Recalculating: Course Correcting Allyship to Realign Intent and Impact
Cat Russell, MPA is the Human Resources Liaison for Strategic Programming and Initiatives at Ohio University where she gets to rope amazing collaborators into big, nerdy, awesome projects over coffee. Specifically, Cat’s professional passion lies in the intersection of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion with recruitment and engagement of faculty and staff. Her work often focuses on representative community building, active allyship, inclusive policy, and combatting bias in the workplace.
Not one to take herself too seriously, when asked the accomplishment she is most proud of, Cat replied, “Listen, I’ve had my fair share of personal and professional accomplishments and each is great in their own right, but I did win ‘most likely to bake you a cake while answering your excel questions’ once and I’m not sure anything has so accurately captured my personality since.” Cat is a self-proclaimed data nerd and perfectionist who loves research, gets overly-enthusiastic for new projects, spends a great deal of time recoiling at the thought of failure, and regularly course corrects with intentionality in mind. A hater for genuine rest and relaxation, Cat fills her spare time thinking up big new projects, parenting an energetic kiddo, Joey, serving on a few boards, mentoring phenomenal women through various programs, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee with her love, Dani.
As Cat notes, 2020 saw a record surge of allyship with the best of intentions. As new allies joined the fight for justice, equity, and inclusion, there was ample excitement for learning and an abundance of opportunities for amplification, allyship, and action. As headlines faded, and more importantly, as folks’ energy and skill levels were challenged by never-ending real-world scenarios (and countless social media “trolls”), many relinquished the driver’s seat, opting for a passive passenger approach to allyship – some from exhaustion, some from fear of misstepping, and some for not knowing the path forward. Cat’s workshop is designed to help participants course correct by remapping the route from awareness to action: reinvigorating a passion for allyship and accompliceship, realigning intent with impact, and action planning for right and (and some inevitably wrong) future turns.