KMA Diversity & Inclusion

Our Mission

KMA provides high-impact learning not for its own sake, but as part of a social argument that leads to social change. We enable socially and culturally diverse work groups to achieve inclusion at all levels of an organization. In short, our mission is to create workplaces that work for everyone.

Jean Mavrelis

Founder and CEO

“Early in my career I was a minority white middle school teacher on Chicago's West Side. As I learned to navigate the challenges of my new school, I experienced firsthand communication style differences tied to culture, and discovered important lessons about my style and culture, as well. What I learned in that experience continues to drive our work at KMA - providing strategies that positively impact communication that results in greater inclusion at every level of an organization.

Additionally, religion is one of my favorite areas of study. I love teasing out the impact of religion on culture. I grew up with an Irish Catholic mother and Lithuanian Jewish father. My maiden name was Goldstein. I never quite fit in the Catholic environment where I grew up, nor could I ever be Jewish without a Jewish mother. I learned that people's sense of who I was often had nothing to do with who I imagined myself to be. As a result I realized how important it was for me to be authentic.

My struggle and appreciation for authenticity has created a special place in my heart for transgender people. It is the ultimate challenge for individuals to be authentic when their brain is gendered differently from their assigned birth sex. Much of my research has focused on gender patterns of difference and that includes the unique challenges for LGBT employees in the workplace. To achieve inclusion, organizations have to recognize, welcome and promote the unique differences and strengths of all of their employees. That is what drives our work.”

Thomas Kochman

Founder and COO

“My experience in the diversity field covers a span of more than 45 years, as researcher, teacher, consultant and trainer. I started out in the mid 60s, at the time being white and talking about black language and culture were considered an anomaly. There were also a few times when I felt I was an anachronism, especially during the highly politicized late 60s and 70s when blacks viewed with suspicion anyone white theorizing about or analyzing black life. Yet, even then, I felt I was still judged by the value and relevance of what I brought to the table notwithstanding that I was also white.

One of the things I learned early from working in the black community and which has stayed with me to this day was that it was important to be sincere. African Americans called it "walking the talk." Where I grew up we called it "putting your money where your mouth is." Both notions make the point: talk without social and political follow up and follow through, is facile and empty. I resonated with this activist view then and still do. That's why I chose to work in the diversity field – it is an excellent forum for social activists.”