Inclusive Leadership


Several recurring patterns consistently thwart companies’ diversity and inclusion efforts, including: lack of ownership and accountability by senior leadership and/or managers; inadequate resource allocation, reliance on piecemeal approaches (rather than a strategic, systemic approach), rush to embrace “checkbox” or trendy diversity solutions (e.g. unconscious bias training), and a focus on unrealistic goals or inappropriate metrics.


The NCWIT Industry Systemic Change Model offers a research-based framework for taking a more strategic, ecosystem approach to systemic and cultural change, and top leadership support is at the center.

NCWIT helps senior technical leaders intentionally use and apply the Change Model with their teams. The team is first provided foundational research on the business case for diversity and its impact on technical innovation, resulting in a shared vocabulary for ongoing, productive dialogue. Through a series of working sessions, they delve into how societal biases play out in technical cultures and create barriers to inclusion and productivity; gain increased awareness about the potential adverse impact of current technical cultures on historically marginalized groups and their contributions to innovation; explore the NCWIT Change Model as a framework for leading and evaluating change efforts; and build the muscle for recognizing and responding to bias in everyday interactions and business processes (e.g. interviewing, promotion, task assignment, etc.).

Nothing is outsourced; the leaders do the work and own the company’s initiatives to change culture.


In a recent survey of technical leaders who participated in these sessions with NCWIT,

  • 93% reported “thinking more about how subtle bias might be occurring at work.”
  • 83% reported that “more attention is paid to whose voices are heard in meetings.”
  • 88% reported that “it is easier to bring up bias-related topics at work.”
  • 88% reported that their “ability to create a more inclusive work environment had improved.”

Lucy Sanders


Top leadership support is critical to changing an organization’s culture. When organizations treat diversity like their other critical business initiatives, then real change happens. The CEO Action Pledge drives home that point and gives leaders a solid platform from which they can publicly commit to diversity, share their own initiatives, and learn from others.

Lucy Sanders
CEO & Co-founder, National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT)
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