Corner Of The Court: Karen’s Story

17eafe463411e59013143c0f26ef7746-originaStories of Male Allies, Told by Women
Corner of the Court is a monthly feature on MARC published in partnership with The Corner of the Court Project, recognizing stories of male allies' impact on workplace inclusion, told by women. 

For more stories (or to submit your own), visit

By Karen Catlin. Earlier in my career, I worked for a software company that was acquired by Adobe Systems. In the first few months following the acquisition, I noticed something happening in engineering leadership meetings.
My new manager, Digby Horner, who had been at Adobe for many years, started prefacing things with, “What I learned from Karen is…” He then went on to summarize an earlier discussion we’d had.
He demonstrated a great deal of respect for me in front of my new colleagues. The simple phrase “What I learned from Karen” made me feel great; who wouldn’t want to be recognized for teaching her more-experienced manager something new? I think it was the ultimate compliment.
It was also a strong act of sponsorship.
Each time Digby said those words, he helped me build credibility with my new colleagues. He took action as an ally, using his position of privilege to sponsor me, and his shout-out strengthened my reputation as a technical leader.
This story is just one of many that I’ve witnessed over my career—situations when allies stepped up with simple, everyday actions that made a difference. Often a big difference.
I firmly believe that being an ally isn’t so hard, and that it is a journey. 
Karen Catlin, Adocate for Women in Tech
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Posted by MARC Catalyst on Sep 12, 2017 1:24 PM America/New_York

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