Beth Chandler at Events for Change: Allyship


YW Boston President and CEO Beth Chandler took part in the Events for Change Series townhall panel on Allyship last Monday, October 15, 2018 at Brown Advisory. Beth was joined by:

Moderator Diane Hessan, Chairman at C Space

Naisha Bradley, Director at Harvard College Women’s Center

Donna Levin, Co-Founder of and Executive Director at Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Colette Phillips, President and CEO at Colette Phillips Communications and Founder of Get Konnected!

Robert F. Rivers, Chair & CEO at Eastern Bank


Event Highlights: What is allyship and how does one go about it?

The event focused on defining allyship, why it’s important, and what each of us can do to become allies to others. An allyship occurs when a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group. It is not an identity but a process. Allyship helps build bridges of understanding between people and is not something that should be self-defined. One’s work and efforts must be recognized by the people we seek to ally ourselves with. 

Before attempting to work as an ally, it’s important to work internally to understand one’s own bias. Beth explained how bringing diverse groups together to have complex conversations about the impact of race and ethnicity on an individual’s life, in the same way that YW Boston’s Dialogues program does, can build empathy between co-workers. Such conversations can help peers understand how inequities around race and ethnicity impact colleagues and in turn the entire organization.


After the event, hosts shared actionable prompts for attendees looking to commit to allyship in their professional and personal lives:

  • Talk to your friends and colleagues about bias
  • Identify resources to help combat bias in your organization
  • Expand your network and join new organizations outside of your community
  • Support historically underrepresented voices in your workplace
  • Discuss why bias affects everyone
  • Mentor the next generation of leaders
  • Ask about things you assume you know
  • Focus on an intersectional approach
  • Respond proactively, not reactively
  • Take care of your own biases before embarking on allyship, internal work should precede external work


About YW Boston

YW Boston has been a leader in building a better Boston for all since 1866, when it was founded as the first YWCA in the nation. Today, YW Boston serves over 3,000 Bostonians with programs that educate and empower people across racial, gender, class, and organizational lines. YW Boston is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. 

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