Areas of Practice
Independent consultant, based in the California Bay Area, supporting nonprofits and foundations
My focus is on facilitating change in organizations. While I’m a strategic thinker, I thrive at getting things done and getting to results: whether helping an organization strengthen its monitoring & learning capacity, making a cumbersome process more efficient, or developing a positive team culture. I love bringing people together to accomplish something, so my work often involves facilitating collaborations and group discussions. I do not focus on a particular issue area, but enjoy learning new fields and am particularly interested in issues around at-risk youth, mass incarceration, poverty alleviation, and international development. Below are some of areas where I can provide support to your nonprofit or foundation.
Feedback Loops & Using Data for Improvement
Working with staff to identify what data is useful to collect for improving programs; assessing data collection systems; identifying effective data visualizations, facilitating learning and reflection on data. Experienced in staff & constituent feedback.
Designing and facilitating team retreats; providing project management support for collaborative efforts; managing advisory or working groups; strengthening teams and improving meetings.
Organizational Learning & Reflection
Identifying appropriate structures for learning; facilitating and designing specific learning sessions; providing documentation and follow-up resources. Familiar with a variety of learning and reflection tools (pre-mortems, open space, world cafe, etc).
Process Improvement & Organizational Change
Assessing internal processes and identifying areas for improvement; designing and implementing new processes; working with staff and leadership to roll out changes; conducting follow-up assessments.
Writing brief teaching case studies based on secondary research and interviews with experts; facilitating case study discussions to learn and generate new insights.
Independent consultant, based in the California Bay Area, supporting foundations and nonprofits
My independent consulting practice is called CHANGE/D because I thrive off of bringing about meaningful change – helping a team, organization, or collaboration get from “before” to “after”. But meaningful change is not easy, so the “D” stands for a few things I think are important when facilitating change:
· Direction. Clarifying what is the change you hope to see; what is the problem you’re trying to solve; what is the opportunity you seek. While we don’t always know what the final destination will look like, we need some level of clarity on where we’re going and why it matters.
· Design. Being intentional and deliberate about how to get there – clarifying who the audience, user, or beneficiary is; considering who needs to be involved and what their roles are; developing a right-sized process for collecting information or developing a new solution; planning how information will be shared. All of that and more is involved in good design.
· Discussion (& Documentation). Meetings, gatherings, and convenings are often critical moments in bringing about change, but they require thoughtful planning, attention to participants' needs, and good facilitation – considering how to get the most out of limited time. Too often people forget what happened or what got decided, and the important conversation doesn’t carry through to action - appropriate documentation is critical.
· Data. Experience and judgment are critical, and data is another tool to help us figure out change. It gives us a common platform to base discussions off of, or it serves as a mirror to reflect what has been happening. And even if you disagree with the data, it provides a starting place to figure out where things really stand. (And in turn to collect better, more useful data.)
· Doing. Many of us have a tendency to want to research more, discuss more, do more planning. Sometimes we just need to try something to find out. Identify ways to prototype, implement something on a small scale, or test out an idea. We need to do our homework, do our analysis, and talk to experts, but learning by doing can be just as important.
CHANGE with Direction...Design...Discussion...Data...Doing
A bit of my background...
I’ve spent 20 years in the social sector, supporting both foundations and nonprofits to improve practices. I was the Program Director at Listen4Good, a national capacity-building initiative focused on client feedback loops for direct service nonprofits. I also served as an interim Evaluation & Learning Director at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula and at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Prior to that, I was the first Organizational Learning Officer at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There I focused on supporting our staff in monitoring and learning to improve. I facilitated internal learning across our six program areas, learning externally from experts, and encouraged conversations about things that went wrong in our work and what we could do differently next time. I worked to design and improve many of our processes -- from how we capture insights on grants to how we orient and provide ongoing development for program officers. Prior to the Organizational Learning role, I worked in Grants Management and Knowledge Management, collaborating closely with IT to develop shared data standards and to implement online tools and processes.
Before my time at the Hewlett Foundation, I was a management consultant at TDC in Boston. There I supported the After-School for All Partnership’s School Sites Initiative, which focused on expanding the number of children served in after-school programs. I also worked with a variety of Boston-area nonprofits to develop strategic plans and conduct community assessments. Other stints along the way include working at Dove Consulting (now Hitachi Consulting), conducting market research for banking and beverage companies; at Hasbro toy company in their Corporate Social Responsibility department; at Oxfam America in Finance and Operations; and at Cone, Inc., a cause marketing firm. I’ve volunteered for a number of organizations over the years, including Mercy Ships, where I spent a year as a K-8 teacher while docked in Sierra Leone and the Gambia. I currently serve on the board of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), which works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, supporting youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and those most at risk, to change their lives.
I have a B.A. in Asian Studies and History from Williams College and an M.B.A. from the International Business School at Brandeis. A native California Bay Area resident, I lived many years in Boston and spent a number of summers in Taiwan. I speak conversational Mandarin Chinese and a smattering of French and Japanese.