Dr. Nadya Pohran, PhD

An empathy-grounded problem solver who loves understanding people, optimising systems, and enabling community managers to thrive in their work.

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Dr. Nadya Pohran is a cultural anthropologist, writer, educator, and creative strategist. Her work is grounded in empathy and human-centered design principles: she helps individuals and communities to see the world with new perspectives and to create and implement holistic solutions. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she researched the interpersonal challenges that arise in diverse communities.

tick-icon Podcast & Keynote Speaker

Nadya delivers public lectures, keynote addresses, and podcast interviews on Community, Empathy & Interreligious Dialogue and Spirituality.

tick-iconTeaching and courses:

Nadya teaches a crash-course in Empathy and using human-centered design to build compelling user experiences.

Podcast and Keynote content:

Nadya delivers public lectures, keynote addresses, and podcast interviews on the following topics: 

  • Community (the history of communities; the value that communities offer us today; the challenges that come when trying to create engaged communities,e tc.) 
  • Read Nadya’s series of articles on Community


  • Empathy (what is empathy and what is its relationship to design thinking and corporate anthropology; how can empathy be used by community managers to understand their members and design better community experiences; how can high-empathy people build and nurture engaged communities; etc.) 
  • Listen to Nadya’s webinar on How Empathy Can Be Used as a Catalyst for Community Growth 
  • Read how Nadya used empathy as a project manager to rapidly scale a healthtech startup during the COVID-19 pandemic 


  • Interreligious dialogue and spirituality (what happens when interreligious conflicts arise in our communities; how do we form good relationships with people when we hold different belief systems; what spiritual practices are used to strengthen community ties) 
    • Read Nadya’s magazine article on Anekantevada, 

Teaching and courses:

Nadya teaches a crash-course in Empathy and using human-centered design to build compelling user experiences


Overview of course:

  •     Five 2-hour sessions with your team.
  •     Max participants: 10
  •     Webinar-style presentation plus guided activities and Q&A
  •     Overview introduction into each of the five sessions with opportunities to apply the knowledge to your community context  


What you will learn:

  •     Session 1: Empathy and human-centered design
  •     Session 2: Developing personas of your community
  •     Session 3: Using journey maps to design optimal user experiences  
  •     Session 4: Applying qualitative research methods to gather and interpret user feedback 
  • Session 5: Interactive hands-on session for team members to practice applying what they’ve learned and receiving feedback from instructor


Geared towards:

Teams who want to bring human-centered design principles and techniques in-house in order to maximise their ability to design for, and gather feedback from, their users and stakeholders without continually needing to bring in external expertise. This course is introductory; we can adapt the content level to expand upon your team’s current knowledge-base

Meet our consultants


Maria has helped us to get the mentoring programme off the ground by providing invaluable advice and content. She enabled us to focus on a number of key communications with different target groups and provided both the content and segmentation for these. As a small team, working with Maria saved us a lot of time and resource and has helped us to grow the programme much more quickly than we would have done on our own; she has saved us a good few months of work.

It has been great to speak to someone who understands the pressures of running the platform single-handedly and we wouldn’t have seen the growth we have in the last 6 months had we not worked with Maria.

The mentoring resources provided by Maria are great and have been very well received by alumni and students. They are generating a lot of views on our Digital Library and saved us a lot of work in sourcing these resources ourselves.

The whole consultancy process was very straightforward and easy to do, and working with Maria has been an absolute pleasure. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and has been a great support to me in other areas of the platform as well.

Emma Deabill
Alumni Relations & Development, University of Portsmouth

Arrange a conversation

To arrange an initial conversation to discuss how we can help understand your community and drive deeper connection, reach out.

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