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.

At Performance of a Lifetime (POAL), a globally diverse, healthy, thriving culture is essential to our team’s well being and to our work helping leaders attend to the human side of their strategies. The work we each do at POAL is grounded in our unique humanity.

In order to support our clients’ growth, we also need to continue to grow. We invite our team to prioritize culture-building — how we work together each day — in ways that acknowledge that systemic oppression is infused in, and impacts all aspects of, our personal and work lives, and that human beings are the builders and shapers of our environments.

Belonging, at POAL, is an ongoing activity of co-creating the environment in which everyone has agency to give and shape the environment from many different kinds of roles. We aim to be alert, active, and creative in shaping our conversations, our environment, and ways of working. 

Building global equity and choosing to grow.

We are building and continuously advancing operational routines and practices to ensure that we are alert to diversity and are building belonging in every phase of our work. We work to operationalize every aspect of our organization with inclusion and accessibility in mind — starting with the first conversation we have with new clients or new ensemble members. 

We continue a sustainable shift to greater diversity across our leadership team, distributing decision-making more broadly. And we share our profits across our ensemble, the co-creators of innovations in human development.

Our belonging practices

Belonging and becoming are interdependent. Seeing, and working to support, others’ capacity to grow and change — and become — increases belonging. And when we feel belonging we can take risks, grow, and become. 

We have developed a set of Belonging Practices to guide us in our behaviors and practices in our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We apply these principles both externally with our clients, and internally with our ensemble:

Build belonging each day. Belonging is built in each conversation and in the relationships and community we cultivate. We want each of us to experience, “I feel valued working at POAL. I feel invited to contribute my ideas. I can challenge peers and company leaders. I can disagree with the direction we are taking and be heard.”

So let’s listen, be curious, and be kind. Let’s see the ensemble, the particular humans and their context. Let’s attend to the unique histories of our relationships. Let’s build environments where we can explore our assumptions, challenge and/or build with them. Let’s appreciate, rather than assume to know, the depth of pain different ones of us experienced historically or daily.


Appreciate language and be makers of meaning. Let’s approach every conversation as a chance to co-create meaning (and recognize that’s the activity we are always doing). This is a particularly important performance when engaging the impact of racial, cultural, and gender differences and bias in our daily work. Definitions are a starting point, but they become meaningless (and can be hurtful and dangerous) without ongoing conversation aimed at building new ways forward together. 


Choose to grow, not know. Let’s be builders of new ways of being in the world. Let’s build with who we each are and are becoming. Let’s be continuously curious, impacted by and appreciative of the differences among us. Let’s find joy in our unique histories. Let’s acknowledge the pain and dehumanizing impact of racism and oppression in all its forms on all of us. Let’s learn what matters to each of us when it comes to transforming the world and how POAL can contribute. Let’s create something new with the pain and the joy.


See our identity groups, and simultaneously be curious about our unique humanity. Let’s embrace that identity groups matter deeply in the world, and not assume we know how identity matters to each of us. While our gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, and physical and neurological differences all have both particular and universal impact in our lives, we choose not to assume how identity matters to each of us, or to any specific human being.

Living in this place of appreciating the impact of being a member of a particular group and seeing and being with the actual human being (and not a label), is not an easy performance in our culture. Building brave environments that allow us to ask more and make our assumptions seeable is a performance we want to lean into.

And as a company led by people living in the U.S., let’s be aware of the learning and intentionality required to see and lead with a global lens.


Let’s play! …as a means for connection and activating new ways of engaging. While it may sound counterintuitive, we see play and performance as essential to taking racism and all forms of oppression and exclusion seriously. POAL’s activism has always been grounded in the human development that comes through play and performance. When we play together we experience immediate and visceral connection with one another. In play we are more brave, we can reimagine, we can try on new ways of talking to one another, and we’re freed from getting it right and emboldened to do a “take 2”. We can see that our systems of oppression and the way things have been done in the past can be changed.

With the courage to act, and the freedom of play, we can be more active allies to all those who are marginalized. 


Value history and continue to learn. Let’s value and learn from the deep and long history of social activism — and continue to take action, learn, and build new tools for now. Let’s appreciate that while change and transformation are 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.