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Proven techniques, strategies, and tools to develop women leaders, build male allies, and promote gender equality.

Sep 11, 2018

Candid conversations are tough to have.  It is easy to skirt around them.   Maybe for the short-term, but this is detrimental for long-term success.  This episode’s guests share how to engage in them safely, and productively.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins outlines keys to a candid conversation through her own candid conversation story.  By inserting herself into an uncomfortable situation to create a safe space for a colleague, she was able to set the tone and show the team what good allyship looks like.  She chose to not be a bystander, look the other way, or avoid the conflict instead.  She is an advocate for leaders to step into the discomfort by neutralizing tone and emotion and setting ground rules collaboratively.  Specifically, by asking “how can I better communicate with you?” and practicing gratitude with those with negative behavior, we create safe places for sustained positive change.

Also in this episode, Zane Davis, MBA student at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, shares his story of initiating a male ally organization.  He speaks to the challenges of leading an ally organization and strategies to continue the dialogue as allies in your organization.  We discuss generational differences on gender equality, the importance of critical mass for women leaders and MBA programs, and the advantages and disadvantages of setting diversity goals.

Follow Zane on Twitter @ztdavis and email him at

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