Leveraging the Power of Allyship


When the honor society for sociology majors inducts its newest members this month, it won’t just be an event for students. Alpha Kappa Delta is using the event to bring a speaker to Washington College’s campus with a message for anyone interested in a more diverse and inclusive society, whether they are students, faculty, staff or community members.

portrait of David Smith

David Smith, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, will speak on “Leveraging the Power of Allyship” at 6:30 p.m. on April 27. Smith has co-written two books on gender in the workplace and inclusive mentoring, and his talk will address how men, and specifically white men, can be better allies for women and other marginalized populations, according to AKD adviser Erin Anderson, associate professor of sociology at Washington College.

“I thought that topic was particularly valuable right now as we've been undergoing the process to develop a diversity strategic plan,” Anderson said. “We've had a lot of attention especially with recruitment and diversifying our student body, faculty and staff. We haven't had as much attention on the people who are already here. We can do a fantastic job of recruiting, but if we can't create an environment that is supporting and affirming and that helps to promote the success of diverse populations, we're not going to retain those people.”

An alumnus of the United States Naval Academy, Smith led diverse organizations of women and men, including command of a squadron in combat. He flew more than 3,000 hours over 30 years as a Navy pilot and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After earning his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, Smith returned to the Naval Academy as a faculty member, going on to teach at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island before moving to Johns Hopkins in 2021.

Together with fellow Naval Academy and Johns Hopkins faculty member W. Brad Johnson, Smith wrote Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace and Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women. Under the brand Workplace Allies, the two speak and hold workshops for businesses and colleges and universities.

The talk at Washington College will be held in Hynson Lounge and is co-sponsored by Alpha Kappa Delta, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Business Management, the Gibson-Wagner Fund Psychology Department Fund, the William James Forum, the C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience, and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.