Our Team

Amber Madison, LMHC

Cofounder

Amber is a licensed therapist, award-winning lecturer, nationally noted author, and renowned gender expert. Her thought-leadership has been featured everywhere from The Today Show to MTV to NPR as well as in FastCompany, TheAtlantic, TheWallStreetJournal, Newsweek, and many more. She's worked with companies of all sizes, from the Fortune 100 to 100-person start ups, leveraging her knowledge of psychology and communications to implement unique and innovative D&I solutions.

Liz Kofman-Burns, Ph.D.

Cofounder

Liz is a research scientist with 10 years of experience studying and implementing high-impact D&I solutions. She’s passionate about helping companies bridge the gap between academic research and reality. Her research has appeared in Psychological Inquiry, Behavioral Scientist, and Journal of Work & Occupations among others. Previously, she was Head of Client Success at Talvista, a SaaS hiring platform, where she helped design and implement inclusive recruiting and hiring tools at scale. Liz has a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA.

Mary Aranyos

Consultant

Mary’s professional background is rooted in the Tech industry, where she helped scale customer success teams for fast-growing startups like Prezi and Xola. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, she came into contact with D&I topics which resonated deeply with her life experiences and her work in Tech. Eager to contribute to her community and go a step further by implementing solutions that work, she began her current role as a Consultant at Peoplism. Over the course of her career, Mary has held positions in recruiting, sales, and customer success at early stage startups and large public companies.

Maya Hurley-Wales

Consultant

Maya comes to Peoplism with deep experience in HR and the tech industry. Most recently, Maya was part of the HR team at Clever, an EdTech company that helps improve technology in the classroom for students and teachers. As one of the only Black identifying women within many organizations, Maya partnered with colleagues and business leaders to identify systems, policies, and practices that contributed to feelings of inequity and exclusion. She co-founded D&I programs at each of her previous companies to help support employees. In doing this work, she developed an even bigger passion for making sure all employees feel recognized, valued, and heard.

Cynthia Orduña

Consultant

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.

Danielle Callendar

Consultant

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.

Josh De Leon

Consultant

Josh is a D&I 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 D&I workshops across the U.S., convened and collaborated with government executives on management and human capital issues, and worked extensively with community-based organizations and leaders. He has a master's in Modern Thought in Literature from Stanford University with an emphasis in identity, art, and social movements.

Catherine Gillespie-Vargas

Consultant

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.

Kim Nguyen

Facilitator

Kim Nguyen, M.A., is a doctoral candidate at City University of New York in the Critical Social and Personality Psychology program. She holds a masters in Human Development and Social Intervention from NYU, has served as an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute and CUNY colleges, and is a regular contributor to Think Olio lectures. Kim’s research involves studying macro-level forces that shape refugee experiences of adapting to living in the US, inspired by her own families’ experience of emigrating to the US after the US-Vietnam war. Kim is interested in the different ways in which social injustices and power dynamics dehumanize and disrupt our ability to connect with one another (and ourselves) and therefore, hinder our ability to grow.

Advisory Board

Jennifer Kim

Startup advisor, Head of Talent, and Diversity & Inclusion strategist

Jennifer Kim is a sought-after strategist and advisor to top Silicon Valley startups. As Head of People at Lever, Jen led a unique talent strategy that made Lever a widely recognized leader in D&I, with a 50/50 gender balance and significant representation of Black/Latinx, LGBTQ, and parents/caregivers. She has partnered with Udemy to create a course on Diversity & Inclusion, and also runs a popular “D&I for startups” advice column, Inclusion At Work.

Joah Spearman

Founder & CEO, Localeur

Joah is the founder and CEO of Localeur, a community of locals sharing authentic recommendations in 120+ cities on their favorite local places to eat, drink and more. Since founding Localeur in 2013, Joah has struck partnerships with JetBlue Airways, Lyft, Match.com, Bonobos and HotelTonight, and he has gone on to become one of the only black founders in history to raise $5 million for a technology startup outside of Silicon Valley. Joah has written extensively about his journey as a black founder in tech, and has been profiled in Inc. Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine and countless other outlets while contributing to The New York Times, Huffington Post, PopSugar and others. Joah is the co-author of Real Role Models: Successful African Americans Beyond Pop Culture (Texas Press). 

Ron Storn

Chief People Officer at Zume

Ron is the first Chief People Officer at Zume Inc, a growth startup disrupting the food delivery, automation, and logistics space. Most recently, Ron lead human resources and recruiting at Lyft, where he grew the company from 80 to over 2,000+ team members. Ron led the design and implementation of Lyft’s HR infrastructure, including innovative approaches to data-driven engagement and inclusion programming, performance assessment, and continuous feedback. As a culture leader, Ron ensured that Lyft’s founder-led culture continued to keep pace with the company’s growth by championing the formation of company core values to help foster a differentiated and inspiring work environment. Ron has over 20 years of experience leading recruiting and human resources teams, including stints at Facebook and Google. Previously, Ron founded Targus Human Capital Partners, a boutique executive search firm specializing in Executive placements for emerging and mid-market companies. 

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