How leaders are defining 'allyship' in the workplace in 2022’s 2021 word of the year was ‘allyship.’ Here’s how allyship has evolved in the workplace

Hands together over an office table.’s 2021 word of the year was “allyship.”

Photo: Fauxels via Pexels’s 2021 word of the year is “allyship.” Some might be surprised to find that prior to last month, the word was not listed on the search site. While “ally” was included, the company recognized the word “allyship” has evolved over the years to have a more nuanced and specific meaning, John Kelly, the site’s associate director of Content and Education, told The Associated Press. It's something many leaders within some of the largest tech companies have realized as well.

What employees expect from their places of work has evolved. Employees want support, opportunities and, well … allyship. Y-Vonne Hutchinson, CEO and founder of DEI consulting firm ReadySet, said she’s observed this increased interest in allyship in the workplace firsthand through her work in the field.

So what does allyship mean in the context of the workplace today? It’s about action and putting some “skin in the game,” Hutchinson told Protocol.

  • “It's actually a practice of continuously showing up, and showing up with humility to undo the systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc. that affects your colleagues who have less privilege than you every day. Moreover, when we think about being an active ally, it also means putting something on the line to help leverage that privilege. So it's not just about showing up in a way that feels comfortable, but showing up and doing something when it doesn't feel comfortable in a way that might also feel risky,” she said.
  • Hutchinson said she also encourages clients to think of themselves as accomplices. “That's a conversation we're seeing happening more and more with allyship, is that idea of pushing the envelope.”

Hutchinson said there are examples leaders can follow for promoting a culture of active allyship as we head into 2022. In her forthcoming book, “How to Talk to Your Boss About Race,” she focuses on the idea of engaging in collective action.

  • “[Think] about using your collective power to advocate for structural change, [or,] on an individual level, there's a concept of intervening when you see something go down or something that feels wrong. There's also the idea of being a sponsor — making sure you're advocating for people who aren't in the room. I think those are some of the things that you can do individually and collectively,” she said.

Protocol spent much of 2021 tracking how tech leaders have promoted environments of allyship and inclusion.

So what comes next for leaders to continue being active allies for their employees?

  • “I think we're kind of at the point where we've exhausted the comfortable mechanisms. We've had two years of conversations, we've kind of had two years to do what’s comfortable, and I think we have to come to terms with the fact that there's going to be a lot of uncomfortable work that has to happen to get our organizations to where they need to go to be not just inclusive and diverse, but resilient and relevant,” said Hutchinson.

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

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The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

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Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

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Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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