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The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Feb 14, 2023

Whether having casual chats with friends or formal work meetings, the language we use matters. Here, to shed some light on using inclusive language is Dr Jen O’Ryan. 

Dr O’Ryan is a Consulting Editor, specializing in Inclusion, Diversity & Representation. 

In this Episode 110 of The Legendary Leaders Podcast, Dr O’Ryan talks about how to improve our language to be more inclusive, why it’s important to bring these conversations to light, and how the pandemic has changed the nature of our conversations and interactions. She also shares the result of not implementing change, introducing inclusion & diversity in policy writing, and the “accidental” DEI experts. Ready to learn how? 


Episode Timeline: 

[07:42] A bit about Dr O’Ryan. 
[09:36] Working in Tech. 
[11:36] The keys to success to be at your best. 
[12:57] Getting in tune with team members. 
[13:45] Dr O’Ryan’s role in Tech. 
[14:43] Being a woman in Tech. 
[16:32] Having a safe space and having to adapt. 
[18:31] Becoming more confidently aware of inclusion. 
[24:21] Raising awareness and categorizing humans. 
[26:14] The complexities in Tech. 
[27:36] Starting to identify pitfalls early on. 
[29:32] Examples of frontrunners. 
[32:18] Influencing change. 
[34:10] Why it’s important to talk about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. 
[37:39] How would the world change with raised awareness? 
[40:22] How the pandemic helped people feel more like themselves. 
[45:02] Systemic challenges to authenticity. 
[48:00] Affecting lasting change. 
[52:30] Microaggressions. 
[54:20] The risks for the system when change doesn’t happen. 
[56:57] Inclusive and diverse policy writing. 
[59:56] Where’s the “we”? 
[63:36] Inclusive AF: A Field Guide for Accidental Diversity Experts. 
[65:48] What it means to be all-in. 
[66:37] How to become an “accidental” DEI expert. 
[70:11] Dr O’Ryan’s book No.2. 
[71:44] Researching LGBTQ+. 



Key Takeaways: 

  • Why is it important to talk about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion? 

  • The power of creating a space for encouraging conversations on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. 

  • How will companies lose out if they don’t implement change? 

  • How to improve Inclusion & Diversity, in policy writing. 

  • The nature of the “expert. 

  • How to affect lasting, wide-reaching change. 

  • How to practice using gender-neutral language. 

  • Dr. O’Ryan’s research into the LGBTQ+ community. 


Notable Quotes: 

If the gender is either unknowable or it’s immaterial to what the message is, then just use ‘they’.” – Dr Jen O’Ryan [20:20] 

Once you start noticing the small things, you start noticing the big things.” – Dr Jen O’Ryan [29:03] 

Don’t ever underestimate your ability to change, make a change, or influence change.” – Dr Jen O’Ryan [32:43] 

Our own insecurities about the unknown holds us back from calling things out.” – Cathleen Merkel [34:38] 

There’s no more waiting for people to be comfortable with change.” – Dr Jen O’Ryan [65:32] 

Be the one.” – Dr Jen O’Ryan [76:38] 



Find | Dr Jen O’Ryan 

Instagram: @pagingdrjen. 



Dr. Jen O’Ryan is the Creator of Double Tall Consulting, where she helps organizations achieve effective, measurable, and meaningful results from their Inclusion and Diversity initiatives. 

With her approach grounded in continuous improvement, building relationships, and curiosity-based problem solving, Dr. O’Ryan has built global teams, introduced corporate policies, and conducted research to improve customer outcomes and satisfaction. 

Dr. O’Ryan is a frequent podcast guest, panelist, and speaker on Inclusion & Diversity, organizational behavior, and influencing change.  

Dr. O’Ryan is the author of Inclusive AF: A Field Guide for Accidental Diversity Experts, a roadmap to safely introduce meaningful and lasting change.