Talking Changes' primary mission is to promote authenticity, empathy, awareness, and a sense of community and connection, leading to greater work satisfaction, better relationships, and maximized creativity.
Since 1999, Talking Changes has offered tailored, dynamic, interactive and solution-focused trainings, seminars, and curricula on cultural diversity, awareness and inclusion topics. Subjects span from general cultural humility/awareness and inclusion to specific anti-racism, sexual identity, and gender identity programs. The approach is based in the data-driven philosophy that we are most likely to be our best selves when we feel seen, valued, and respected. Participants leave empowered, energized and heard, having gained greater knowledge, skills and solutions. On a case-by-case basis, individual and group coaching and supervision sessions are also available.
Talking Changes' founder, Dr. Mara Gottlieb, holds a PhD and a Masters in Social Work. In addition to teaching and guest lecturing at several universities, she has worked with esteemed clients such as the Anti-Defamation League, Good Shepherds Services, ACS, DCF, The Child Center of NY, the Connecticut Women's Consortium, Hartford District Court, and many more. Her workshops have been featured at the CT NASW annual conference three of the past four years.
In 2017, Dr. Gottlieb was the recipient of the CT-NASW Distinguished Achievement Award for her "contributions as a social justice activist, encouraging communication, insight and growth, and for [her] skill and passion in addressing diversity and ideological divisions to affect positive change during contentious times."
Trainings and seminars are tailored to your specific needs and the time you have: from 90 minutes to a full day. All trainings and seminars have interactive and experiential components and involve visual aides such as PowerPoint, video, and additional media.
A co-created curriculum is yours to keep. Talking Changes can help you design your program and offer any needed guidance on content, materials and presentation style.
It's perfectly okay if you don't yet know what you need - let us brainstorm together to determine the best course of action. The first consultation is free of charge, and we can discuss a fee structure if more support is desired.
"This was, without a doubt, the most powerful and transforming training I have ever attended. The information provided, the exercises done in class, the whole package brought an awareness I did not have before. It gave me an understanding of how profound racism is in our society, by design, and how to work against it. I am so grateful for Mara's presentation! I wish everyone had the opportunity to attend this incredibly powerful day of training. So grateful to have been there! Thank you!"
"Today's training was by far the most engaging, dynamic, and energizing experience I have had here - or at any conference over the past 15 years that I've been a social worker. Mara is a terrific presenter, and I appreciate how deeply she challenged us to think and look within ourselves. Thank you!"
"I loved this training and the transparency of the trainer. She was knowledgeable and presented the information in a way that encouraged sharing and understanding."
"[Mara] weaves in and out academics to individual...never expected this topic to be so energizing, reflective, & helpful for staff. Thank you."
Our clients (or students) are the heroes and heroines of their own lives: they have survived, and in some situations thrived, finding their way to the moment when we begin our work together. Approaching this relationship through a lens of cultural humility asks us to strive for a deeper level of openness to our clients’ experience and the way they see the world: it integrates collaborative and strengths-based practice with our own ongoing commitment to compassionate self-awareness, encouraging us to see without judgment how our own experience and identities impact the work we do and the values we hold. The practice of cultural humility is gentle, forgiving, empowering and transformational, allowing both client and clinician to experience growth, intimacy, and greater authenticity. Attending this training will provide theory behind this new approach to direct practice, as well as multiple opportunities to implement it and experience its benefits firsthand.
We cannot dismantle what we don't know how to discuss, and a productive discussion must be grounded in accurate information. This workshop provides participants with the knowledge, language, opportunities and tools to boldly and productively address issues of race, racism, and skin color privilege, inside and outside the workplace. In a respectful, intentional environment, we will have a conversation about the socially-constructed meanings of skin color and race, and the resulting impact of racism in society, with a particular focus on how race has been used to divide us and to benefit white-European people. We will discuss both historical and present-day racism in the United States to provide context for our current circumstances. Finally and most importantly, we will work together toward solutions regarding what we can do to debunk, dismantle and defeat structural and individual racism.
This training helps participants foster a workplace or classroom environment that is welcoming and supportive of individuals from a vast array of cultures, including but not limited to cultures of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, religion, body size, citizenship, ability and age. Our identities and experiences impact the lens through which we see the world, and this workshop seeks to assist participants in becoming more clear regarding those identities, how they impact our own behaviors, values and biases, and how to create a workplace that allows everyone to feel valued and welcome. The consistent feedback from this course is that it is uplifting and fun, as well as informative and insight-bearing, and that it can bring a greater sense of community and trust to the work environment.
The question is no longer whether we will have LGBTQIA co-workers, students or clients, but why we might not know that we do, and whether we are adequately prepared to serve these individuals knowledgeably and respectfully. So let's talk openly about sexuality and gender, and what - if anything - the two have to do with one another. This highly-experiential and interactive workshop will explain in plain language - through case examples, group discussion and video - exactly what it means to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender, cisgender, intersex, non-binary, asexual and gender queer.
One of the reasons gender identity can be confusing is our lack of understanding regarding the ways that we "perform" gender every single day. We'll clarify the differences between sex and gender, bring cultural binary-gender expectations out into the open, discuss the social impact of ideas regarding masculinity and femininity, and arrive at a level of ease and fluency with regard to understanding and talking about gender expression and identity.
There is language our clients, co-workers or students use that can provoke a - shall we say - potent response. This brief, solution-focused training seeks to help participants better understand the ways we respond when someone uses language we perceive as offensive; to evaluate the impact of the setting and the speaker’s emotional state when deciding how we respond; to increase our awareness of our own verbal triggers and how to determine whether and how to respond, and to provide solutions for engaging in "confrontation without humiliation:" responding in ways that honor our own boundaries without shaming the speaker.
What does it look like to work with people through a lens of cultural humility, and how does it enhance levels of authenticity and safety? How do we ensure that our clients or students can bring all of who they are to the relationship?
Have you ever thought about broaching the topics of race, gender, sexual orientation or other other cultural identities in your work? Do you believe it would improve your practice but aren't sure how to do it?
We are coming to recognize that identity and the way it shapes one's worldview is a critical component of any substantive working relationship. If you would like to invite the varied and rich array of cultural identities into your work with others, we can explore how to ask in the most inviting, empowering manner possible.