When we feel seen, valued and respected, what changes?
Talking Changes' mission is to promote authenticity, empathy, awareness, respect, and a sense of community and connection. This leads to greater work satisfaction, improved communication, maximized retention, productivity and creativity.
Talking Changes was founded on the premise that we are at our best when we feel safe, seen, and respected. Every product created and facilitated is grounded in this core tenet, encouraging the ease and authenticity that promotes insight, awareness and growth. Since 1999, Talking Changes has offered tailored, dynamic, interactive and solution-focused trainings, seminars, coaching and curricula to a wide range of groups including social service providers, teachers, law enforcement, and both small and large businesses in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Subjects span from general cultural humility/awareness and inclusion to specific anti-racism, sexual identity, weight stigma/body size, and gender identity programs. Participants leave empowered and inspired, having gained greater knowledge, skills and solutions.
Talking Changes' founder, Dr. Mara Gottlieb, holds a PhD and a Masters in Social Work, both from New York University. In addition to teaching and guest lecturing at several universities, she has worked with esteemed clients such as the Anti-Defamation League, Good Shepherd Services, ACS, DCF, DMHAS, The Child Center of NY, the Connecticut Women's Consortium, Hartford District Court, Mercy Learning Center, and many more. Her workshops have been featured at the CT NASW annual conference, and she has served as keynote speaker at several others.
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. Most training topics qualify for diversity and inclusion credits through the National Association of Social Work. Trainings can be offered either in-person or as a live virtual presentation.
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.
Consulting/Brainstorming Next Steps For You or Your Agency
It's perfectly okay if you're not sure what next steps to take - let's 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.
I am also available for confidential one-on-one sessions - in person or via conference call - to serve as a sounding board, an ally, and a partner in helping you tap into your own wisdom, strength and intuition. Having a trusted, reliable source of support provides significant relief and security.
"Mara, I could sit and listen to you speak or be a part of your workshops weekly. Those hours just fly by. Thank you so much for the work you do. This was such an intense, powerful session. It brought tears to my eyes within the first 5 minutes, it made me feel uncomfortable, it made me smile, it made me think. You are truly a gifted speaker and presenter. Thank you."
"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."
It's invaluable to have a sounding board; a source of unconditional respect and regard; someone who can help you tap into your own intuitive wisdom and offer alternate perspectives. Particularly in these more-stressful and uncertain times, it's highly reassuring to know that you have a confidential space for your own concerns and questions.
Coaching and Supervision
Every one of us was raised in various social contexts that informed us about our own cultural identities and the identities of others, whether with regard to skin color, age, body size, sexual and gender identity, family role, addiction experience, and any other identities that affect our lives.
This training provides participants with opportunities to reflect on how our own cultural identities impact the lens through which we see the world; the ways we interact with others; our values and goals; even our level of empathy for people of particular cultural identities. Having the courage to explore our own cultural landscape and gently excavate our own unconscious biases helps us ensure that our communication and behavior are consistent with our values and demonstrate a sense of respect for all with whom we interact.
“If not now, when?” – Hillel the Elder
There is no better time than the present to understand racism and its toxic effects on all of us, regardless of our skin color. But we cannot confront what we don't know how to discuss, or educate with information we don’t have. This honest, informative training provides the knowledge, language, and tools to boldly and productively address issues of race, racism, and skin color privilege.
In a respectful, safe environment, we will have honest conversations about the socially-constructed meanings of skin color and race, and the resulting impact of racism in the United States. Our work together will address the ways systemic and personal racism affect how we may have been conditioned to perceive people who are not represented in our own families, neighborhoods, or social circles. Finally, and most importantly, we will work together to find solutions that will enable us to debunk and dismantle structural and individual racism within the organization and within ourselves.
*Trainer’s note: I am a white-European woman who cannot and does not speak for people of color. This training is targeted (but not limited) to other white-Europeans who want a deeper understanding of race and racism without asking our friends or colleagues of color to educate us.
This diversity and inclusion 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 training 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.
A great way to start a conversation around diversity and inclusion! 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.
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.
For more training topics, please click on "More Trainings" at the top of the page.
All trainings are eligible for CEC/CEU certification in the state of CT: please contact me for more information.