Becoming a better ally for inclusion

There are many occasions on which we are called upon to be an ally, and it is a term increasingly prevalent in conversations around diversity and inclusion.

Person wearing black suit with a navy background

Brad Webb, CEO of Castle Personnel

In 2021, ‘ally’ was named the word of the year by It also entered the Oxford English Dictionary where it is defined as ‘the state or condition of being a person who supports the rights of a minority or marginalised group without being a member of it’.

At Castle, we are dedicated to fostering inclusivity by acknowledging and celebrating the diverse perspectives and qualities of each individual. I regard myself as a reasonably good ally when it comes to gender, racism and ableism, and I have been blessed to have an amazing group of allies who hold firm against homophobia. I recently started to think more deeply about what true allyship looks like.

According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), allyship should be a verb, an ongoing requirement to actually do something ‘to support, amplify, and advocate with others’. But where does doing something start?

Start with privilege

Understanding your own privilege is crucial. Privilege refers to inherent advantages based on social identity. By recognising our own privilege, we can create space and opportunities for the people we wish to be an ally for. The Line offers excellent resources on understanding power and privilege.

Educate yourself

Start by exploring available resources before reaching out to the people you wish to be an ally for. While it’s important to engage these people, it’s also important to remember that it’s not their responsibility to educate you. In Australia, we have relatively easy access to great resources that help us understand different perspectives. The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA), for example, provides information across various dimensions, including disability, mental health, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples, gender, race and LGBTQIA+.

Take action

Once educated, the next step is action. Hannah Diviney, an Australian disability advocate, advised in an article for the ABC, “If you want to know things about us, talk to us.” This means listening and ensuring the voices of people with disability are heard.

I also asked my colleague and friend, Andrew Vodic, CEO of Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH), what he thought about all of this. He believes being a good ally involves understanding privilege, listening, and being an agent for change. And that fundamentally, it’s about building working and trusting relationships.

Why it matters

Hannah Diviney shares that having an ally stand with her,

“[is] just like somebody takes a weight off your shoulders”.

Allyship can make a profound difference. But it needs to move beyond gestures towards genuine self-reflection, education, and relationships. Are you ready to take that step?

Brad Webb is the CEO of Hunter-based NDIS and Disability Employment Service provider, Castle Personnel. He is an advocate for region and community-based service delivery, with a focus on building the capacity of participants to contribute to the social and economic fabrics of their communities. He has worked in executive roles across the for-profit, public agency, and not-for-profit sectors.

This blog originally appeared on Castle Personnel’s website and was republished here with permission.