Amplifying Allyship as Part of IDEAL IT

When you ask him about IDEAL IT, Steve Gallagher, Stanford’s chief information officer (CIO), often observes that “a diverse and inclusive workplace is simply a better place to work and has better outcomes for our community.” 

This sentiment was the fundamental rationale for IDEAL IT when it launched in September 2018. IDEAL IT is a system of programs focused on diversifying recruitment, deepening inclusion and belonging, and increasing overall cultural awareness, competence, and understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across Stanford IT. Sponsored as a strategic program by the CIO Council, IDEAL IT is “IDEAL for the IT Community at Stanford.” 

The six programs within IDEAL IT aim to build talent, community, equity and accountability. The newest IDEAL IT program, Accessibility in IT, launched earlier this year and focuses on building allyship and awareness around digital accessibility at Stanford. A collective focus on allyship is a signpost and theme for IDEAL IT in the new academic year.

Defining allyship

Allyship is about taking action to effect real, tangible change. Allyship is a process and a journey, not a destination. It starts with listening deeply and empathically, and seeking to understand different perspectives. It depends on thoughtfully asking others about their lived experiences, and requires showing up: being present, engaged, and committed. Allies speak up and advocate for others, elevate and amplify marginalized or historically excluded voices, and evangelize allyship with others.1

allyship journey

 1Adapted from Learn How to Be a Successful Ally: Four Key Practices


According to Lean In, “allyship is critical to fostering an inclusive workplace culture. Research shows allies don’t just influence one person at a time. They inspire others to act as change agents, too, creating a culture of acceptance and support.”

Allyship at Work

Starting this fall, IDEAL IT will pilot Allyship at Work, an educational training program developed by Lean In that empowers people to take meaningful action and build an inclusive workplace culture. The Allyship at Work program will be a series of virtual workshops and guided discussion groups. 

Allyship at Work teaches employees to recognize their privilege and power to create change through research-backed steps they can take to show up as allies. The program includes Individual activities, real-life stories, group discussions, and videos to help participants develop a shared understanding of allyship and prepare to take action in ways that center impact — and avoid pitfalls like performative allyship or the savior mentality.

More information about how you can participate in the IDEAL IT-sponsored Allyship at Work sessions will be shared in monthly IT Community newsletters and in Slack. 

Learn more about allyship

Start learning more about allyship even before the workshops rollout by checking out some helpful resources: 

  • Explore Better Allies, a book and newsletter by Karen Catlin, with everyday actions for creating inclusive, engaging workplaces.
  • Read this recent article in Harvard Business Review or watch the Zoom recording of the two authors presenting on “Cultivating a Culture of Allyship” at a recent SLAC ERG meeting. 

Explore Cardinal at Work resources: Get started on your IDEAL Learning Journey and check out the Anti-Racism Toolkit.

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