110. Dr. Poornima Luthra: Demonstrating active allyship

In episode 110 of the Access to Inspiration podcast, host Sue Stockdale interviews Dr Poornima Luthra, an associate professor at Copenhagen Business School. They explore the concept of active allyship and discuss ways to overcome the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing when supporting diversity and inclusion within organizations.

Poornima is the founder and CEO of TalentED Consultancy ApS. Poornima’s work in DEI focuses on expanding the dimensions of diversity we address with an emphasis on intersectionality, empowering individuals to be active allies of inclusion and enabling inclusive leadership.

She has been recognised as one of the world’s 30 up-and-coming thinkers whose ideas will make an important impact on management thinking in the future by the prestigious Thinkers50. Her book ‘The Art of Active Allyship’ was named one of the 10 best management books of 2023 by Thinkers50. Poornima is also the recipient of the Professional Women of Colour Denmark 2021 Impact award, and the national winner (Denmark) in the Trailblazer category of the 2023 Nordic Blaze Inclusion Awards Nordic Blaze Inclusion Awards.

She is currently co-authoring her third book in the DEI space titled ‘Leading through Bias’ which will be published in November 2023 with the Danish version of the book being published by the Danish publisher Djøf in 2024.

Connect with Poornima Luthra via her website : LinkedIn  : Facebook 

Time Stamps

[00:01:09] Squiggly career paths.
[00:03:31] Microaggressions and gender biases.
[00:07:32] Inclusion and diversity interests.
[00:10:32] DEI as a zero-sum game.
[00:13:54] Fear in diversity and inclusion.
[00:18:35] Allyship and its definition.
[00:22:19] Progress in active allyship.
[00:25:47] LGBTQ+ community acceptance.
[00:27:45] Addressing fear and inequality.

Key Quotes

  • “I really liked the idea of understanding human beings and the workplace environment.”
  • “I went to the program director and said, I’d really like to be considered for this role. And he looked at me and said, not until you’ve got a lot more white hair”.
  • “Fear is a topic that we really need to put on the table.
  • “When we look at diversity as a zero-sum game, that it’s one group against another, we actually do more harm.”
  • “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
  • “Allyship is a lifelong process of building supporting relationships with people who are from underrepresented, marginalised, discriminated groups.”

This series is kindly supported by Squadcast by Descript –the remote recording platform which empowers podcasters by capturing high-quality audio and video conversations. Find out more at squadcast.fm

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Transcription – Poornima Luthra

00:14 Sue Hi there, I’m Sue Stockdale, and welcome to episode 110 of the Access to Inspiration podcast, the show where you can be inspired by people who may be unlike you.Today, I’m talking to Poornima Luthra, an associate professor at Copenhagen Business School. She explains what active allyship means and how to reduce the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing when supporting diversity and inclusion within an organization. If you want to read a transcription of this episode as you listen, go on over to our website at accesstoinspiration.org and you’ll find it there along with all the show notes. You can sign up for our newsletter while you’re there too at the bottom of the homepage. Welcome to the podcast, Poornima. It’s great to speak to you today.

Poornima Thank you so much for having me. This is so exciting.

Sue Well, as our listener will know, we champion diversity on this podcast because we’ve got over 100 episodes now from a diverse range of guests. And so it made me think, then, let’s dig into this subject a little bit deeper and explore it in terms of how we can understand diversity and inclusion a little bit better, which led me to find you, Poornima. I understand you’re an associate professor currently at Copenhagen Business School. How did you get into that in the first place?

01:26 Poornima Yeah, so I’ve had what would be called a squiggly career. I think it’s Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis who made this concept very famous with their TED talk on the topic of a squiggly career. So I actually started with my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. Now in the family background that I come from as a South Asian woman, there were really three choices on the table. It was either engineering, law or medicine. Given that I really didn’t enjoy the thought of using a scalpel to cut someone up. I really didn’t enjoy arguing for the sake of argument, at least at that time when you’re 17 years old, that was my concept of what law was. And so then it was engineering. And I happened to be good at math, and I happened to be good at physics and chemistry. And so therefore, that seemed like the natural choice there. I do remember having a conversation with my parents about, well, I really liked the idea of understanding human beings and the workplace environment, organizational behaviour, and really pursuing a business degree. But it was quite clear that going down that pathway would maybe not be the ideal career choice because the question was, well, what would you do afterwards? What kind of career options would you have? And would it be good career options, whatever good means, right?

02.39 So yes, I landed in engineering and I did okay. I enjoyed the courses that I always took in the business school, the cross-faculty courses that you could take every semester. So I would always enjoy being on that side of campus and those courses. So while I did my engineering degree and I did complete it, it became very clear, I think, to me, but also to my parents and to my family that, well, this wasn’t the right choice, actually. I wouldn’t thrive in that environment. But I also think there are some fundamental things that happened during that course of the four years that shaped actually the choices that I’ve made afterwards. And one of them was that I was one of a handful of women in a class or a lecture theatre of about 300 students, right? And then when you think about intersectionality and you add in the dimension of being a woman of color, that number then becomes even smaller. In most tutorial rooms, I was often the only female student amongst 20 students in a tutorial room. And I was often told by my male peers that you don’t want to spoil your nails, let me do the soldering for you.

03:38 So there were these, what I call in my book, termite biases or micro-aggressions that over time just led to the belief that maybe this really isn’t the pathway for me and I’m not going to thrive here. But I also didn’t see any role models you think about all the tech companies engineering organisations I couldn’t see anyone who look like me in leadership positions that were well represented and that was actually perhaps one of the causes or reasons for me saying well this is really isn’t for me. This is not where I’m gonna try I have ambitions, I have goals I wanna be and achieve those goals but this is probably not the environment. And so I then made my way to actually doing my Masters and PhD. more in line with what I wanted to study which is around organisational behaviour and really looking at people within the workplace environment understanding the dynamics of how all of that works. And that was really the pathway to get there.

I wanted to be in academia since I was maybe about six, seven years old. My mom will tell me that I, you know, I used to teach my teddy bears whenever I could, and my younger sister when she’d oblige. And so teaching has always been an integral part of who I am. My father was retired as a professor a couple of years ago, so I’ve always seen it in my family as well. But I always was very clear that it had to be tertiary education, that I wanted to teach and do research in that area, at that level. And so that was the pathway and that was very clear and so that’s how I landed up with doing my PhD, starting my first academic position in Singapore, faculty position, and then eight years ago joining the Copenhagen Business School.

05:14 Sue I love the squiggliness as you describe it. And also what I’m hearing there is the influence of expectations from others and the influence of the environment that you find yourself in and how that shapes who you are and how you view the world.

Poornima Absolutely.

Sue Given you then find yourself in Copenhagen Business School, then how did you come to turn your attention particularly to looking at inclusive leadership?

05:39 Poornima Yeah, so I think it’s been a process. I’ve been teaching at a university in Singapore for a number of years, and there was a new course, a Master’s course that was being created. And it was right up my alley. It was right in my teaching interests and my research interests. And up till that point in time, I’d only taught undergraduate courses. So this was exciting for me. And next stage, I felt like I was ready for it. So I went to the program director and I said, I’d really like to be considered for this role. And he looked at me and he said, not until you’ve got a lot more white hair. Looking back on that moment, I’m not sure if it hit me as hard as when I think about it now, because that was really the turning point for me to really get into looking at the intersectional lens of inclusive leadership, of inclusive organizations. Because we really do focus primarily on gender and maybe ethnicity, maybe sexual orientation, depending on where we are in the world. But these don’t exist in isolation.

06: 33 Poornima In that moment, I was there as a woman of color, in that conversation but it was actually age that was the discriminating factor there. It could be other factors but that was at that moment it was age and that really sparked off my desire to want to put more on the table to get organizations and leaders in organizations to understand that when they’re looking at inclusive organization, who they’re being inclusive to, there’s an intersectional range of identities that is representative of the demographics of our society, of the world, and our customers, and that needs to be taken into account. So I think that was a real turning point for me in terms of my own research and my teaching interests as well. And that switch came on.

But I would say that my interest in inclusion and diversity I think has always been there I think even as a child it was something that I was always interested in I took inequality and equity that I saw around me quite harshly it affected me very deeply. Whenever I could volunteer I would volunteer in organisations that would be helping children with, for example, with learning needs. And I think I always had it somewhere in me, but it wasn’t well articulated in the 90s and the early 2000s, as I can maybe put more words to it today, because we all have much more of a common vocabulary and understanding around that. So I think I always had it in me, but that was a real turning point, I think, career-wise. in going down the pathway of really focusing my research and my energy into intersectionality and then inclusive leadership and actions, right? What can we do differently?

08:04 Sue So that makes complete sense. And as you’re describing it to me, Poornima, I’m thinking of a leader in an organisation who has pressures on them to deliver. They also recognise that they often have to focus on diversity and inclusion, not necessarily always want to. And yet it could almost seem overwhelming in that it’s not just about gender or ethnicity. Now I have all these other things to think about as well. What would be your suggestions to that leader who’s maybe a little bit sceptical and yet sees that they have to do something? Where do they start?

08:38 Poornima  That’s a great question and it’s a question that comes up very often, right? And the leaders I work with often say, Poornima we’ve been struggling with gender one dimension for so long, and that to the binary identities, right? In most organizations, they’re not even focusing on gender fluidity or non-binary identities, transgender individuals. They’re not. There’s not enough efforts being put in that area. But even within the binary, we’re struggling. We can’t meet our quotas and targets. We’re not moving things along. So you are now telling us that we need to focus on all these different things. I mean, you’ve got to be out of your mind, right? That’s pretty much what leaders are thinking about. But here’s the thing. If we continue to look at diversity as being one dimension or two dimensions at the most, we’ll never make progress because until and unless we look at this holistically, because none of us show up in our workplaces in one dimension, I don’t go to work as a woman on some days and as a person of color on another day of a particular age on a third day. I go to work with this intersectional diversity thumbprint and I experience my workplace and society through that intersectional lens.

09:48 So we need leaders to understand that in looking at it more holistically, in looking at it more completely, they’ll actually be able to reflect more deeply and then take actions that will have greater benefit for a wider range of intersectional identities and move the needle further and faster. Because this myopic way of looking at it, focused on one area, simply creates this toxic environment of pitting one group against another. Whether it’s majority ethnic representation against the minority or underrepresented, whether it’s cisgendered heterosexual individuals against the LGBTQ+ community, or whether it’s women against men. And when we look at it in that way, as a zero-sum game, that it’s one group against another, we actually do more harm. And it is why we’re here. We’ve made paltry progress, quite frankly, when it comes to DEI. We’ve been at it for the last couple of decades on trying to address inequity and inequality in our organizations. But we don’t have that focus on looking at it holistically, looking at it systemically, looking at it as interconnected parts. And until we do that, we can’t move the needle further. So I would say to that leader that when you get to that stage of really knowing and understanding, then you’re able to take off as an inclusive leader. And every action you take, everything you put into place, every process and procedure or system or structure that you implement, you are thinking it through that inclusive lens. And you’re nurturing an organization that is truly inclusive for that breadth of intersectional identities. So it might need hard work in the beginning and it might seem daunting, but find the right people, engage with them, learn and be curious. And then when you get to that stage of really feeling like, all right, I’ve got a grasp of this, then you’re able to take off. And actually the actions you’ll take will have such amazing positive benefits for the organization. So that would be my answer to the leader who is concerned and who’s confused. And I understand where they’re coming from. I totally do.

11:54 Sue That makes great sense to think about this question of diversity in a systemic perspective. And if you’re enjoying this episode about diversity and inclusion, then you may also like episode 52, where I spoke to Jenna Howieson, whose story is a great example of active allyship in practice. You can find it and more than 100 other episodes on a wide range of topics at accesstoinspiration.org. Now back to speaking to Poornima. Now, another factor that can put people off is a sense of fear that they might say the wrong thing, they might do the wrong thing, or they will feel shamed in some way by how they try to tackle this subject. What would be your sense of speaking to that point? How would you help people to overcome their fears?

12:42 Poornima So fear is a really interesting one, and it’s one that I’ve looked at in my second book, in my third book that’s coming out. The second book is The Art of Active Allyship, and the third book, which is coming out soon in November, that’s Leading Through Bias. And I’m actually in the process of thinking about writing a book that is devoted to fear, because fear is the elephant in the room that we don’t want to talk about. There’s so much fear when it comes to DEI. Those who are well represented, who have enjoyed privilege and space and power before this are suddenly now thinking about what does this mean for me? Am I going to lose my position and opportunities in the organization? I’ve worked hard to get here. What does this mean for me? Those are the questions going on in their mind, right? Those who are well represented. But there’s also, as you said, rightfully, the fear of saying and doing the wrong thing. You know, the cancel culture is out there, right? Anything I say and do is going to be an issue. I mean, when I work with leaders and especially C-suite leaders, so many of them tell me that, you know, I really want to support this, but I’m so scared to do so because even if I really think about and reflect and I come up with a good statement, there will be some group that will be unhappy in the organization. I’m never going to get it right. And so I’m going to just stay away and support it silently from behind my desk.

13:54 And unfortunately that doesn’t help us progress. On the other hand those are from underrepresented groups are also fearful right the fear there is very real in terms of addressing bias and discrimination, really looking at what does this mean for me in the organisation. How people gonna perceive me am I going to be the person who’s the troublemaker was always being too woke and always addressing issues and being the one who spoils the dynamics and isn’t fun enough. And it’s also that fear in the underrepresented of being seen as the token I’m just hired into this role because I fulfil that quota that my organisation is set. And those are very very relevant fears as well so this one both sides and both sides the fear that is there that exists is real and it feels real and we don’t address it enough we don’t talk about fear enough. But it is a topic that we really need to put on the table. And as a starting point, because this is an area of research that I’m really looking into now and sometime next year or the year after, there will be a book out on this that really unpacks this fear and provides very tangible things for us to have that courage to do something about it to overcome the fears.

15:01 Poornima But I think asking ourselves honestly where my fear lies. So when something triggers me in the diversity, equity and inclusion space, When I feel triggered by what someone has said, when I feel that it’s so woke, oh great, now I can’t even say this anymore. When those thoughts come to my mind, I think taking a step back before reacting. When we look at neuroscience, there are really two directions our brain or our mind and body take when we’re triggered by fear or triggered by something that generates fear in us. We either go down the flight or fight mode. Either we hide ourselves in a cave and say, this is not for me, this is too much, I can’t be bothered. Either way, whether we’re well represented or underrepresented, and this is too much, I can’t manage it. But on the other side, we also sometimes fight it. We immediately resist it. And we find ways to be aggressive and, or passive aggressive, even to fight back. Right. And those are the two modes we get into. But the next time the trigger comes, pause for a moment, take a step back and say, why am I feeling triggered about this? What is it that I am so fearful of? I love Marie Curie’s quote on fear. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. I don’t think we spend enough time trying to understand because we react. And so I would say, take a pause, step back, and really ask yourself the multiple questions about why you’re feeling triggered. What is it about what the person is saying, doing, the organization is doing, that is really affecting you so deeply? And ask yourself the question, what am I afraid of?

16:38 Sue That’s a great way to do it. If we take this subject and add in a different perspective, allyship. Now, I’m not always even sure what that word means, so I’m going to be interested to get your take on it, Poornima. I’m just thinking of a scenario where one might be in a meeting and observe a behaviour, a part of the conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable. So you’re triggered and you’re not sure at that moment what to do about it, whether you should say something. I’m wondering, is that the type of moment where this allyship idea comes into play? Help us to understand a little bit more about what this word means and how does it show up and what can we do to be a better ally?

17:16 Poornima  So allyship is a relatively new word for most of us, right? And it only became word of the year in the year 2021. So it’s just two years ago. So we can all be forgiven for being skeptical about what this word means. It also is a word that doesn’t translate well across countries and languages it’s not well understood. You know when you’re sitting in a part of the world where english is the dominant language that is spoken and the language of communication, then it might be a word that you might have come across. But in most other languages it doesn’t exist so when I work with global companies and clients translating the word allyship into for example French or where I’m sitting here in Denmark into Danish actually requires us to have multiple sentences to describe what it actually means. Because for example, in French, I think the closest word, and I could be mistaken about this, but I think the closest word to allyship is accomplice or the word for accomplice. And that’s not quite it either. It’s those nuances. And in Danish, it doesn’t exist. And even in Hindi, for example, you can’t find a one-to-one translation to allyship. So I think we should use the word allyship because not a word that we can translate. So let’s introduce a new word to our vocabulary list, but then define it. I think that’s a better way to go.

18:33 So this is the way I choose to define allyship. Allyship is a lifelong process of building supporting relationships with people who are from underrepresented, marginalized, discriminated groups. And the purpose of allyship is to nurture inclusion and to lift others. When we think about allyship, allyship is a verb. And whenever we have a verb, that means we’ve got a range of behaviours. So the way I see it in my research and the models that I have around this is that we have people who are in denial, who fundamentally believe that diversity, equity, inclusion is not necessary. We work better when we’re homogeneous. Everything has been going fine up till this point in time. We all get along with each other. We enjoy the same food. We speak the same language. We go to the same sporting activities. We’re all from the same educational institution. Fabulous. We all get along. We speak the same overall language in so many different aspects of who we are. And this works for me. And they’re in denial, right? Then there’s the vast majority of us who are passive allies. We might believe in DEI. We might know that it’s the right thing to do. but we don’t actually know what to do. And this is where fear comes in, what we talked about earlier as well. So we’re scared. We know it’s the right thing to do, but we don’t really know what to say and do that would be appropriate.

19: 48 Poornima The question is, how do we move ourselves from passive to active? And the rationale there for why we need to move ourselves from passive to active is that in being bystanders, we continue to allow bias and discrimination to exist. And that’s not good enough anymore. That’s how it’s been up till this point in time. So we need to move ourselves somehow from being passive to being active. So when I talk about the concept of allyship, I talk about active allyship. The title of my second book is The Art of Active Allyship. Because allyship on its own can come across as being more passive in nature. That yes, I believe in it, I’m supporting, you have my thoughts, and I do mean well, and I want the world to be inclusive, but I’m actually not going to do anything about it because I’m scared, I don’t know what to do. And that’s not enough.

20: 36 When I talk about allyship, I am talking about active allyship. I intentionally use the word active in front of it. Now, of course, there are many synonyms that people can use with regards to allyship, and it’s about choosing a word that best resonates. For me, in many ways, it feels nicer. It’s got a nice tone to it and ring to it. Accomplice somehow in my mind at least it feels like you’re committing a crime. I like the word allyship, and I understand it has military connotations to it, but if we take it from this perspective and choose to define it in the DEI space as this, as being active, then this is where we want to be. And that active allyship involves us engaging in frequent and consistent behaviors. Not the once in a way attending something, going for the pride parade or international women’s day event. It’s everything we do in between these events that matters. So that’s what I would say it is. And it is about progress and not perfection.

20: 38 I think we live in a world that’s far too focused on perfection, on defining myself as an ally. Quite frankly, you can’t call yourself an ally. No one can. It’s about the groups that you are seeking to lift. They can give you the title of allyship, of being an ally, but we can’t call ourselves an ally. And so we live in this world of putting a title on us and being perfect, but I’d like for us to move away from that and say that for the most of us, we start off with being an active ally to people we are most comfortable being around. They’re slightly different from us. One thing might be different, it might be their gender identity, or it might be sexual orientation, it might be age, and we start with somewhere we’re comfortable. Now it’s about progress. So start there, absolutely fine. Build your skills with active allyship, and then move on to being an active ally to that group, but also to other groups. Expand, right?

So it’s about progress and not perfection. And we sometimes forget this. We think, ah, I’m going to pick one group, I’m going to be an active ally there, and my work is done as a leader. But that’s not it. That’s not enough. It’s about continuously being engaged in active allyship. And it’s a lifelong process. It never stops. Because there’s, unfortunately in our lifetimes, there will still be inequity out there. We’re not running away from this. You know, I’d love to be in a world where my job becomes redundant, but that’s not the world we live in. So there’s plenty for us to do. So that’s how I see allyship and particularly active allyship. And hopefully that helps inspire people to want to engage and use the vocabulary at least to start using the word allyship and active allyship in particular.

23:06 Sue I think you’ve made it sound easier to engage in this journey, this lifelong learning journey. Which then leads me to be curious, Poornima, is how do you apply it yourself? How do you put your words into action?

23:19 Poornima  I can give you a very concrete example. When I moved to Copenhagen eight years ago, coming from Singapore, that’s home for me, I didn’t know anyone who was openly part of the LGBTQ+ community. Historically, when you look at the ex-British colonies with 377A, which is the act that criminalized homosexuality, in most of these former colonies, it’s only in the last three to four years that 377A has been repealed. And so homosexuality, being part of the LGBTQ+ community, is not something that people feel comfortable talking about. And when we think about the data, about 25% of people are actually part of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, there must have been people around me, amongst friends and colleagues. who were part of the LGBTQ+ community, but didn’t feel comfortable being out. And I didn’t know, because it’s just not something that is talked about. Everyone’s scared, right? And moving here, that was the work that needed to be done for myself to unpack my own biases, to understand my social conditioning, to do my homework and be curious about why do I hold these biases? Why have I never met someone or known someone up till this point in my life. I mean, I was in my thirties and I had not known someone well enough who was part of the LGBTQ+ community. I mean, it’s bizarre today where I am sitting in Denmark to say this, but I think that’s what I needed to sit with.

24: 54 And it took me time and I’ve made mistakes, many mistakes, saying the wrong thing, using the wrong pronouns, addressing someone by their former name when they were transitioning, I’ve made all of those mistakes, but today I’m so grateful for all the people who have been patient with me, who have taught me, who have felt comfortable to correct me and it’s so amazing today that I have close friends, close colleagues, collaborators who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, who are featured in my books and who I love working with. I love engaging with them and it’s such a joy and treat to have them as part of my life. I am so much more enriched as a human being today than I was eight years ago. I have so much more love for people who are different from me, who choose to have a different family constellation from me. I can share this just last night. My husband and I were out for a date night. Both our kids are away on a school trip, which is the first time since having children that that has happened. So we decided to take the opportunity to go out for dinner. And in the table behind us, there was a gay couple with their adopted child. Eight years ago, that would have been odd for me. I would not have been able to grasp that. I would have found that strange and uncomfortable. Today, when I saw them, I commented to my husband, I said, how beautiful is that? And that it is part of society as it should be. So this is a real, for me, this particular aspect, there are others, of course, but for me, this is an aspect that I feel has been a real growth. And it’s a continuous growth. This never stops.

26:34 Poornima I continue to make mistakes. I continue to learn from them. And that’s the way I choose to practice the work that I do and what I write. So everything I write is really comes from this place of having tested it on myself first, along with many other people that I obviously work with and leaders that I train and employees that I train and people that I speak to in keynotes. But ultimately I have to test it on myself. If it doesn’t pass the Poornima test, then it doesn’t get in a book.

27:04 Sue Well, that sounds like it’s an important benchmark. Fast forward in your own career journey and in your life, what do you hope that your long-term impact is on society?

27:13 Poornima  I hope I’m out of a job. I don’t want to work in this area if there’s no necessity for it, right? I’d love for a world that is truly inclusive. I’d love for a world where everyone is respected, everyone’s valued, everyone has a role to play. And so my dream in my life is that. And I don’t know how many people can actually say that they want to be out of a job, that they want to be made redundant. But I say it with conviction. I really do believe that I would love to be in that position. But I’m also a realistic optimist. And I know that that’s not the world we live in.

So for the time being, with all the inequity and inequality that exists in the world, I’d really love for people to really address that fear. You know, it is what’s holding us back. It is the elephant in the room we’re not talking about. and engage with your own fears. Take that time to deeply introspect and see why we’re feeling so triggered about it. What is, where does this come from? Where does all this dismissing of woke ideology, where does all of this come from? Where is this fear? What does this fear look like? And for me, if more people were thinking about this and reflecting on this, I think we would actually make a lot more progress. So that’s the world I would love to live in with people questioning. I like to think that everyone thinks about this all the time, right? Because I’m thinking about this all the time. It’s part of my work and it’s not a nine to five job, right? Every Netflix program you put on talks about some aspect of discrimination. It’s really hard to find content today when it’s not there. Podcasts are everywhere, content everywhere, the news is everywhere, dinner table conversations around that. So for DEI practitioners, it’s 24-7. It’s our very existence. It’s also our identities very often. If you come from a underrepresented group, it is your very existence and how you experience life. So I’d like to think that more people were thinking about it, but I know that people aren’t. So my call to action for everybody who is listening out there is please introspect. Think about it. Ask yourselves questions about why you fear this topic and why you aren’t doing enough, why you’re not taking actions, why you’re not stepping up to be the active ally. And if you can’t find a solid answer for why not, then the answer is step up. Do something.

29:30 Sue Well, that’s a wonderful way to end our conversation today, Poornima. And if our listener does want to find out more about you and your books and the work that you’re doing, how might they do that?

29:39 Poornima  Yeah, a couple of ways. I’m most active on LinkedIn. That’s probably the best way. So please do follow me, connect with me. If you’ve listened to this podcast, tell me what resonated with you. That would be a really nice thing for me to hear as well. You can also go to talented.dk, T-A-L-E-N-T-E-D.dk. That’s my website. And you can find out more about the work I do, where to order my books from, the books that I’ve written as well, and a bit more about me. So those are two main ways that you can learn more about the work that I do.

30:08 Sue It’s been a lovely conversation today. What I’ve taken away from it is your ability to give us safe entry into this subject, make it accessible, and I’m sure that it will inspire listeners to follow up and do some of that introspection that you’ve talked about. Thank you so much, Sue. Well, thanks to Purnima for her insights on active allyship and being a more inclusive leader. To help you to turn this inspiration into action, we’ve added in a reflection section on our website with five questions that you can reflect upon from what you’ve heard today. And if you want to keep connected with us, you can find us on all the social media platforms. Just search for Access to Inspiration. Next week, we have another guest from the world of academia, Paolo Savaget, who is an associate professor at Oxford University, and he will be discussing his research on finding innovative solutions to solve some of the world’s sustainability challenges. I hope you can join us then.

Producer: Sue Stockdale

Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra