Are you looking to build a workplace culture with a certain buzz about it? Where employees are thriving and engagement survey scores are through the roof? Where people from different backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations and identities, ages, and abilities are hired and set up for success?

One secret to creating this kind of vibrant and supportive workplace is practicing active allyship. With the Better Allies® approach, it’s something anyone can do, not just people who have “diversity,” “inclusion,” or “belonging” in their job title.

Illustration of the torso of a person wearing a blue suit and red tie, holding a business card that reads Inclusion is a job for everyone, not just for people with diversity inclusion or belonging on their business card.

There are myriad everyday actions you can take to be a better ally. Karen Catlin has two books to help show you the way:

Photo of the book Better Allies. It has a white cover, large red letters reading Better Allies, and a yellow post-it note reading Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. In the lower left corner is a red badge reading Second Edition. In the lower right, it has the author's name, Karen Catlin.

Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces (2nd edition)

The highly-acclaimed, practical guide for how to be an ally in the workplace, now in its 2nd edition.

In this book, you’ll learn to spot situations where you can create a more inclusive culture, along with straightforward steps to take. Karen will walk you through how to be a better ally, including:

  • Attracting and hiring a diverse workforce
  • Cultivating an environment where coworkers feel welcome, respected, and supported
  • Amplifying and advocating for others
  • Giving effective and equitable performance feedback
  • Using more inclusive language
  • Running inclusive conferences and events

Level-up your ally skills using the Better Allies™ approach and create a culture where everyone can do their best work and thrive.

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The Better Allies Approach to Hiring

Building on the momentum of Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces, Karen has created this helpful hiring guide filled with best practices to recruit and hire people from underrepresented ethnicities and genders, with non-traditional educational backgrounds, with gaps on their resumes, or from older generations. With examples, stories, checklists, rubrics, and guidelines galore, this unique tool will help you transform your hiring process to attract and retain diverse applicants.

Read this guidebook for actionable steps you can take to fill your pipeline with candidates from underrepresented groups and ensure you have an inclusive interview process that paves the way to a more diverse workforce.

Praise for Better Allies

Better Allies demystifies the work of allyship in an actionable, approachable, and blame-free way. The book introduces key concepts necessary to effective allyship with concrete examples and case studies, and offers a myriad of positive actions we can all take on our journey to be better allies in our workplace and our personal lives.”

Caroline Simard, PhD, Managing Director, Stanford VMWare Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab

“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 and Good Guys

“As businesses continue to focus on local and global expansion, I believe success lies in seeking and embracing differing cultural perspectives. The first step is to have a workforce which is reflective of their target customer. By including and advocating for people of all genders, cultures and lifestyles, and ensuring they are reflected in all levels of the company from the board room to the mail room, businesses will develop a practice of empathy and understanding which will translate into more meaningful connections, thus products and services people believe in. Better Allies paves a road to this success. ”

Steve Johnson, Vice President of Experience Design and Innovation, Netflix

“Some people have it harder than you at work. This is just true. Get over it. And, yes, there are many permutations of this dynamic involving class, color, race, sexual orientation and a few thousand other ways people are different from each other. We tend to not notice it, or not do anything about it, at least partly because we’re not sure what to do. Fortunately, we now have Better Allies. It’s incredibly complete and packed with practical advice to help you start to make a difference in your organization.”

Joe Dunn, Executive Coach and Radical Candor Guru

“As a global business strategist with a plural board career, I am passionate regarding how imperative it is in today’s world that companies must sharpen their competitive advantage by attracting and retaining top talent. Better Allies is a thoughtful and insightful book, offering a toolkit of meaningful, actionable ideas for the reader of how to create a meaningful and engaging workplace.”

Eugenia Ulasewicz, former President, Burberry Americas

“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, CEO, Women In Product

“Ever found yourself wondering ‘How can I better support diversity and inclusion in the workplace?’ In Better Allies, Karen Catlin breaks it down and helps to guide the conversation. This book is just the beginning of a grassroots movement. And it’s going to help make a big difference to workplaces everywhere.”

Brad ArkinChief Security and Trust Officer, Cisco

“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

“Better Allies is an important book for outcome-focused executives, however we classify ourselves. As someone who mentors a broad set of up-and-coming product managers and product leaders, I see every day how urgently we need to widen our lenses to spot emerging talent we’ve often overlooked – even as so many product leadership roles remain unfilled. Karen Catlin provides a range of actionable, motivating, effective tools for growing more diverse teams so that we can deliver more successful products. Better Allies can help each of us be better allies.”

Rich Mironov, startup CEO and author of The Art of Product Management

“As men, we have a whole lot of privilege. And we can use that privilege to open doors and bring more diversity into ‘the room where it happens.’ In Better Allies, you’ll learn practical steps to do exactly that and create a more inclusive workplace. Be a better man and read this book now.”

Ray Arata, Co-Founder Inclusionary Leadership Group

About the Author

Photo of Karen wearing a Better Allies vest on the Golden Gate Bridge

Karen Catlin is a leadership coach and an acclaimed author and speaker on inclusive workplaces. After spending 25 years building software products and serving as a vice president of engineering at Macromedia and Adobe, 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 for members of all underrepresented groups. Her client roster includes Airbnb, DoorDash, eBay, Envoy, Intel, Intuit, and Segment, as well as 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 BeastFast Company, and the Muse, and she’s consulted on articles for the Wall Street JournalForbes, 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. That handle became the inspiration for her books, Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces (2019) and The Better Allies™ Approach to Hiring (2020). She continues to tweet and blog for Better Allies, and also emails a roundup of 5 Ally Actions to her subscribers every week.

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 a member of the board of directors of Digital NEST and 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.


A self-professed public speaking geek, Karen is a highly sought-after, engaging presenter who has delivered talks at more than a hundred 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 it’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 coauthored Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking with Poornima Vijayashanker.

To find out more about Karen, including her talks and workshops on Better Allies, visit her website at

For speaking engagements and all other inquiries, contact us at

Karen’s speaker reel