diversity and belonging.

Investing in a globally diverse, healthy, thriving culture is essential to our work helping leaders drive the human side of their strategies.

Building Belonging Every Day.

The events of 2020 showed us in new ways the depths of what is broken in our world, and that systemic oppression is infused in and impacts all aspects of our personal and work lives. In response, we’ve chosen to start “at home” — to increase diversity and strengthen belonging across our global team, and develop the EDI lens in our existing solutions.

And we are making culture-building a top priority. We ask everyone on our team to bring intention to how we work — together and with our clients — each day. We aim to be alert, active and creative in shaping our conversations, our environment, and our relationships. We approach belonging as an activity, something we build together — every day.

Building global diversity and choosing to grow.

We’ve launched a new Global Design Ensemble, a group of POAL coaches from the US, Europe and Asia, along with company leaders and founders. This team is engaged in the personal and organizational growth needed to bring equity, diversity and belonging to our internal conversations and in our client solutions — what we do and how we do it. In this way, the Global Design Ensemble holds all of us accountable for our growth as anti-racists and leadership development practitioners.

Our guiding principles

POAL’s historic roots are in social activism, and we have always understood that human development must be at the center of any social transformation. Here are the principles that guide our development as a team:

Choose to grow, not know. Be continuously curious, impacted by and appreciative of the differences among us. Our gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, class, physical and mental abilities and difference — all have both particular and universal impact in our lives. Be open to hearing how others see and experience the world, and to the impact our choices have on others.


See and appreciate our identity groups, and be curious about our unique histories and humanity. Appreciating the impact of being a member of a particular identity group or global region — while simultaneously seeing and being with the actual human being (and not a label) — is not easy to do in our culture. We are building brave environments that allow us to ask more and make our assumptions seeable.


Make meaning together. Approach every conversation as a chance to co-create meaning (and recognize that’s the activity we are always doing). Language matters more than ever.


Let’s play. When we play together we experience visceral connections with one another. We can see more of who we each are, we are more brave, we can reimagine and try new ways of talking to one another, and we are freed from the need to get it right. In play, we can see more clearly that our systems of oppression and the status quo were created by humans and can be changed.


Value and learn from the deep and long history of social activism — and continue to take action and learn. While change is possible — and happening — the production and reinforcement of systemic oppression has been deliberate and is ongoing. We must be attuned to continuous efforts to divide us and catalyze hatred and violence, while we see and build upon emerging positive progress.

“Whoever told you that changing the world can be done without changing yourself?”  

— POAL founder Fred Newman, in a song lyric from “The Task,” adapted from the play by East German playwright Heiner Müller.