Diversity, Awareness, Inclusion
Consulting and Curriculum Development

Because talking can change everything

About Us

Our Experience

Since 1999, Talking Changes has offered personally-tailored, dynamic, interactive and solution-focused trainings, seminars, and curricula on a variety of cultural diversity, awareness and inclusion training topics.  The subjects range from cultural humility/awareness and inclusion in the broadest sense to specific anti-racism, sexual identity, and gender identity awareness programs.  The goal of each and every training is for participants to leave feeling enlightened, empowered, energized and valued, with greater knowledge and solutions they can bring back to the organization, as well as to their own individual lives.  

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, the Connecticut Women's Consortium, Safe Horizon, and many more.

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."

Dr. Gottlieb blends her many years of practical experience with seasoned facilitation skills, academic knowledge, evident passion and humor.  Please don't hesitate to contact us to explore ideas for your own agency's training needs: 

the first step toward finding solutions is always a conversation. 

What We Offer

Training sessions are tailored to your specific needs and the time you have: from 90 minutes to a full day.  Interactive trainings generally benefit from a group size no greater than 30 participants.

Seminars are more didactic and time-limited, and can be delivered to audiences of any size.  Most seminars involve visual aides such as PowerPoint, video, or a combination of media.

Curriculum/Syllabus Development
A co-created curriculum is yours to keep.  We 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." 

Select Training Topics

Cultivating Cultural Humility: A Practice Training for Direct Service Providers

Our clients 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. 

Racism, White Privilege, and the Myth of Colorblindness (6 hours)

 We cannot dismantle what we cannot discuss, and productive discussions are well-informed. This workshop provides participants with exactly this: the knowledge, language, opportunities and tools to boldly and productively address issues of race, racism, and skin color privilege. 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 and the workplace, with a particular focus on how race has been used to divide us and to benefit “white” 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 to brainstorm what we can do together and as individuals to participate in debunking, dismantling and defeating structural and individual racism. 

Diversity in the Workplace: One Agency, More Cultures than You Can Imagine (6 hours)

 This training helps participants foster a workplace environment that is welcoming and supportive of individuals from a wide variety of cultures, including but not limited to cultures of ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, ability and age.  Our identities impact how we perceive and interact with others, and this workshop seeks to assist participants in becoming more clear regarding our own identities, and how to create a workplace that encourages authenticity and respect, which leads to maximum productivity and positive workplace interaction.

LGBTQIA...SOS! Sexuality and Gender, Differentiated and Demystified (3.5 or 6 hours)

The question is no longer whether we will have LGBTQIA clients, but when, and whether we will be adequately prepared to serve these populations knowledgeably and respectfully.  So let's talk about sex, 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 be gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender, cisgender, intersex, gender queer, and any other term participants have heard and aren't yet familiar with. 

Stress Management @ Work (3.5 or 6 hours)

This fun, relaxing workshop provides an oasis in the work week, offering and practicing a range of creative solutions for improved self-care and reduced stress.  Lowered stress levels lead to better physical and mental health outcomes, as well as to increased energy and productivity.  Learn how to implement stress-reducing tactics that won't leave you stuffed, broke, or hung over.

"Did You Really Just Say That?": Addressing Biased Language from Our Clients (2-3.5 hours)

The therapeutic dyad is a messy human-to-human relationship, and there is language our clients will use that can provoke a strong response in us as practitioners.  This brief, solution-focused training seeks to help participants better understand the ways we respond when someone uses language we perceive as racially-charged or otherwise offensive; to evaluate the impact of the setting and the client’s emotional state on how we respond; to increase understanding of our own verbal triggers and how to decide whether and how to respond when they are activated, and provide solutions for responding in ways that can honor our own boundaries without shaming our clients. 

Contact Us

Questions? Training inquiries? Please feel free to contact us.