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VEST Her Podcast: Why are men often reluctant to mentoring and advocating for women at work?

In this episode VEST Members talk to gender-inclusive culture expert Brad Johnson, Professor of Psychology at the United States Naval Academy and Faculty Associate at John Hopkins University, about the skills and benefits men earn when they engage in advocating for women at work. The misconceptions and challenges that often get in the way of men engaging in gender-equity advocacy and the economics of inclusive workspaces. Special thanks to VEST Member, Jessica Dietrich,  Director of Government Relations and Policy for Hunger Free Oklahoma for moderating this session.

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Join us as we delve into the multifaceted roles men can play as allies, mentors, and advocates. We also uncover the economic benefits of inclusive workspaces and how intersectionality further complicates women's professional journeys, especially for women of color. Our discussion reveals how evaluations often differ for men and women. We also dissect the evolving dynamics of remote and hybrid work, generational shifts in expectations for work-life balance and how men's engagement in domestic duties is crucial for supporting women's career growth. 

During the conversation, we covered:

08:55 Are We Excluding Men From Equity Conversations?

12:07 Pitfalls Men Make When Advocating For Women

17:49 Why Are Men Often Reluctant to Advocating for Women at Work?

26:20 Intersectionality, Allyship, and Mentorship in Workplaces

34:56 Gender Bias in Workplace Evaluations

48:49 How to Effectively Engage Men in Gender Equity

52:26 Gender Equality at Home and Work

Available on Apple and Spotify.

This episode is brought to you by VEST Her Ventures, our Venture Capital Arm investing in women-led companies building solutions for the intersection of the Care Economy and Future of work. Also by VEST Peer Group, a network of women professionals across industries, regions and career levels, helping each other navigate careers and working together to build the future of more inclusive workspaces.

If you enjoy this episode, share it with a friend and don't forget to leave us a review. 

Show Notes

About Guest Speakers

Jessica Dietrich is a VEST Member and the Director of Government Relations and Policy for Hunger Free Oklahoma. A proud lifelong Oklahoman who is dedicated to making her home state better through engagement and advocacy. She brings a diverse background in the issue areas of federal benefits programs, food insecurity, healthcare, business, taxation, and real estate. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University.

In her free time you can find Jessica spending time with her Little through Big Brothers Big Sisters, serving as a violinist and board president for Oklahoma Chamber Symphony, and enjoying time at her home in OKC with her spouse and small fleet of pets including dogs, cats, and chickens.

Brad Johnson, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy, and a Faculty Associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Johnson is a mentoring expert specializing in developing gender-inclusive mentoring cultures for organizations around the globe. Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous publications including 14 books, including: Good Guys: How Men Can Become Better Allies for Women in the Workplace, Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women (both with David Smith), and The Elements of Mentoring 3rd Ed. (with Charles Ridley).

About VEST

VEST is an investment fund and peer network for women. We invest in women-led companies providing solutions for the intersection of the care economy and future of work. We also connect and provide executive coaching to women professionals across industries, regions and career levels so that together we can build the future of more inclusive workspaces. Learn more at

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