Leading With Empathy & Allyship Show

Engaging Leadership To Improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion With Sheree Atcheson

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 Sheree Atcheson, a Sri Lankan woman with short black hair and white jacket.

In this episode, Melinda Briana Epler, Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, speaks with Sheree Atcheson, author of Demanding More. Sheree and Melinda dive into strategies for how to effectively help leaders succeed in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), even when we may not be in a position of power ourselves.

Additional Resources

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

[Image description: promo for Leading With Empathy & Allyship with Change Catalyst logo against a white background and photos of Melinda Briana Epler, a White woman with long red hair, and Sheree Atcheson, a Sri Lankan woman with short dark hair, and white text in a red graphic reading “Engaging Leadership To Improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.”]

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  • “At the beginning when you start to move people into that majority, you will have to help them with what it means to do X, whether it is what it means to be an intersectional ally, what does it mean to be inclusive in your team, running inclusive meetings, and language…. Assume everybody knows nothing, and start from scratch and moving people into that majority space where they start to get confident, and feel comfortable, and providing them some avenues to start to take that ownership themselves.”
  • “One of the things I think people should focus in on – especially if you are in the position where you feel like you don’t have power – is coming together with a number of other employees. But also tapping into the people you know that do get it, in more senior roles than you, first. So the message you are sending is, it doesn’t just have to come from you, and that group but actually from them as well.”
  • “If we don’t connect the senior leadership and middle management piece, we don’t make any changes. We see words without action, or action without words, and neither of those things are useful by themselves.”
  • “One thing that I think is super important in the first instance of bringing anybody on this journey, is understanding the perspectives of why they have the viewpoint they have at the moment. While I may disagree with people and their viewpoints, if I don’t understand it, I can’t truly bring that people along, because I am not tailoring my communication or the initiatives or the strategy or the education that that person needs to bring them on a journey. People are not a monolith.”


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Guest Speaker
Sheree Atcheson, a Sri Lankan woman with short black hair and white jacket

Sheree Atcheson
Author of “Demanding More”

Listed as one of the UK’s Top Most Influential Women in Tech & an international multi-award winner for her services to Diversity & Inclusion in industry, Sheree (@nirushika) is the Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Peakon; Advisory Board Member, Women Who Code; Contributor, Forbes. She is the Author of “”Demanding More”” (with Kogan Page Publishing) – a book which aims to teach readers about how deliberate exclusion has been in systems and society, so we can be purposefully and deliberately inclusive moving forward. Preorder now!

Sheree is a Global Diversity & Inclusion Senior Exec (ex. Deloitte and Monzo), having worked in many regions developing tailored, data-driven DE&I strategies, with clear goals and lines of accountability to embed success and inclusion that scales.
As a passionate advocate for gaining/retaining women in the industry, in 2013, she launched & led the award-winning U.K. expansion of Women Who Code (womenwhocode.com) the world’s largest non-profit globally dedicated to women in tech, where she now sits as an Advisory Board Member.

As an industry leader, she has spoken at many global events, conferences and leadership sessions and is regularly profiled for her work, having been featured in many publications, such as Forbes, Business Insider, BBC, FastCompany, Evening Standard, HuffPost, Business Post, Marie Claire, Wired, ComputerWeekly, The Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Newsletter & many more.

The aim of her career is ensuring people are aware of the fantastic opportunities the industry has to offer & make certain that all humans are able to benefit from these & reach their full career potential.

Pronouns : she/her


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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