Cathy Salit

Founder of Global Play Brigade
Executive Coach
CEO Emerita of Performance of a Lifetime, 
Faculty at East Side Institute
Advisory Board at Freestyle Love Supreme Academy

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Cathy Salit is a social entrepreneur, author, performer, executive coach, and performance activist. She began her career as an upstart and risk-taker at the age of 13, when she dropped out of eighth grade and started a radical, alternative school in an abandoned storefront in NYC. This unusual endeavor put her on an unorthodox life path, which ultimately led to her building many different kinds of radical, postmodern learning and development environments that help people to challenge the status quo and become who they are not…yet.

One of those environments is Performance of a Lifetime (POAL), where, as co-founder and now CEO emerita, she spearheaded the creation of a new approach for learning and development in the business world. Combining theater, improvisation, play and performative psychology, POAL broke new pedagogical ground in helping leaders and teams to work more collaboratively, creatively and effectively. That pioneering work helped to galvanize what has become a new field, with books, articles, research, conferences and consultancies now exploring the use of theater, play and improv “off the stage.”

Cathy’s work and thought leadership have been featured in Daniel H. Pink’s bestselling books To Sell is Human, Social Construction in Action: Contributions from the Taos Institute’s 25th Anniversary Conference, Harvard Business Review,, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, CEO World Magazine, and many mainstream and underground podcasts and radio shows. She’s also a frequent speaker at conferences on social change, innovation, and creativity. 

Cathy is the author of Performance Breakthrough: A Radical Approach to Success at Work (Hachette 2016). The book explores her Becoming Principle® methodology and features real-life case studies, as well as techniques and exercises for readers to create performance breakthroughs in their everyday lives. Praise for Performance Breakthrough has come from top influencers like Susan Cain, Ken Gergen, Lois Holzman, Sheila Heen, Stephen Nachmanovitch, and Dan Pink, who writes, “This remarkable book will electrify your work and enliven your soul.”

In 2020, Cathy opened a new chapter of her (radical) life, devoting herself full-time to promoting social change by helping to grow the global performance activism movement. In the face of the pandemic, she founded an international community/network called The Global Play Brigade (GPB). Hundreds of performance activists, artists, educators, therapists, clowns and improvisers have gathered online and are offering free play, performance and emotional support play/workshops across the world via zoom and WhatsAPP. As of the writing of this bio, over 5000 people have participated/co-created together with the GPB, and they’re just getting started. Cathy’s an organizer for the Performing the World (PTW) and the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) Global conferences, an advisory board member of the Freestyle Love Supreme Academy; and on the faculty of the East Side Institute, the international center for performance activism. Cathy continues to perform musical improv comedy, and after a long hiatus she’s back singing jazz at festivals, clubs, dives, and (now during and perhaps post COVID) on small little boxes on screens across the world.