Who we are

We’re a team of process and people-obsessed do-ers, united by our common mission to measurably increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Woman with headphones on looking at a large screen of complex data.

Data-driven

Our programs are based on peer-reviewed research, as well actionable insights from practitioners in the field. We measure starting points and track progress so you can see results from your efforts. And our expert consultants do the heavy-lifting to help you actually make sense of your data.

Two men talking at a computer workstation.

Human-centered

There’s a wide gap between knowing what needs to get done and actually motivating human beings to do it. We leverage our experience in clinical psychology to break down barriers, guide difficult conversations, and motivate people to make real changes.

Peoplism logo (a bullseye)

Impact first

You can certainly keep yourself busy with a wide range of DEIB efforts, but are they actually making a difference? We want to ensure the answer is yes. That means we don’t sell services shown to have little impact (hello one-off trainings), and that we challenge our clients to make meaningful change.

Meet the team

Mary Aranyos, Senior Consultant

Mary Aranyos

Senior Consultant

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Curious by nature, Mary seeks to uncover the human element in the environment around her and study its effect on everything from relationships to organizational decisions. Over the course of her career, Mary has held positions in customer success, sales, and recruiting at early stage startups and large public companies. More recently, at Peoplism, she has focused on overseeing assessments and helping our clients take long-term action towards DEIB. Mary believes that the ends don't justify the means, and the means are precisely where she likes to direct her efforts most.

🌎 What is your favorite trip of all time?

A 2016 road trip around the Republic of Georgia: gorgeous hiking in Borjomi, riding horses through Ushguli (in Svaneti), and wine-tasting and amazing food in Sighnaghi (in Kakheti).

👣 What legacy do you dream of leaving behind?

Responsibility to donate regularly to well-run organizations that actually improve lives. Also, pushing myself to higher standards when it comes to my individual consumption and my impact on our environment.

👩‍🍳 What’s one thing you cook well?

Veggie shepherd’s pie with lentils.

Danielle Callendar

Danielle Callendar

Senior Consultant

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Danielle comes to Peoplism with extensive experience using her research and analytic skills to help expand college access programming to underserved populations. Her professional background combines her love of data with her deep commitment to creating equitable and just organizations. She is thrilled to help Peoplism's clients create more inclusive and successful companies. Danielle holds a M.A. in Sociology from UCLA.

🦉 Night or day?

Day! I’m a morning bird through and through. Fun story, I’m the youngest of five and would impatiently wait for my older sisters to wake up on the weekends to hang out with me.

🆕 What is something new you dream of trying/learning?

I’m a life-long learner so my list is long. I’m currently learning how to invest in great companies.

🍪 What is a bad habit of yours that you’ve tried forever to get rid of?

My sweet tooth! I may or may not be eating a cookie as I write this...


Josh De Leon

Josh De Leon

Consultant

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Josh is a DEIB facilitator and change agent, with a background working across organizations and industries to build community, create more equitable systems, and center the lived experiences of marginalized groups. Josh has led DEIB workshops for clients across the world, convened and collaborated with government executives on management and human capital issues, and worked extensively with community-based organizations and leaders. Prior to Peoplism, Josh managed projects and research reports and designed DEIB programs for a good governance nonprofit, and coordinated programs at a human rights NGO. He has a master's in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University with an emphasis in identity, art, and social movements.

🆕 What is something new you dream of trying/learning?

Another creative arts skill. When I was in school, I played music, acted a little, and wrote constantly - I even minored in creative writing and poetry. But as I entered my professional career, I found less and less time to explore new artistic endeavors, and I would like to recommit to carving out space for my own creative expression.

🌎 What is your favorite trip of all-time?

Before grad school, I taught in Tokyo, Japan, and spent my extended breaks traveling through Asia. I was able to visit Korea, Vietnam, and several Japanese cities in one summer - meeting up with friends who were traveling and making new ones.

😴 How do you rejuvenate yourself, or invest in self-care?

I believe strongly in the importance of collective care - that while a nice meal or a day off can help in the short term, nurturing a support system and healing in community helps build and sustain in the long run.

Catherine Gillespie-Vargas

Catherine Gillespie-Vargas

Senior Consultant

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Catherine knows a company’s greatest asset is its people so she is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive workplaces where all can thrive. She began her career as a product manager, where she brought an artificial intelligence product to market. Most recently, she worked with companies to collaboratively design and implement inclusive talent programs and strategies to improve training, hiring, and retention. She is passionate about Design Thinking and has utilized this approach in everything from technology to workforce development. Catherine holds an MBA from MIT Sloan.

🎤 What is your go-to karaoke song?

It’s Tricky by Run DMC

🤓 A genuine nerd out for you would look like…

Researching the cultural and historical context of a dish and the food science behind it. Then making it for the first time and sharing it with friends and family!

🗝️ What do you think is the key to it all?

When it comes to problem-solving, remaining proximate to the problem is powerful. In life, I suggest the key to it all is found in relationships.


Maya Hurley-Wales

Maya Hurley-Wales

Lead Consultant

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Maya comes to Peoplism with deep experience in DEIB and the Ed-Tech industry. Before Peoplism, Maya was part of the HR team at Clever, and prior to Clever, she worked at Panorama Education. As one of the few Black-identifying women within those organizations, Maya felt compelled to partner with colleagues and business leaders to identify systems, policies, and practices that contributed to feelings of inequity and exclusion. She also co-founded DEIB programs at both companies to ensure all employees felt able to be their full selves at work and had safe spaces to discuss their experiences, as well as receive support from others with shared identities. This work eventually developed into an even bigger passion for making sure people everywhere, across all industries feel they have ample opportunities to feel recognized, valued, and heard at work.

🦉 Night or day?

I am a more productive employee during the morning, but my creative brain comes alive at night!

🆕 What is something new you dream of trying/learning?

I would love to become proficient in Spanish and learn Italian and Japanese. I would also like to conquer my fear of singing in public!

🎓 Who is someone who has inspired you?

Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Maya Angelou :)

Liz Kofman-Burns

Liz Kofman-Burns

Co-founder

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Liz is passionate about helping companies bridge the gap between academic research and reality. She is a sociologist with over 10 years of experience studying and implementing high-impact DEIB solutions; her research has appeared in Psychological Inquiry, Behavioral Scientist, and Journal of Work & Occupations among others. Previously, she was Head of Client Success at Talent Sonar, a SaaS hiring platform. Liz has a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA.

🦉 Night or day?

Day! I’d like to blame my early bedtime on having young kids but the truth is I’ve always struggled to stay up past 10pm.

🌎 What is your favorite trip of all-time?

Istanbul. The food, the hammams, the architecture...it's magical.

🎓 Who is someone who has inspired you?

I'm really inspired by folks that may not make it onto the front page, but are doing amazing work in their communities. Lola Smallwood Cuevas, founder of the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, is inclusive, inspiring, hands-on, and able to find joy in work that is never “done.”



Amber Madison

Amber Madison

Co-founder

Amber is a licensed therapist (LMHC), award-winning lecturer, and nationally noted author. Her thought-leadership has been featured everywhere from The Today Show to MTV to NPR as well as in FastCompany, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and many more. She's passionate about leveraging her knowledge of psychology and communications to implement DEIB solutions that work for humans. She has a M.A. in counseling psychology from NYU.

🦉 Night or day?

Night all the way. If I had my way I would never go to sleep before midnight, and living in NYC I used to love summer nights staying out until sunrise. Now, as the parent of two small kids, I still see a lot of sunrise, but it's at the beginning—rather than end—of my day.

💪 What is a cool non-work related skill that you have?

Estimation. Need to know how many jellybeans are in that jar? I'm your gal.

😱 Most outsized fear?

Raw chicken. Every time I handle chicken I feel like I (and my kitchen) need a decontamination shower.


Cynthia Orduña

Cynthia Orduña

Consultant

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Cynthia has a background in recruiting, career development, and human resources. She has helped over 50 startups in LA, SF, NY, and Chicago recruit and retain talent, and has coached over 300 people in all stages of their career from entry to senior levels with creative, tech, engineering, business, law, non-profit, and education backgrounds. She’s extremely passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive workforce while empowering people from underrepresented communities to move upward in their career. Her life mission is to amplify as many voices, cultures and backgrounds as she can by helping people develop themselves personally and professionally.

🦉 Night or day?

Night-owl since birth. The night has always energized me and I love to sleep during the day.

🆕 What is something new you dream of trying/learning?

Conquering my fear and taking a trapeze class.

💬 What is your all-time favorite quote?

“I don’t pay attention to the world ending. It has ended for me many times and began again in the morning.” - Nayyirah Waheed