Just One Q with Dr. Melissa Horne Educational Podcast with Guest Colleen James

Moving Away From Performative Allyship | Colleen James

In this episode of Just One Q, Dr. Melissa Horne is joined by Colleen James to discuss performative allyship at an organizational level and how to engage in anti-racism and equity work 365.

Performative allyship refers to activism done to increase one’s social capital rather than one’s dedication to a cause. We see this a lot during major events like Blackout Tuesday and Black History Month. Companies show representation in their promotions and make statements saying they support the cause—but these are often just empty words void of action. 

Anti-racism and equity work is not a quick fix. These deep rooted systemic issues go back 400 years, so it’s not enough to simply put out a statement and expect significant change to start happening. It’s an ongoing process that requires continuous dedication and effort. 

Colleen James is a Principal consultant at Divonify, where she provides equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) training to organizations, companies and individuals. She is also a professor in the School of Business at Conestoga College. Colleen’s primary area of training focuses on using real-life situations to diffuse uncomfortable conversations surrounding racism, ethnicity and gender.

In this podcast, she offers insights into how organizations can actively engage in anti-racism and equity work 365:

  • Do an internal audit. Take a look at your social media accounts. Who are you promoting? Who’s following you and more importantly, who are you following? 
  • Have authentic conversations with your employees before making amplifying statements to first see where there may be any gaps. 
  • Determine whether you are equipped as a leadership team to do the work yourself or whether you need to bring in a third party. 

Is your organization ready to do the work required to ensure you are participating meaningfully rather than performatively?



Colleen James

Colleen is passionate about helping others learn and grow. With over fifteen years of experience promoting inclusive environments in public, private, education and not for profit sectors, Colleen has been able to blend her passions of education and diversity. As the Principal consultant at Divonify, she provides equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) training to organizations, companies and individuals. In her role as a professor in the School of Business at Conestoga College, she thrives on challenging her students to discover their inner resources, enabling them to better understand the realities, and possibilities of their diversity.


Get the Learning Snippets app

Now available on your iOS or Android device.


Dialectic helps businesses and organizations improve the way people work, learn, and collaborate through person-centred design and the latest in social psychology, industrial organizational psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics.

Dialectic is based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Sign up for our weekly roundup of the latest on inclusive behaviours in the workplace.

© 2022 Dialectic. All rights reserved.​  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use