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Ijeoma Oluo Taught Me a Masterclass on How To Amplify Women of Color

The Establishment was a women-funded-and-run media startup where I worked in 2015. In many ways, The Establishment was well ahead of its time–we published on trans, sex worker and reproductive rights at a time when most mainstream media were still writing about why women needed to lean in. (I know, some still do.)

The startup–like 90% of startups–failed, but through it, I got to work with Ijeoma Oluo, one of the most inspiring and courageous leaders on this planet.

Ijeoma’s deep understanding of, and ability to explain intersectionality and how race and racism impact our professional lives opened my eyes in a profound way. I’m now deeply embarrassed to look back on how naive I was to ever talk about gender equality in the workplace without centering race.

In the seven years since we first spoke to each other, Ijeoma’s star has shone brighter than ever and I’m beyond proud (and glad) that more of the world gets to experience her brilliance. Her ability to speak hard truths is unparalleled. Go buy her books, (NYT-bestsellers) So You Want To Talk About Race and Mediocre. You’ll be a changed person.

It’s not an overstatement to say that I would not have written my book, Inclusion on Purpose if my path didn’t cross Ijeoma’s–if I didn’t get to see her live her values not only on public stages, but in editorial meetings for The Establishment, where she advocated tirelessly to publish women of color, queer, disabled, trans writers.

She modeled this not only when she came out to a beautiful resort to speak about racism and neocolonialism to a group of my (mostly white) clients at a private retreat, but in how she drove back 3 hours at the crack of dawn to take her elderly neighbor to the doctor, rather than enjoy the pool, spa and free breakfast.

That’s the Ijeoma Oluo I’ve been lucky to know, and I was incredibly honored that she wrote the foreword to Inclusion on Purpose.

I’m also delighted that Ijeoma is spending the evening of March 1 at Town Hall with me to launch my book.

The event is in-person and virtual, and I would be thrilled to have you join me and Ijeoma for our conversation. Ijeoma’s time is so valuable and yet, she uses every ounce of it to amplify other women of color. I’ve seen her stand for hours after events, talking to every individual who comes up to her. May we all learn from not only her brilliant words, but how she lives them in every way.

Inclusion on Purpose is on shelves now. Thank you so much for being part of this experience with me!

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