Leading With Empathy & Allyship Show

Being A Great Ally For Trans And Gender Nonconforming Colleagues with Sloan Leo, Max Masure, and Madelena Mak

Join Change Catalyst Founder & CEO Melinda Briana Epler (she/her) with Sloan Leo (they/them), Max Masure (they/them) and Madelena Mak (she/her) to discuss Being a Great Ally for Trans and Gender Nonconforming Colleagues.

Learn more about Sloan’s work at sloanleo.com/ and thevaidgroup.com/
Learn more about Max’s work at www.maxmasure.com/
Learn more about Madelena’s work at startupbus.com/



Join Change Catalyst Founder & CEO Melinda Briana Epler (she/her) with Sloan Leo (they/them), Max Masure (they/them) and Madelena Mak (she/her) to discuss Being a Great Ally for Trans and Gender Nonconforming Colleagues.


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Guest Speakers
Sloan Leo

Sloan Leo
Founder & CEO at FLOX Studio Inc.

Sloan Leo (they/them) has over 15 years of experience leading and managing social impact staff & volunteer teams. Leo’s early career was as a relationship management strategist working within the non-profit sector where they raised $20M for a wide range of organizations. Including the world’s only international LGBTQ+ human rights foundation, direct service organizations focused on housing for formerly incarcerated individuals and runaway and homeless youth, and Dream Corps, a social justice impact accelerator founded by Van Jones. They then went on to specialize in non-profit board engagement and operations, as the Director of Board Relations for the Environmental Defense Fund, where they managed the boards of EDF, EDFAction, EDF Europe and EDF China. Subsequently joining the Trust for Public Land as the Chief of Staff, where they facilitated the development of the 2020-2025 strategic plan, “The Power of Land For People”.

In their consulting practice, Sloan has worked with, The Wikimedia Foundation, The Ms. Foundation , The New York Women’s Foundation and The Vaid Group to advance equitable, durable and inclusive approaches to strategy and systems design with boards of directors, executive teams and grantee/fellow cohorts. As a facilitator and strategist, their practice is rooted in community facilitation methodologies informed by their experiences with groups ranging from The Audre Lorde Project to Resource Generation.

In January 2020 they were appointed as inaugural Designer-in-Residence at the School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation Master’s program. Currently they are on faculty at NYU Wagner’s Graduate School of Public Service, The School of Visual Arts (SVA) Design for Social Innovation Master’s Program, and SVA’s Products of Design Program. Their writing has been featured in The Journal of Governmental Finance and Public Policy, The Stanford Social Innovation Review and The European Business Review.

As a mixed media artist they were awarded a September 2020 Queer.Archive.Work residency, where they produced QUEERBOOK, a small batch RISO printed, crowd sourced anthology creatively archiving stories of queer community building in era of COVID19 and America’s great reckoning and they have a new mixed-media installation exhibition, “A Watermelon For Leo” on view at Pen & Brush Gallery (NY, NY).

Formerly the Board of Directors, Governance Chair for The Ms. Foundation For Women, Sloan serves on the board of the Institute for Afrofuturist Ecology. And is a weekly Forbes contributor.

Max Masure
Senior Product Designer and Inclusion Consultant

Max Masure (they/them) is a UX Researcher, Senior Product Designer and Inclusion Consultant.They are committed to impacting the healthcare industry (Talkspace, Octave, Monument) as well as the civic tech field (Office of Innovation of NJ, Higher Ground Labs).They exclusively collaborate on people-centered projects with inclusive companies where they have an impact on the leadership decisions and where ethical design is part of the core values.They are openly queer and trans which has to be an asset valued by the team they join, in companies that embrace a justice-focused mission rooted in social change, ideally related to trans rights and liberation.They are also the co-founder of the trans inclusion company Argo Collective.

Madelena Mak
Senior Director at StartupBus

Madelena is a user experience designer and her work has been featured on the StartUp Podcast, Diversity In Action magazine, Engadget, and more. She is currently the senior director at StartupBus, an international entrepreneurship boot camp and startup competition – on wheels – aimed at fostering the next generation of leaders in tech, with an alumni network founding $2.5b worth of companies in the past ten years.As a transgender person, she is an advocate for the community, by speaking and organizing for trans visibility as a programming board member at StartOut New York.


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.

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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