Are you looking to build a workplace culture with a certain buzz about it? Where employees are thriving and loving their work. Where engagement survey scores are through the roof. Where people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities are hired and set up for success—and they all want their friends to work there too, because it’s so awesome.

One secret to creating this kind of workplace is to be a better ally. And it’s something anyone can do.

In Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces, you’ll learn to spot situations where you can create a more diverse and inclusive culture, along with straightforward steps to take. Leadership coach Karen Catlin will walk you though how to be a better ally, including:

– Hiring and retaining a diverse workforce
– Amplifying and advocating for others
– Giving effective and equitable performance feedback
– Using more inclusive language

Read this book to level-up your ally skills and create a culture where everyone, including yourself, can do their best work and thrive.

Better Allies book coverComing in January 2019
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Praise for Better Allies

“Calling all allies! Here is your one-stop manual for becoming better as an advocate, champion, and ally for marginalized colleagues in the workplace. Catlin’s rich experience as an executive in the tech world infuses each of her immensely practical allyship strategies with deep wisdom from the trenches. Not sure where to start? Catlin demystifies allyship with proven workplace actions from a host of everyday allies. This amazing book is both an invitation and a roadmap to every person and organization committed to making the workplace fully inclusive. More, Better Allies is a gift to everyone who truly wants to be a better human being at work.”
Brad Johnson, PhD and David G. Smith, PhD, authors of Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women


“I tore through Better Allies, and you will too. Karen Catlin has brought clarity to the challenges underrepresented people face at work. Read this book if you want advice on how to be a better ally, on how to create a more inclusive culture, and on how to increase your competitive advantage around hiring and retaining talent.”
Norm Meyrowitz, former President of Products, Macromedia


“Karen Catlin has created an accessible, practical everyday guide to becoming a better ally. Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been an ally for years, everyone can learn something new from this terrific book.”
Elizabeth Ames, Leadership Committee of Time’s Up Tech and Founder, Allies Together


“Navigating today’s business landscape requires everyone to build their ability to support colleagues and coach others. This book will give you valuable insights and practical advice on being a better ally. It’s an eye-opening, powerful approach.”
Tom Hale, President, SurveyMonkey

About the Author

Karen CatlinKaren Catlin is a leadership coach, keynote speaker, author, and passionate advocate for inclusion in the workplace. After spending 25 years building software products and serving as a vice president of engineering at Macromedia and Adobe Systems, she witnessed a sharp decline in the number of women working in tech. Frustrated but galvanized, she knew it was time to switch gears.

Today, Karen coaches women to be stronger leaders and men to be better allies. Her client roster includes Airbnb, Pinterest, eBay, and Intel, as well as a variety of motivated entrepreneurs and individuals. Karen’s coaching offerings include tactics for increasing visibility, being more strategic, managing stakeholders, negotiation, and cultivating ally skills. Her writing on these and related topics has appeared in Inc., The Daily Beast, and Fast Company, and she’s consulted on articles for The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The New York Times. In late 2014, Karen started the Twitter handle @betterallies to share simple, actionable steps that anyone could take to make their workplaces more inclusive. She continues to tweet and blog for Better Allies, and also emails a roundup of 5 Ally Actions to her subscribers every week.

A self-professed public speaking geek, Karen is a highly sought-after, engaging presenter who has delivered talks at more than 100 conferences and corporate events. She speaks on a variety of topics including inclusive workplaces and women in leadership. Her TEDx talk, Women in Tech: The Missing Force, explores the decline in gender diversity in tech, why that’s a problem, and what can be done about it. In addition to speaking herself, Karen is determined to change the ratio for who is on stage, giving keynotes and other presentations. To support her goal of bringing more diversity to speaker lineups at tech industry events, she co-authored Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking with Poornima Vijayashanker.

Karen is a graduate and active alum of Brown University, serving as an advisor to the university’s Computer Science Diversity Initiative and mentoring students on how to launch their careers. She’s also on the Advisory Boards for The Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley and WEST (Women Entering & Staying in Technology). In 2015, the California State Assembly honored Karen with the Wonder Women Tech Innovator Award for outstanding achievements in business and technology and for being a role model for women.

Karen and her partner Tim live in San Mateo, CA. They’re proud parents of two GenZ children Emma and Ted.

To find out what she’s up to next, visit her website at karencatlin.com


For speaking engagements and all other inquiries, contact us at info@betterallies.com

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Tech Privilege Walk

You know those “privilege walk” activities? Take one step forward if you attended college, take one step back if you skipped a meal because there was no food in the house, etc.

Well, we made one for the tech industry, with a focus on the United States.

How to use it

The goal of this activity is to raise awareness of privilege, and both the benefits and obstacles people can face in the tech industry.

  • Used in a group setting, it requires trust already be present among participants. Standing in a line, participants acknowledge their privilege, or lack thereof, by stepping forward or back as a facilitator reads each statement out-loud.
  • It can also be done more privately. Participants can be seated and tally their steps forward and back on index cards as each statement is read.

Afterwards, facilitate a conversation. Any thoughts on the activity? Who is surprised by where they landed? Did you come to any new realizations?

The questions

See the list of questions here.

Can I use or modify the list of questions?

Absolutely. We offer it under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the activity as long as you credit us for the original creation.

Please send us an email if you use it, with or without modifications. We’d like to hear about your experience.