Here's a sample mission statement:
The <YOUR SCHOOL> allyship program equips colleagues to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion through education, skill-building, and action.
If you're specifically focusing on male allyship, you could try this:
The <YOUR SCHOOL> male allyship program equips men to advocate for gender equity through education, skill-building, and action.
Theory of Change
A theory of change (TOC) helps you connect what you're doing to what you hope to accomplish. You can tailor this below for specific focuses (such as male or white allyship). Here's a TOC to help guide you:
- We focus on receptive colleagues to enhance their willingness and ability to be better allies. Many folks want to learn more, get involved, and take action, but they don't know how
- We provide educational materials, opportunities to listen to others' experiences, methods of self reflection, suggestions on behavior changes, and time to practice
- As folks become more confident and dedicated, they will naturally and positively affect the overall workplace. They will slowly but surely raise awareness of others on their teams
- Simultaneously they will develop inclusive leadership skills that will allow them to continue their progress and make their future workplace cultures more inclusive.
Deciding your target audience
Start off by targeting those people who are already most receptive. Just because someone is generally on board with diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) generally does not mean they would not benefit greatly from more self-reflection, systemic analysis, historical reading, examples of allyship behavior, and skill building practice.
Initiative Leads and Accountability
Put two people in charge of the allyship initiative – one from the underrepresented group, and the other from the overrepresented group (e.g. a woman of color and a white man). Create an allyship executive committee position (i.e. a VP position on the Women in Business board) and appoint one of the two initiative leads. To hold the allyship group accountable, make sure that all events and programming get run by the executive committee (in large sweeps, not every detail) .
Program and Event Leads
For each distinct program, have two program leads (from an under- and over-represented group). The two initiative leads will support the program leads. The program leads will ensure their area of responsibility happens. For example, you'd have a lead for each of the different events and programs with blue headings in the next section. Because people are overworked and overwhelmed, providing a distinct, doable, and meaningful opportunity for them to help matters a lot.
Events and programming
You don't want to take on too much too soon, but you also want to have enough that your program has life to it. Below are the events and programs I recommend you start with.
Short weekly email - sign up with MBA Allies
Get everyone in your school signed up for the MBA Allies weekly email. It's short and impactful. A lot of content can be taught through 50-100 emails spread out over the 18-months at business school. You can forward this link to signup: https://mbaallies.com/newsletter and you can sign yourself up with this button below
Allyship commitments - sign up with MBA Allies
Signing on to these commitments will be what constitutes an official member. Allyship members choose commitments for themselves from a list of options. Each month, they're reminded of the commitments they selected via monthly emails, and are asked to evaluate themselves on how they've done.
MBA Allies can help you manage the logistics by having your members use our commitment form https://tinyurl.com/allyshipcontract. We'll send you all the names and emails of anybody who signs up under your school name. We can also work with you to create a unique version for your school
Allyship website - sign up with MBA Allies
Put up a simple website for the allyship club to provide information on who you are, what you do, the mission statement, events, and other educational resources.
We can help you set up a website – content creation, design, subscription links, maintenance, and more. We'll host you as a subdomain of this website (example: haas.mbaallies.com or gsb.mbaallies.com). Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Print materials - sign up with MBA Allies
Have ready-to-go print materials to hand about (1) allyship group info and (2) allyship best practices. You can give these out at orientation week, club tabling, and any allyship-themed event. Educational materials are great to have at the end of your allyship events so that people who are inspired to learn more can easily do so.
MBA Allies has ready-to-go informational materials and templates that we can tailor to your specific school and needs. Email email@example.com
Do a pared-down version of the town-hall brainstorm. Gather leadership from the Partner Group and allyship group leadership and do this event to create a starting point for what the Partner Group is looking for. It's hard to simply put people on the spot and tell them to think of allyship requests, so use our sheet to get you started.
Small group conversations event
Coordinate small groups to discuss gender dynamics, current events, and hot topics. This is a great kick-off event that participants enjoy and that isn't too difficult to organize.
Recruiting and sign-ups
Recruit for (1) membership/allyship-commitments and (2) newsletter signups. To start off recruiting, do it one-on-one. Talk to folks after class, send individual texts to people, strike up a conversation about it in the hallways. Tell them a little about the allyship club and ask if they'd want to (1) become a member and/or (2) join the mailing list. Do this organically and personally. You can follow this individualized contact with mass emails later.
Do some simple evaluations mid-way through the term on each of your programs to get feedback on how they could be better.