Ally Skills Workshop

Ally Skills Workshop


If your company or organization is interested in combating bias and creating a more inclusive culture, you may be ready for the Ally Skills Workshop.  I offer this workshop both independently, and as a facilitator for Frame Shift Consulting.

Unlike trainings that focus on educating people about the basics of how bias and oppression works, the Ally Skills Workshop teaches participants to use their influence to intervene when someone else is being targeted or excluded.  Scenarios used in the workshop address bias against women of all races, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, parents/caregivers, people of different ages, people from targeted religious groups, and higher-weight people.

Suitable for corporate, academic, or community organization settings, the ASW works best with between 16 and 50 participants.  Each presentation of the workshop can be customized to the needs of its particular audience by working with me to identify the type of bias issues and situations that your attendees may encounter on the job or in your community.

What will we do during the workshop?

The ASW is designed as a 3-hour workshop, including an introduction of about 30 minutes, and around 2 1/2 hours  of small-group discussion.  Participants will talk through a variety of scenarios they might encounter at work, at conferences and other professional activities, or in day-to-day life.  You will practice skills for acting as allies: listening to marginalized/impacted people, identifying problem policies or behaviors, intervening or offering support, and amplifying the voices of targeted people and other allies.  And you will go away feeling more confident that you’ll be ready with a response when the moment comes, rather than thinking afterwards “I wish someone would have said something.”

Ally Skills workshops work best when

  • Presented to a group that already has a basic understanding of unconscious bias, systems of oppression, and how power and privilege work.  You don’t have to be able to write a book, but the ASW is not the place for people just figuring out “Inequality 101.”  (I can offer your organization a beginners’ talk on different dimensions of diversity, or recommend you to an organization that addresses the basics, if that’s where you need to start.)
  • The participants are a mixture of people with different experiences of privilege and oppression (e.g. some men, some women, some non-binary people; some People of Color and some White people; some straight and cisgender people and some LGBTQ people).
  • Everyone is there voluntarily.  This is not a good workshop for a mandatory, all-hands meeting. People who don’t want to be at the workshop and who disagree with its basic premise (some people are advantaged due to aspects of their identity, and others are disadvantaged through no fault of their own; this is unfair and should be changed).
  • The workshop is confidential.  The ASW should not be filmed, audiotaped, or otherwise documented and shared. Participants must feel safe enough to ask awkward questions and share their own thoughts and experiences.

Who developed the workshop?

The Ally Skills Workshop was originally developed by the Ada Initiative, to teach men how to support women in technology workplaces and conferences.  It has since been expanded to address a wide variety of dimensions of diversity, across multiple corporate, academic, non-profit, and community settings.

I was trained by Valerie Aurora of Frame Shift Consulting, who has done a great deal to expand the ASW’s content and format, and co-presented the ASW with her at Google in 2017.

How can I learn more about scheduling a workshop?

Contact me with questions, and we can discuss whether the ASW is right for your purposes.  Fees will vary depending on the type of organization you are, and the number of attendees you want to accommodate.  I do present the ASW outside the Bay Area for organizations willing to cover travel and lodging expenses.


drsaddison@gmail.com

510-599-5467

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