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INCLUSION ON PURPOSE, BOOK REVIEW (and its application inside the world of events)

By: Julie Danaylov, CSEP, RVP | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Feb 13, 2023

When mic drops = the entire book…You know you have something special in your hands.

Book CoverAs a white cisgender female this book was nothing short of EXACTLY the learning progression I need/ the world needs/ and EVERY LEADER IN EVERY ORGANIZATION needs to develop intentional inclusion inside the culture of work.

Enter from stage left; Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work which amplifies the experiences of women of colour and creates a comprehensive blueprint for how to initiate, create & sustain meaningful and lasting change.

Author Ruchika Tulshyan encourages us to lead our DEI initiatives with empathy first, and shares dozens of stories that are heart wrenching to read. This framing allowed me to see how people of colour, my sisters, have suffered immeasurably - and how I have been complicit and benefit from the systems of oppression as part of the dominant culture.

Humbling? VERY.

Obvious? Yes and no! The depth in the examples shared surprised even me (and I consider myself to be highly empathetic/ thoughtful human!) The truth is, there are SO MANY blind spots / areas I don’t even know I don’t know BECAUSE I have layers of privilege which others simply do not.

Distressing? Absolutely, (but compared to the sustained and systemic suffering of others? No contest!)

Necessary learning? YOU BET!

Here was the brilliant framing Tulshyan uses to provide a constructive lens to acknowledging privilege in a way that can open space for learning and growing:

“The problem isn’t men, it’s patriarchy.

The problem isn’t white people, it’s white supremacy.

The problem isn’t straight people, it’s homophobia.

Recognize systems of oppression before letting individual defensiveness stop you from dismantling them.”

Acknowledgement of our privilege (in all forms) is an important first step to inclusion progression but the follow-through grounded in the building blocks of wholistic intentionality are what support inclusive work culture for the long term.

How these concepts can be applied in our events, meetings, and gatherings of all kinds are numerous and opportunities are likely “hiding in plain sight!”

Here is a comprehensive checklist extrapolated from the book, as Tulshyan puts it, to audit opportunities, make room, and get out of the way: In other words, “shine the light.”

🔲     Are there a diversity of people represented in this meeting? Are there

women of colour represented?

🔲     Who is presenting at or leading this meeting? Could a woman of colour

lead or present?

🔲     Does this high visibility project have at least one woman of colour as part

of it?

🔲     Do women of colour repeatedly get interrupted or have their ideas get

repeated by men who get the credit. How can I intervene?

🔲     What proportion of speakers on this panel or conference are women of

colour? Can it be higher?

🔲     Are people getting paid (financially or otherwise) to take on extra work? 

🔲     Are women of colour being equally compensated?

🔲     Am I sponsoring any women of colour professionally?

🔲     Who do I personally consider role models of leadership? Is there diversity

in that – and are women of colour represented in models of leadership?

🔲     Is the “office housework” being distributed equitably? If not, how could it


🔲     If I am involved in hiring or promotion decisions, when have I last

advocated for women of colour?

Further, there were so many thoughtful checklists in addition to the one above and to continue this journey of learning I HIGHLY recommend picking up your copy of this book for so much more.

Get yours here:

Afterward: I struggled immensely in writing this piece because it inherently centers myself as the author (which, as a show businessperson, feels a little like stealing the microphone out of VERY capable hands). The intent is to AMPLIFY Ruchika Tulshyan’s brilliant work and to encourage other white cisgender women (and men) to pick up this book and discover the gems of learning for themselves (which are numerous and abundant!).

About the Author:

Julie Danaylov, CSEP, RVP
MPI Toronto DEI Committee Volunteer,
Co-Founder, Cirque Revolution



Julie Danaylov, CSEP, RVP | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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