Leading With Empathy & Allyship Show

Designing For Intersectional Inclusion With Frieda McAlear

Leading With Empathy & Allyship promo with the Change Catalyst logo and photos of host Melinda Briana Epler, a White woman with red hair and glasses, and Frieda McAlear, an Indigenous woman with brown hair, glasses, and dangling earrings.

In this episode, Melinda Briana Epler, Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, and Frieda McAlear, Senior Research Associate at the Kapor Center, talk about “Designing For Intersectional Inclusion.” Frieda described what we can do to redress the lack of Native American representation in Computer Science while applying an intersectional lens. She’ll also share principles we can use in our workplaces and communities to improve inclusion.

Additional Resources

Programs Supporting Native American & Indigenous People in Tech

[Image description: promo for Leading With Empathy & Allyship with Change Catalyst logo, photo of Frieda McAlear, a woman who is smiling with short hair, with text reading “Designing For Intersectional Inclusion”]

The live show is made accessible thanks to Interpreter-Now and White Coat Captioning.

#AllyshipPodcast #ChangeCatalyst #Empathy #Allyship #Diversity #Equity #Inclusion #WomensHistoryMonth #Intersectionality #NativeAmerican #Indigenous



  • “The land acknowledgment process can begin a transformative process for people to be able to, first of all, acknowledge the histories that have happened on these territories. These histories, as I said, involve colonization and genocide of Native and Indigenous people here, but they also involve human trafficking and the bringing of other Indigenous people here. And imperialism has had people coming for use of resources here. There are multiple ways imperialism has created this. Start with the people’s land you are on is a way to ground the process of learning about and the erasure of Indigenous people in the world.”
  • “I would start to consider institutionalizing a land acknowledgment as the tip of the iceberg. The land acknowledgment, with the accountable relationships – so being able to provide the tribes whose territories you are working or living on with some means to survive is a huge part of what these accountable relationships, what the transformation could look like in this sector. It says a lot in terms of welcoming native people into an organization or into a company when there is that practice already established. Anyone can do a land acknowledgment. You don’t have to be native. You don’t have to speak a native language in order to do a land acknowledgment. We have to pay respect to the people whose lands you are on and support them in some way. 
  • “There’s 574+ federally recognized tribes in the US. Like I said, we are less than 2% of the population. Each of those tribes having their own populations, their own language, history, cultures, cosmologies, and governance, we knew we would have to tailor curriculum to that context and tribes and partner communities. We needed to adapt the curriculum to include goals for sovereignty and the maturation of land in order to make it significant to our children…. That’s what culturally relevant means.”
  • “The goal of culturally relevant programming is to reduce the gap between the lived experience and the home experience of children of color in order to spark their interest in computer science, and help them to remember and use the concepts in that area. Eventually the goal is these children of color will be able to identify with being successful in that subject area.” 


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Guest Speaker
Frieda McAlear, an Indigenous woman with brown hair, glasses, and dangling earrings.

Frieda McAlear
Senior Research Associate at the Kapor Center

Frieda McAlear is the Senior Research Associate, where she brings her skills as a social science researcher and her passion for working with and for marginalized and underrepresented communities, at the Kapor Center. She has nearly a decade of experience managing projects, developing evaluation and research methodology and building nonprofit technology capacity with socially progressive organizations in the Bay Area, Europe and Southern Africa.


Transcript coming soon.

About the Host

Host: Melinda Briana Epler

Melinda Briana Epler has over 25 years of experience developing business innovation and inclusion strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and global NGOs.

As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda currently works with the tech industry to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, tech hubs, and governments around the world. She co-leads a series of global solutions-focused conferences called Tech Inclusion, where she has partnered with over 450 tech companies and community organizations and hosted 43 solutions-focused diversity and inclusion events around the world.

Previously, Melinda was a Marketing and Culture Executive and award-winning documentary filmmaker – her film and television work includes projects that exposed the AIDS crisis in South Africa, explored women’s rights in Turkey, and prepared communities for the effects of climate change. She has worked on several television shows, including NBC’s The West Wing.

Melinda is a TED speaker. She speaks, mentors and writes about diversity and inclusion in tech, allyship, social entrepreneurship, underrepresented entrepreneurs and investing. She has spoken on hundreds of stages around the world, including SXSW, Grace Hopper, Wisdom 2.0, the World Bank, Obama White House, Clinton Foundation, Black Enterprise, Google, Indeed, Capital One and McKinsey.

In The Press

Watch Melinda’s TED Talk

Speaking Engagements

Change Catalyst Co-Founder Melinda Briana Epler has spoken across the globe in hundreds of venues and virtual events. Empathy, Allyship, Advocacy, Microaggressions, Inclusive Leadership, and Building Inclusive Teams are just some of the topics Melinda has spoken on. Let us know about your next speaking engagement needs! Melinda has also spoken on how to build organizational capacity to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as how to lead behavior change or how to build allies and advocates.


This show has given me clear opportunities to learn in the midst of 2020’s numerous social and personal challenges, including engaging remote content. I’ve learned new terms, heard new voices, diversified my interests and internalized personal narratives that have inspired me to get more active.

The show shaped my scope of reasoning on the dynamics in the corporate world, brand building, harmony across board with team mates. Your series has helped me feel less alone and less daunted by the challenges I face as a leader at a company that is used to moving fast with decisions and making swift progress across the board. I so earnestly want to grow and deepen my perspective when it comes to diversity and allyship; it’s not always clear how to do it. This series has felt like a path I can follow and revisit and draw strength and insight from. Thank you.

I watched many of your live shows in 2020, and I learned something from every discussion. They were inspiring on many levels. Early on during the pandemic (especially), the show also provided me with a sense of community that I was sorely needing. Thank you.

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If you’re looking for a way for remote teams to continue their learning and professional development, we’re now offering virtual allyship, inclusion and leadership trainings. We’ve also continued our consulting practice virtually. AND we now offer hourly coaching. Let us know if you’re interested in learning more!
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