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Damali Peterman

Global negotiation expert, lawyer, mediator, and founder & CEO of Breakthrough ADR

  • About Damali Peterman

    Damali Peterman, Esq., is the CEO and founder of the prominent global conflict resolution firm, Breakthrough ADR, LLC. Breakthrough specializes in innovative ways to help individuals, companies, and institutions prevent, manage, and resolve situations in the workplace and beyond, creating frictionless environments and improved efficiency in the process. Peterman also serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and ombudsman for the prestigious JAMS, Inc., the world’s largest private alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider.

    Peterman’s forthcoming book Negotiating While Black: Be Who You Are to Get What You Want (June 2024) is the definitive, inclusive resource on negotiations and implicit bias. In her empowering talks, she presents a uniquely flexible framework for approaching any kind of negotiation. Her proven, research-backed techniques help everyone from C-suite executives to employees and entrepreneurs succeed in getting what they want, regardless of their identities or backgrounds.

    A seasoned public speaker, Peterman has presented to Fortune 100 companies such Google and Mastercard and has been featured in Forbes, People, NBC, CBS, FOX, Black News Channel, ABC, and many more. She is also an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, a judge for international mediation competitions, and a trainer for a court-annexed mediation program in Nairobi, Kenya. She has also worked as a trainer in mediation and conflict de-escalation for the New York City Police Department.

    Prior to Breakthrough ADR, Peterman founded Damali Law LLC, which focused on corporate transactions. Previously, she was an assistant general counsel at Deloitte LLP and a private equity and M&A senior associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Peterman also completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and is a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow. She has received several awards including the Social Change Agent of the Year Award from NIMBLE, Women in Business Award from Hudson Valley Magazine, and Women Legal Entrepreneur of the Year from Women-Owned Law.

    She holds a B.A. from Spelman College, an M.A. from Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and The Links, Inc.

    Contact us about booking Damali Peterman for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    How to Be Who You Are To Get What You Want

    In our multifaceted, multicultural world, the one-size-fits-all approach taught in most negotiation guides isn't effective and disregards how much bias lies behind every negotiation. So how do we ensure we get what we want when bias may be involved? What can we do to get the other party to understand our perspective? And how can we determine when to negotiate and when to walk away? In this empowering and engaging talk, Damali Peterman shows how everything is potentially up for discussion, whether negotiating in the boardroom or in day-to-day life. She shares flexible, evidence-based strategies from her book, Negotiating While Black: Be Who You Are to Get What You Want, that work for all people, no matter their identities and teaches audiences a successful negotiating framework for leveraging who they are to get what they want. From the Foundational Five skills to the Negotiation Superpowers, Peterman’s tried-and-true techniques will help executives, employees, and entrepreneurs create win-win outcomes in any situation.

    Mastering Difficult Conversations & Effective Communication

    Communication is what connects us as coworkers and colleagues, families and friends, and as societies. But mastering it can be challenging for many people. Peterman provides insightful, research-backed tactics to improve communication style and successfully navigate difficult conversations in professional and personal circumstances.

    A Conversation with Damali Peterman

    In this dynamic and interactive session, Damali Peterman delves into her deep expertise as an award-winning mediator, attorney, and entrepreneur and answers questions from the audience or a moderator of your choice about negotiation, effective communication, creative problem solving, entrepreneurship, DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), or other topics of particular interest.

  • Video

  • Praise for Damali Peterman


    Was delighted to invite Damali Peterman to instruct in the art of negotiation to our New York-based teams, a demanding and talented group. She was instantly able to establish a rapport, credibility, and engagement… Damali is a charismatic and intelligent presenter who has developed effective principles that are applicable and impactful in today’s modern business environment.


    Damali did a negotiation workshop with my team in the Data and Services legal department at Mastercard, and everyone had a solid takeaway and raved about how useful the workshop was. I highly recommend Damali for her negotiation workshop and frankly anything she does, because if Damali is involved, you can count on an excellent work product!!


    I have worked with many professionals in the dispute resolution field. Many are quite excellent. Few rise to the level of Damali Peterman. As a mediator and conflict coach, the levels of empathy, commitment, insight and skill she brings to the table are impressive. Ms. Peterman is also an excellent trainer. She is one of the lead instructors at the New York Peace Institute’s New York Police Department mediation training program. I have worked alongside her and watched her transform roomful after roomful of very skeptical police officers into groups who can begin to appreciate the potential of mediation techniques to de-escalate conflict. Conflicts are inevitable; but when we can’t resolve them ourselves, it is comforting to know there are mediators like Damali Peterman out there.

    Hal Gessner, Gessner Mediation

    Damali was an empathetic and thoughtful advisor on the two occasions I reached out to her with a conflict issue. She asked a lot of helpful questions in assessing the situation and provided me with effective and creative solution to each conflict. What I love about Damali is that in addition to being super intelligent, she’s direct, which helps build immediate trust in her, as if she’s a long-time friend. I highly recommend her and her brilliant team!

    Corporate Attorney

    Praise for Negotiating While Black

    We are ALL negotiators, whether we realize it or not. Whether we’re buying a car, applying for a loan, asking for a raise, or advocating for a loved one, we’re negotiating all day, every day. This groundbreaking, powerful book teaches us how to actually ask for what we want—and sidestep any built-in bias we might encounter along the way. In Negotiating While Black, Damali Peterman shows that the only constant in every negotiation is you…and that’s more than enough.

    Tiffany Aliche, author of Get Good With Money

    Negotiating While Black is a real-world, everyday guide to getting what you want in any situation. Whether you’re trying to haggle for a new car (ugh!) or advocating for yourself and your loved ones, there’s invaluable information in here that will help you show up as yourself—and leverage that to your advantage, every time.

    Sunny Hostin, cohost of The View and author of I Am These Truths

    Negotiating While Black offers essential advice to anyone who has felt underestimated in a negotiation.

    Douglas Stone, coauthor of Difficult Conversations and Thanks for the Feedback

    Damali Peterman knows that how we’re perceived can shape our ability to negotiate, so she avoids the one-size-fits-all trap that most negotiation advisors fall prey to. We’re all individuals, so our style needs to reflect what’s true for us—while taking into account the wrongheaded assumptions others may make. Negotiating While Black offers ideas that can help everyone: Distinguishing what you want from what you need, being authentic without oversharing, the how of avoiding defensive spirals that keep us stuck. Damali’s insights on getting someone to listen even when they are biased are a revelation. Highly recommended!

    Sally Helgesen, author of How Women Rise

    Negotiating While Black fills in so many of the gaps in negotiation literature, making something that can often seem esoteric feel practical and doable. Peterman centers the reader, reminding each of us that being ourselves is our greatest superpower. This book is a gift and a guide to anyone who has been underestimated or othered.

    Elaine Lin Hering, author of Unlearning Silence
  • Books by Damali Peterman

  • Media About Damali Peterman

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Damali Peterman travels from New York, New York

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