Leading With Empathy & Allyship Show

Understanding Privilege & Using It To Create Change With Karen Catlin

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 Karen Catlin, a White woman with short hair and blue top.

In this episode Melinda Briana Epler, Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst and Karen Catlin, CEO of Karen Catlin Consulting and author of Better Allies, discuss how we can each build empathy and create positive change for others by first understanding our own privilege.

Additional Resources 

This episode is sponsored by AppDynamics, builders of the world’s only full-stack Business Observability platform. Join their team to help businesses thrive by turning performance into profit. Learn more at www.appdynamics.com/company/careers

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

[Image description: Leading With Empathy & Allyship promo with Change Catalyst logo, photos of Melinda Briana Epler, a White woman with long red hair, and Karen Catlin, a White woman with short hair, and text reading “Episode 36: Understanding Privilege & Using It To Create Change”]

#AllyshipPodcast #ChangeCatalyst #Empathy #Allyship #Diversity #Equity #Inclusion #WomensHistoryMonth #Privilege #InclusiveWorkplace



  • “When I first started understanding privilege…. I went to an Ivy League school. And so I realized that’s a source of privilege for myself. But when people were pointing that out – like you have new computer science degree from an Ivy League school – you can go into that meeting with so much confidence that people will listen to you…. I get benefits.”
  • “Privilege is just a set of unearned benefits we get because we are part of some social groups…. I think that people are uncomfortable with it because we tend to get a little defensive when we hear our privilege pointed out.” 
  • “When we understand our privilege, it allows us to be empathetic, which is a part of allyship… and then to take action in support of people who don’t have all of the privileges we have. That’s really why it is so important to understand this. Step one in the allyship journey is to understand the privilege.”


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Guest Speaker
Karen Catlin, a White woman with short hair and blue top

Karen Catlin
CEO of Karen Catlin Consulting,  Author of “Better Allies”

After spending 25 years building software products and serving as a vice president of engineering at Macromedia and Adobe, Karen Catlin witnessed a sharp decline in the number of women working in tech. Frustrated but galvanized, she knew it was time to switch gears.

Today, Karen is a leadership coach and a highly acclaimed author and speaker on inclusive workplaces. She is the author of three books:  “”Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces,”” “”The Better Allies™ Approach to Hiring,” and “”Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking.””


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.


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.

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.

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.

Virtual Training, Consulting & Coaching Solutions
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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