Being there to support, have their back and let them lean on my experience when they need it whether that be about a work issue, personal problem or just discuss something, I think it’s important to be there to listen and help when needed." Mark Thomas, partner & director
- "Allyship is complicated as it means different things to different people. A true ally will know the spaces in which they hold power, the spaces from which others are excluded or face a discriminatory barrier to entry and then use their influence to support others, both like and not like them to enter. It’s important to recognise your privilege and do your best to make spaces more inclusive. This inevitably may involve challenging conversations with colleagues, friends and even family but being a true ally is not a part-time vocation." Abigail Moss, associate director
- "I think the most important part of being an effective ally is being available to listen to the experiences of people within the marginalized group. A key part of this is making sure their voices are heard without being overshadowed by relating it to your own experiences." Viveca Riley, associate consultant
- "Speaking up, even if something doesn’t directly affect you. This applies to both good and bad scenarios. Highlighting individuals or situations that are unjust as well as celebrating where someone has gone above and beyond to ‘do the right thing’. " Natasha Richards, client relationship manager
- "For me, active allyship is about being conscious about the fact that people are facing daily battles that I have no real awareness of, and working proactively to improve my education about those issues so I can understand better. There was a great phrase that I saw during Black History Month and the Black Lives Matter movement last year, which was “although I may never truly understand, I stand”, which I thought encapsulated it really well.
Active allyship is also about being prepared to call out unacceptable behaviour. Microaggressions such as inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance, speech or abilities might seem small on their own, but they can add up to poor culture if left unchecked." Charlie Thomas, associate partner, Eames Partnership