In this episode of Voices of Energy, Katie Mehnert leads a discussion on equitable leadership and allyship with guest, Shantera Chatman. Shantera is a transformation consultant and strategist who specializes in transforming organizations and driving accountability through curated experiences that bridge the gap between advocacy, support and coexistence. She is the creator of the Transformative Ally Framework and President of PowHer Consulting. She is also an ALLY Academy Coach, offering one on one and group group coaching sessions.
The meaning of effective allyship (03:27)
The conversation begins with Katie asking Shantera how people should go about engaging in allyship conversations. Shantera explains the first step is to build trusting relationships with your friends and colleagues. She also stresses the importance of extending yourself grace, explaining you will not know all the answers and may not know what to say. In the chat, listeners provide definitions for allyship. Touching on the themes of empathy, listening, engaging, and having others’ backs. To help organizations implement plans for diversity and inclusion, Shantera has a GROW plan: G – for your goals, R – for the reality of the situation, O – for your options, W, what you’re willing to do.
Sharing experiences to improve culture (15:22)
Katie moves into the topic of sharing experiences and how important a practice that is to growing culture and developing an understanding of your friends and colleages. Shantera shares a story of a time in the early 2000’s when she was first married and her tires were slashed at work. She was working in the evening in a highly secure area and razor blades were used to cut up her tires intentionally. At her office the next day, she was told the men she worked with thought she was being “too uppity,” and needed to be put in her place.
Driving her nice car to work was threatening to them, and they decided she needed a new way to get to work. Katie explains the first time she heard this story was in a post Shantera made in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, and it shocked her. It’s important to take in these stories, listen and learn the stories black people have to share. Shantera says she went back to work each day after with a brave face, but inside she was whimpering which many people in the black community have to do often.
Equity in the future of energy (35:09)
Energy built our economy. Katie explains her belief that diversity and inclusion progress is the key to the next phase of rebuilding our economy with cleaner energy. These conversations are hard, but necessary for growth. Hearing from others’ experiences and absorbing that information
changes the culture of organization one person at a time. Shantera adds that the words we use to describe our culture matter, if they’re not including everyone they need to be updated. It’s these conversations, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable they may be is key.