In Empowering Differences, Ashley Brundage reconceptualizes diversity in the workplace and uses practical action steps to help you move forward in your career.
Brundage’s central thesis asserts that, in the modern job market, our differences are our greatest strengths and that we should use them to our advantage to set ourselves apart from others and move forward in our careers. She strongly emphasizes the importance of highlighting our identities that set us apart, such as race, class, gender identity, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, etc. As a transgender woman herself, Brundage explains that these differences shape the kinds of adversity that we must overcome, equipping us with unique skills that qualify us for the positions we seek. Empowering Differences offers a detailed framework that starts with knowing yourself and knowing others and walks you through the process of developing a strategy by which finally you can begin implementing the empowering actions which will lead to your success.
The book’s greatest strength is its appeal to its target audience. Empowering Differences has something for everyone, but it speaks most directly to professionals from minority backgrounds–groups that are historically disenfranchised and, at best, often neglected. Many books in her genre fail to account for the role that various kinds of privilege realistically play in an employee’s ability to move forward in the workplace. Not only does Brundage refuse to shy away from this reality, she works to dismantle it by teaching her readers how they can demonstrate that the absence of privilege demands the development of unique, valuable skills. Brundage finds originality in her perspective and in the framework of her argument. She presents logical, veritable information, as supported largely through testimonial-style anecdotes, in a way that challenges her readers to reconceptualize their strengths in the workplace and take ownership over the qualities we may sometimes expect to be held against us.
Empowering Difference is organized in such a way that readers can easily understand Brundage’s argument. She first establishes her framework and communicates just how valuable diversity can be. The more practical action steps that she outlines are made more accessible by how clearly and thoroughly she situates her perspective. As the book progresses, it becomes less theoretical and more pragmatic. By the time readers are captivated by her ideas, they are primed and prepared to learn how to put them in action, the importance of which is masterfully planted in Sally Hogshead’s foreword. Stylistically, Brundage doesn’t do much in the way of the profound, but she doesn’t need to. Her perspective speaks for itself. Her most noteworthy stylistic choice is perhaps the sheer honesty of her argument. Diversity in the workplace can be a sensitive subject and, as previously mentioned, it seems like writers of her genre will broach it with as little substance as they can get away with. Brundage explores diversity in a way that is both sensitive and candid, reminding us that it is a conversation that we cannot and should not run away from. In Empowering Differences, Ashley Brundage does exactly that. She presents a compelling, actionable advice to show readers that they can leverage their diversity to move forward in the workplace.