Learn More About Ruchika Tulshyan
What does it take to be an innovative and successful leader today?
As organizations navigate sustained workforce disruption, they may find their well-intentioned diversity and inclusion efforts aren’t generating the cohesive environment they envisioned. As workplace culture increasingly becomes a deciding factor for talented jobseekers, the savvy executive will move away from metrics-based goals that don’t drive change to robust and innovative approaches that make meaningful progress for all. According to award-winning strategist and business journalist Ruchika Tulshyan (Roo-CHEEK-ah Tool-SHE-yan), inclusion is the most important leadership trait today. It’s not inborn, but the good news is – it can be learned.
As the CEO and founder of Candour, a global inclusion strategy firm, Tulshyan is answering the tough questions leaders have about the inclusion best practices for generating innovation, growth, better teamwork and trust. As she writes in the bestselling, award-winning “Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work” (MIT Press, March 2022), a culture of belonging doesn’t just happen; we have to work at it. Informed by cutting-edge leadership research, a passion for storytelling, and her own experiences as a global citizen who has lived in four countries, she focuses directly on the lived workplace experience of women of color as the lens through which DEI should be approached. In September 2022, Tulshyan was honored to be named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Gender Equity.
“Without inclusion at the forefront of a leader’s agenda, I don’t believe a leader can be effective. Leaders must develop curiosity, empathy and diversity to take their leadership skills to the next level,” explains Tulshyan. “By creating an environment that fosters a variety of leadership styles and in which diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities are seen as just as professional as the current model, everyone, but especially women of color, can achieve their full potential.”
Myth-Busting “Imposter Syndrome” for Women at Work
As Tulshyan points out in her paradigm-shifting article, “Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome,” which was named among 20 most impactful HBR articles of all time, biased practices and outdated standards of professionalism across institutions routinely stymie the ability of individuals from underrepresented groups to truly thrive. Her first book, “The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace” (2016), proposes that gender imbalance is a systemic problem in workplaces that’s often put on women to resolve themselves. Her insights and case studies from global leaders on attracting, retaining and promoting women makes inclusion a priority for everyone in an organization. In her easily implemented, clear and actionable frameworks, she puts empathy at the forefront, asking leaders to think about how marginalized individuals must consider the way their identities impact how they are perceived, and provides a path to motivating, influencing and advancing these individuals to excellence. To create that future, Tulshyan proposes, “We have to build our inclusion mindset to the point it is so strong in ourselves that we become acutely aware when we observe or even perpetuate biased behavior. Only by identifying and naming it, can we begin to change it.” She further invites leaders to consider their privilege when interacting with others, while inviting feedback and avoiding defensive responses in order to model a growth mindset for their entire organization. To that end, close to 200,000 learners have already received a taste of this essential knowledge in her first LinkedIn Learning course, “Moving DEI from Intention to Impact.”
Tulshyan again asks leaders to consider their privilege when interacting with others on her second appearance on thought leader Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast. Called “transformative” by Brown, Tulshyan suggests leaders invite feedback and avoid defensive responses to model a growth mindset for their entire organization. Emphasizing that psychological safety is a key element of the most innovative institutions, she shows leaders how to purposefully create an environment for everyone, not just those in the dominant groups of power and privilege.
“The very nature of innovation requires employees to suggest half-formed ideas, take risks or propose solutions that may not have data to inform them,” she explains. “And that can happen only in an environment in which all employees, regardless of identity, feel secure and safe.”
By recognizing that many DEI programs start with good advice and then often fail to deliver, Tulshyan’s frameworks introduce leaders to the transition from intention to impact. Encouraging leaders to understand that this goal is within reach, Tulshyan offers a system that makes everyone in a community a stakeholder with an equal opportunity to succeed.
Ruchika Tulshyan is an award-winning inclusion strategist and CEO and founder of Candour, a global inclusion strategy firm.
Tulshyan is a keynote speaker and former business journalist who has addressed audiences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pixar, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Congress and more. She writes regularly for The New York Times and Harvard Business Review (HBR) on workplace inclusion and equity. Her first book, “The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace” (2016), offers insight and case studies from global leaders on why attracting, retaining and promoting women should be a priority for everyone in an organization. Her second book, “Inclusion on Purpose” (MIT Press), was published in 2022.
Tulshyan co-wrote a paradigm-shifting article, “Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome,” for HBR, with Jodi-Ann Burey. The article has more than a million views, has been translated into multiple languages, and is one of HBR.org’s top 100 most read articles in history, as well as the top three articles for the publication in 2021.
Tulshyan was named a 2022 LinkedIn Top Voice for Gender Equity to Follow, and was on the 2019 Thinkers50 Radar list.
Tulshyan has previously been adjunct faculty in Communications at University of Washington and Seattle University. She holds degrees from London School of Economics and Columbia University and is an alumnus of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. She also serves on the Seattle Women’s Commission and on the founding editorial team of women-run-and-funded media website, The Establishment.
Ruchika Tulshyan is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Photo credit: Josiane Faubert
How can leaders build a more inclusive organization where diversity, equity and inclusion best practices aren’t relegated to your HR team? Ruchika Tulshyan, the award-winning inclusion strategist and bestselling author of “Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work” (2022), offers leaders and executives the frameworks and tools to identify organizational privilege where it currently exists, reduce internalized biases, and deliver a fully inclusive culture for all. Described as “intensely interactive,” Tulshyan’s workshops deliver customizable pathways to more inclusive and collaborative workplace environments steeped in psychological safety. As founder and CEO of Candour, which works with organizations to create diverse teams and inclusive cultures, she specializes in bringing forward organizational interventions that transition toothless but well-intentioned diversity programs to accountability-driven systems that make a big impact.
Customizable workshops can be developed around the following topics:
- Inclusion on Purpose: Creating a Workplace of Belonging
- Inclusion Best Practices: Actions That Benefit All
- Stop Imposter Syndrome At Work: And Create An Inclusive Culture Instead
- Inclusion on Purpose: Mindfulness and Belonging in the Workplace
- How to Foster and Leverage the Talent of Diverse Teams
- How to Create a Culture of Belonging
- How to Create Inclusive Hiring Practices
- How to Become an Inclusive Tech Leader
- Redefining Leadership to Be Inclusive To All
- Inclusion Best Practices For Global Organizations
- A Blueprint for Creating Ethical, Inclusive, Technology Products