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“When we don’t take action, we become complicit with the status quo, meaning we are ok with how things are, how things are unfolding, and how our culture is. That’s why it’s important to realize that we all have a role to play to stand up, to move from being a bystander of something to an upstander for what we believe is right.” – Karen Catlin

Being an ally and building a more inclusive work culture is a job for everyone in the workplace, not just for people who work in Diversity and Inclusion roles. Today’s Finding Brave guest shares how being an ally is a journey that starts with a single step, and in this episode, she reveals what we all can do to ensure equality in the workplace, and in all parts of society. 

After spending 25 years building software products and serving as a vice president of engineering at Adobe, Karen Catlin 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 is a leadership coach and a highly acclaimed author and speaker on inclusive workplaces. She is the author of three books, including Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces, which we will discuss today.

There is so much that we’re not aware of that gives us benefits and privileges, but as an ally, the more that we can become aware of and explore these seemingly small things, while not judging or avoiding these issues, the better we all will be. 

I encourage you to review Karen’s list, “50 Potential Privileges in the Workplace” that is linked in the show notes for this episode, and explore the emotions that come up for you with each one. The work won’t be easy to do, but it is necessary for us to see real change in the world. And check out our recent interview in my Forbes column on 5 Errors Managers Make When Providing Feedback To Employees.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • A big realization that Karen made as an executive in the workplace, and what prompted her to start her own business focusing on allyship [5:12]

  • How she defines being an ally, and the way she has expanded her focus on diversity since first getting into this work [7:35]

  • What we’re really telling ourselves and others when we don’t take action and stand up for what is not right [10:05]

  • Whether change is required more at the individual or the organizational level [12:24]

  • Karen’s thoughts on privilege in the workplace and how we tend to not see it when we have it [15:22]

  • Examples of some of the privileges that exist right now, and a free resource that she is offering to help others explore and understand them [16:16]

  • A specific challenge people without privilege often face in the workplace [22:22]

  • A question that we should be careful to ask others, and a way to word it differently [24:14]

  • Steps to take to begin addressing gender bias as an ally [31:07]

  • Why you don’t need to tolerate things that you don’t believe it, and how you do have options as a person with privilege [33:54]
  • How employers can use “stay interviews” as a way to engage and keep valued employees from leaving [36:40]

  • Recent policies that Karen has implemented when being asked to speak on stage or appear as a guest on podcasts, and why she does it [37:59]

For More Information: 

Resources Mentioned:

NEW!: Kathy’s brand new digital newsletter subscription program “Your Path To Career Bliss”

I’m thrilled to share the publication of our new monthly newsletter Your Path To Career Bliss! Each month, this newsletter offers an in-depth exploration of one key career, leadership or personal growth topic that is essential to understand and master if you wish to build a happier, more successful and rewarding career or business. These are the topics that are the most sought-after by my readers, clients, course members and thousands of professionals I hear from globally each year.

Every issue offers a selection of the MOST read articles that I’ve written on the key topic of the newsletter — from my Forbes column, LinkedIn platform and personal blogs — which have garnered over 35 million views and thousands of comments and requests for follow-up, hands-on support. 

November’s issue covers Building a Powerful Network of Mentors and Sponsors to Support Your Career And Job Search. There are two affordable tiers of the program to choose from, depending on the level of hands-on help you want.

I hope you’ll join me now in this program and get Issue #2 delivered right to your inbox! The first issue of your subscription is FREE and you can cancel at any time. CLICK HERE to learn more and claim your FREE issue today.

Thank you and I can’t wait to help you on Your Path To Career Bliss.

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Order Kathy’s book The Most Powerful You today! 

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK, click here.

If you enjoy the book, we’d so appreciate your giving the book a positive rating and review on Amazon! And check out Kathy’s digital companion course The Most Powerful You, to help you close the 7 most damaging power gaps in the most effective way possible. 

Submit your audio “Ask Kathy” questions here:

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey, Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success & Other Free Resources

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz


Other resources mentioned:

Get Karen’s “Five Ally Actions” Newsletter

Free Resource, “50 Potential Privileges in the Workplace”

Karen’s Books, Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces, The Better Allies™ Approach to Hiring & Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking

Kathy & Karen’s Forbes Blog, 5 Errors Managers Make When Providing Feedback 

Journey of the Souls by Dr. Michael Newton


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Brave by Design founder, Laura Khalil, has been on Finding Brave twice, most recently discussing the three key questions you need to ask yourself if you want to grow your business now, and I know you’ll find the revenue calculator helpful and a great complimentary resource to that episode. 

If you’re ready to make 2022 the best year yet, grab your free download today at

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“I realized there was a decline happening in gender diversity, so I wanted to do something for my industry and my company.” [5:57]

“There are systemic things that need to be addressed in a different way than any single individual can do on their own.” [13:36]

“I do think it’s important for people to realize that not everyone is going to experience the workplace in the same way that you are because of your privilege.” [16:07]

“There are privileges [you have] that allow you to stand up a little bit more for what you think is right, not only for yourself but for the organization.” [34:15]

“That’s why I put it out there, to send a message that this is how I’m going to show up and hopefully to be a role model for other people who feel the same way.” [39:27]

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave interview episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my Youtube channel at And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show! 

Please share your positive ratings and reviews!
If you enjoy the show, we’d be so very grateful for a positive rating and review on Apple Podcasts! These great ratings help us reach more and more people who are interested in boosting their careers, businesses, and their leadership, and keep in the Top 100 Apple Career Podcasts in the U.S. and around the world and in the top 1.5% of over 2.6 million podcasts! Thank you!

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Is your organization committed to supporting the growth and success of both women and men in your workforce? If so, do they offer opportunities for powerful hands-on career growth and leadership training that addresses the real-world challenges that professional women face in the workplace and in their careers that are often different from what men typically face?

I’m so thrilled that recently, a division of the United Nations recently sponsored several memberships to The Most Powerful You course for their staff members and what a powerfully supportive move that is, to bring real-world effective career and leadership training to professionals in their work cultures, to help them thrive and succeed and the highest level possible in their work and projects.

Coaching so many professionals and leaders as I do each year, I see that leadership and career growth training programs today are so often NOT effective because they simply don’t go deep enough to address what really holds us back from thriving, believing in ourselves, recognizing our talents and abilities, communicating effectively, asking for what we need, saying “STOP!” to mistreatment, building a great support community, and making the true impact we long to.

I’d like to make this request of you today: 

Please take a look at what I’m teaching in The Most Powerful You course, which is the digital companion course to my book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, now translated into Chinese and Arabic and designated a top leadership book by the Leader to Leader Journal and among the TOP 5 books for productivity, confidence-building, addressing stress and burnout, helping new grads make a “dent in the Universe” and more by The Next Big Idea Club

If you feel that this content — about 7 most damaging power gaps that prevent 98% of women and 90% of men from reaching their highest potential and most rewarding goals and how to close those gaps for good — would be helpful for you and the people at your organization, I hope you’ll ask your supervisors, HR leaders, DEI managers and Learning & Development staff to sponsor memberships of this course for you and other staff, so you can all thrive at the highest level in your roles and organizations.

Thank you so much and here’s to becoming The Most Powerful You!


This episode and transcript are sponsored by Karen Catlin and BetterAllies.comDownload the Transcript 

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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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