Experienced. Authentic.

Improving your organization’s overall effectiveness is our passion.

We’re a little different than many of today’s DEI consultants. We’ve been at the forefront for nearly 50 years, helping define diversity, equity, and inclusion and developing actionable, sustainable strategies that facilitate important, lasting change. Our history is decades long, our experience is real world and personal, and we’re more determined than ever to make a powerful impact through DEI.

About Us

Nearly 50 years ago, our late co-founder, Merlin G. Pope, Jr. came to understand something critical about workplace cultures that he later articulated this way: Diversity will
either be a tremendous source of strength or weakness, but it will never be neutral.

What he found was that organizations that understand and embrace the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their people will be far more successful in what they can achieve and in their ability to attract and retain talent. By contrast, companies that ignore or even stifle diversity will find themselves struggling with issues of miscommunication, lower productivity, and poor job satisfaction. His own research had statistically proven it.

This was the foundation around which Merlin and his wife, Patricia devoted their life’s work, creating Pope Consulting, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training and consultancy company created to develop greater awareness of bias and strengthen cultural competency in the workplace.

Today, we are a second-generation consulting firm and DEI resource of choice for organizations of all sizes in all industries, helping them create inclusive workplace cultures that allow every team member to feel seen and valued, and as a result, strengthen their bottom line in quantifiable ways.

Our approach is flexible and adaptable, allowing us to meet organizations wherever they are on their DEI journey, whether it’s Day 1 or Year 10. Led by warm, knowledgeable facilitators with decades of experience, Pope’s programs aim to help people understand their own conscious and unconscious biases so they can create authentic relationships built on trust and understanding.

When you partner with Pope Consulting, you are working with a caring, passionate team committed to guiding your organization through uncomfortable conversations and helping you come out stronger on the other side. It’s not always easy, but the value of the return is far greater than the investment, not just today, but long term. And not just in the workplace.

Because there’s no greater reward than to hear that the lessons we’ve shared reach beyond office walls into people’s personal lives and their communities.

These are the meaningful seeds of change that Merlin and Patricia Pope started planting back in the 1970s.

There is always more work to be done in bringing greater understanding among people of diverse backgrounds. At Pope Consulting, we feel privileged to do the work that gets these conversations started.

Our Mission

We eliminate barriers to inclusion so individuals, organizations, and communities can leverage the power of diversity.

Our Vision

Every person seen. Every person valued.

Our Values

We fully embrace everything we teach, understanding that the ways in which we are both alike and different from each other help make our work stronger and our experiences richer.


We understand the enormous importance of the work we do, both in shifting perspectives of people who are from well-represented cultures and giving voice to people who aren’t.


We honor the determination and groundbreaking work of our co-founder, Merlin G. Pope, Jr., carrying both his insights and his spirit forward as we evolve to meet the needs of a changing world.


We recognize the responsibility we’ve been entrusted with to care for our clients’ people, and we conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity.

Our Team

As DEI pioneers, it’s our passion to empower and equip organizations to make positive change. We bring decades of experience in diversity and inclusion to each assessment, training, and consultation. We look forward to working with you.

Patricia C. Pope
CEO & Chief Creative Officer
Merlin Pope III
Brandi Helton
Operations Director
Adam C. Pope
Marketing Manager
Kendall Wright
Master Facilitator/Senior Consultant
Pam Rincones
Senior Consultant
Mary McFarland
Senior Consultant
Audrey Hines
Senior Consultant
Grant Doster
Master Facilitator/Senior Consultant
Donna Sartini
Senior Consultant
Our History


Merlin G. Pope, Jr., Pope’s late co-founder, pursued his doctorate at Yale University while simultaneously commuting from New Haven, CT to Cincinnati, OH to work as an external consultant at Procter & Gamble—monumental achievements for a Black man faced with numerous race-related barriers during that time.

Companies, like P&G, were doing what was required of them by the recently passed Affirmative Action laws passed to help combat racial discrimination—and later gender discrimination—in the workplace, recruiting and hiring Black employees. But they were unsure of how to make it work once black engineers had been hired.

Several visionary Division Leaders at P&G realized their managers and employees would benefit from racial awareness training.

In 1976, Merlin co-founded Behavioral Science Applications, Inc. and shortly thereafter, he created the first business case for diversity and inclusion, which examined racial/ethnic diversity and the average annual productivity increase. His work at P&G contributed to his doctoral dissertation research at Yale, which compared how long it took newly hired White vs Black engineers to be “earning their keep plus $1.00.”

Patricia also worked in the engineering division of P&G in Cincinnati. Her curiosity about how things work created new opportunities that led to her appointment to a newly created position in the Organization Development Department of the Engineering Division. Her focus was creating development programs for women and increasing the representation of Black women in the Division.

In 1977, Patricia and Merlin began seeing each other outside of work, personally, while also professionally developing diversity & equity training content and tools, as well as creating marketing materials and the business systems that would be necessary to ‘scale the consulting business’ beyond one client.

By the late 1970s, other Fortune 500 companies outside of Cincinnati began hearing about Pope Consulting’s unique approach to Affirmative Action that focused on leveraging diversity to increase productivity.

Patricia left P&G in 1979 to join Merlin founding the new business.


Patricia and Merlin married in 1980.

In 1983, they reincorporated as Pope & Associates, Inc.

With Merlin and Patricia’s guidance, many organizations began to see the link between having a workforce that reflected their diverse customer base and innovation, productivity, and growth.


When Merlin G. Pope, Jr. passed away in 1998 Patricia took over as CEO and Chief Creative Officer.

In 2018, Merlin and Patricia’s first son, Merlin G. Pope III, joined the company as Vice President and eventually became President.

Second son, Adam Pope joined in 2020 as project manager.

To date, more than 1 million people across the globe have benefited from Merlin & Patricia’s unique bottom-line approach to diversity, inclusion, and culture change.

We are a certified Women-owned U.S. Federal Contractor.