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Is Your Allyship Truly Intersectional?

Mar 25 2022 | 31m


There is no doubt that allyship is a crucial element of an inclusive workplace. But how can we make sure our allyship isn’t performative, and that we’re truly leaving no one behind? Join Gavriella Schuster, Former Corporate VP at Microsoft, as she unpacks the fundamentals to intersectional allyship, including how to use your privilege to empower others, the importance of inclusive language, how to respond when you’re called in, and how to adopt a respectful approach. Tap ‘More Information’ for a list of questions asked with time stamps included.

Key Questions:

  • [1:25] What is an ally? 

  • [2:11] What is intersectional allyship? 

  • [3:38] Is it an issue in DEI, where people focus on one small segment of people and forget about the rest? 

  • [5:34] How can we start being active intersectional allies? How do we move beyond just paying lip service and move towards meaningful action? And how can people call it out if they notice that an organization’s words aren’t aligned with their actions?


  • [10:13] In trying to be an ally, is there potential to offend? 

  • [13:14] Sometimes even well-meaning allies commit microaggressions. How do you recommend approaching this conversation? 

  • [17:05] My boss did an International Women’s Day post on LinkedIn that went viral, and everyone was celebrating him. He’s honestly a total misogynist and talks down to me and other women all the time. I feel like I want to speak out and do something, but how? I’m only going to be hurting myself. 

  • [18:44] I find myself overly optimizing towards advocating and listening to others. Is there too much allyship that can happen? What are some signs that you’re overcorrecting? 

  • [20:30] How do I know if the person I’m offering allyship to is open and receptive to it? 

  • [22:53] I feel like there’s a lot of resistance to meaningful change. The majority of senior leaders are comfortable where they are. The quote “Equality feels like discrimination when you’re accustomed to privilege” comes to mind. What do you think has to shift for us to see a real change in the upper rungs of our organizations? 

  • [26:27] One of my male colleagues frequently cuts me off in meetings and never seems to care about my opinion. A few of my colleagues have even noticed that he doesn’t cut any of our male colleagues off. I’ve tried to ask him but he seems to ignore him. Should I report him to HR? I feel like nothing will happen and it would just make things super awkward. 

  • [27:27] Curious about your take on women in leadership who have internalized misogyny that they aren’t able or willing to see and address. 

  • [28:37] It’s very tiring to be told you’re doing it wrong with allyship, even when you’re trying. How do you recommend discussing this? 

  • [29:31] I think being an ally necessitates continual activity on our side both at work and in our daily lives. How do we ensure that we’re taking daily action to create more inclusive environments?

  • [30:48] Gavriella, do you have any parting words about being a great intersectional ally?


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