My Ally & Me: Allan and Emma.
Allan Kartodikromo and Emma van der Meulen share their Queer Allyship success stories; showing us how supporting others actually helps us all.
Allan's Allyship story...
When I met Emma she was a true teacher with a kind and open heart. The way she connected with me not only had an impact on my professional self - it impacted me personally and gave me time to improve my mindset and grow as an individual. With Emma’s help, I have been able to embark on a journey of true self acceptance, which now helps me in all areas of my life. The most impactful support I got from Emma is that she gave me a safe space to let me be me and to talk about (fundamental) needs and personal development. I got the proper guidance that showed me that she cared. The personal attention alongside introducing me to her network was the best support I could get, and has helped me flourish in my career.
Being an ally is more than just a talk or raising awareness about tools and resources which may or may not help us. Being an ally in my eyes is when you truly connect as human beings meaning that there is an investment of time, energy and deeper understanding. Connecting as allies to each other (no matter who we are) with the goal to build bridges is exactly what is needed for strong and genuine foundations of exceptional working relationships.
Everybody should have an Emma!
I knew she was a true ally to me when I knew that I could trust her. It takes time to get to know someone and their motivations and open up. Trust slowly builds when your ally talks the talk, but also walks to the walk, and respects the time invested by both parties. I knew this was something she understood when she followed up on agreed actions and next steps to progress things.
By introducing me to individuals in her network, Emma has afforded me the opportunity to develop my own professional relationships with key stakeholders who I interact with at work. As a result, these people are positively biassed and trust faster, meaning the value I can add to my company is much greater than it could’ve been if I didn’t have Emma in my corner.
Being an ally is not voluntary work. If you are a real ally or motivated to be one, the drive is intrinsic. The more these values of allyship are encouraged by everyone and anyone inside an organisation, through progression in working culture, the stronger the sense of support will be amongst colleagues. This will ultimately improve the operation of an organisation. Emma’s motivation in this respect is something I really admire, and the effects of her values-driven approach is felt by many in our company.
Emma's Allyship story...
When I hired Allan to join the company it was very important for me to introduce him to many people. I found that he needed to build his network and to get to understand the organisation. It is important for me to have openness and honesty because that creates a safe environment to build a relationship on. I am a strong believer in the fact that we also need to be able to enjoy each other’s company and to walk that extra mile to understand one another.
Being an ally takes effort and also costs time, however investing time in strong relationships with our colleagues definitely benefits us over time. I invested time in helping Allan as I want Allan to be happy. I think he is a very talented person and the world can benefit from his skills.
I also have and had colleagues who keep track of my career and show genuine interest. They invest time in me, advise on opportunities and also introduce me to their network, so I think it’s important to do the same for others, and pay the benefits of allyship forward. Whilst I do not come from a marginalised background, I am a woman who works in finance, so I know what it's like to be a minority in a working environment.
As a result of Allan’s hard work, he has been able to build a big network within our company. He was also able to create an autonomous role for himself. Thanks to his creative ideas, energetic personality and great organisational skills, he has been offered challenging assignments with a lot of responsibility and he has happily accepted them. It’s wonderful to see that he is able to live his purpose, and I know he can also pay forward to others who may need extra support and encouragement to succeed.
Finally, in terms of advice I would offer others on how they can be better allies: be open and interested. Be aware of your own biases and realise that we all have them. But it’s what you do with them that counts. Don’t forget how awesome it is to get to know someone so well and grow together.
Allan Kartodikromo (he/him)
Allan was originally born and raised in Suriname, South American, but has been living in Amsterdam for more than 10 years. With a very culturally diverse background, and as a queer man working in Finance, he is constantly looking for ways to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. He is most passionate about his role as a Culture Change Manager because he gets to create meaning for folks from marginalised backgrounds, both within and outside of corporates spaces.
If you would like to book Allan as a Speaker for a webinar or panel discussion, please get in touch with us via email at email@example.com
Emma van der Meulen (she/her)
Emma is a Project Manager Data for Sustainable Finance Regulations at ABN AMRO
About the 'My Ally and Me' story-telling series:
At We Create Space we always aim to lift and amplify the voices of our global queer collective of change-makers. However with this story-telling series we wanted to give LGBTQ+ leaders the opportunity to bring an ally into the conversation and explain how their valued support has shaped their personal and professional journey.
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