Nia Palmares pursues a more creative,
just and free life for everyone.
We build freedom in the first person.
We help people find themselves
in the center of their experiences,
We live and do this work with
vision that sees beyond what is,
and wisdom that evokes legacy.

We are a consulting firm that believes free people do their best work and live their best lives, so we work to make it so.  We offer professional development and executive coaching using research-based approaches to organizational change, and the methods we use appreciate individuals and the groups they make holistically and systemically.  We exercise design thinking practices to generate visions of things unseen.  We lean on the insights and gifts of King, Davis and Coates as much as Hurston, Kincaid and Beatty – Lee, Rhimes and Peele – Pryor, Cho and Chapelle. 

Our work sees the intersections of identity and power as foundational to every organization and experience, and we believe that changing relationships to identity and power is what changes organizations and experiences.  Those shifts are difficult.  Those shifts are virtuous.  They are equity and justice.  They are the conditions that make diversity and inclusion possible.  They are the focus of our mission, the objects of our imagination, and pieces of the legacy we extend.

Our Name


Nia is the fifth of Kwanzaa’s seven principles. Each principle guides a day of reflection and emphasizes a collective way of being. They highlight how each part – of our communities, our relationships and our lives – contributes to the whole of society. Just as the foot, hand, eye and ear benefit the one body, Kwanzaa’s principles remind us that all of our unique abilities and activities join all things that work together for good.

Nia is a Swahili word that translates best as “intention.” The day of Kwanzaa devoted to Nia calls us to reflect on our purpose, to be deliberate in naming our motivations, and ensure the cause is noble, generous and uplifting. A deep dive into the question of “Why?” should discover answers fortified in abundance and draped with unconditional love.

That’s Nia.

What’s our why? The answer comes from the story of Palmares.


Over the course of the Maafa, enslaved Africans in Brazil manifest their will to be free. In the 17th century, through fight or flight, their self-determination took them miles away from sugar plantations and into the Amazon. There in the jungle, groups of people, fifty to one hundred per, built settlements called macambos so that they could live away from their captors and with each other. In the easternmost part of South America, several macombos formed an alliance to ward off colonial military attacks. With a common history, a common enemy and a common purpose came a shared identity – Quilombo dos Palmares. It would stand as a living testament to freedom for 98 years (1596-1694), defeat six European armies, and birth generations of sovereign people in the shadow of the world’s largest slavery project.

Scholars vary in their count of Palmares’ population. The low sits at 10,000. The high is at 20,000. We know, even absent a census, Palmares was a society informed and sustained by the diversity of its masses. Political leaders and royal families created a government with Angolan principles and European practices. Religious leaders worshiped the Divine with Bantu, Indigenous and Catholic customs. The citizens of Palmares were primarily self-emancipated Africans and included Indigenous people, Muslim people, Jewish people, and Portuguese people. Anyone outcast in the colonists’ society could and did find acceptance in Palmares. What it took to live free, Palmares inherited, discovered, invented, and built, and then they taught it to everyone.

All of this is more than noble. More than amazing. More than praiseworthy. Still, a final detail earned the eponym for this company.

To add to their numbers, Palmares would frequently send its soldiers to raid nearby colonial settlements. After the fight, or perhaps without one, enslaved people would be brought from the plantations to the jungle and learn an unforgettable law. If the soldiers met you in bondage, bondage is where you’d start - even in Palmares. You don’t get your freedom until you free someone else.

This company is named in honor of the priority, ethic and accomplishment of freedoms that Palmares expressed.

May we be worthy.