C2: The Hard Truth About Strategic Learning in Five Minutes
Wed Mar 14 2012, 9:00am–10:30am, Vashon (San Juan Level)
Tanya Beer, Center for Evaluation Innovation
Many grantmakers are trying to incorporate strategic learning into their grantmaking, particularly philanthropists who recognize that complex problems require dynamic and transformative solutions. Strategic learning promises that lessons that emerge from evaluation and other data sources will be timely, actionable, and forward-looking, and that strategists will gain insights that help them make their next move in a way that increases their likelihood of success. As a concept, strategic learning is an easy sell. But as a real-life practice, it is much messier and more complicated. Through a fast-paced, innovative storytelling format, 10 presenters, including grantees, program staff and evaluators, will focus their experiences into usable kernels of wisdom and unexpected insights.
Evaluation and Learning
Phillip Chung, The Colorado Trust
Assistant Director of Research, Evaluation and Strategic learning
Phillip Chung is the assistant director for research, evaluation and strategic learning at The Colorado Trust. In this role, Chung manages the development and implementation of evaluation initiatives, designs approaches to assess the progress and results of grant strategies and oversees internal and external strategies to foster systematic opportunities for learning. Previously, he was an evaluation consultant with the University of Colorado Denver Health and Behavioral Sciences department where he focused on issues of health access and public health insurance. He also has worked at The Wallace Foundation where he monitored multiple national grant programs focused on improving education leadership practices and policies.
Chung received his bachelor's in history and urban studies from Colorado College and a master's of science in social work from Columbia University.
Julia Coffman, Center for Evaluation Innovation
Julia Coffman founded the Center for Evaluation Innovation. She has close to 20 years of experience as an evaluator, and now specializes in the evaluation of advocacy, public policy and systems change efforts. For 15 years Coffman worked with the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), a research and evaluation organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Julia led HFRP’s evaluation work for over a decade, which included evaluating foundation and nonprofit initiatives and publishing The Evaluation Exchange, a nationally renowned periodical on emerging evaluation strategies and issues. She frequently writes and speaks about evaluation. She is the founder and former co-chair of the American Evaluation Association’s Advocacy and Policy Change Topical Interest Group.
Coffman received her graduate degree in justice studies from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Efrain Gutierrez, FSG
Strategic Learning and Evaluation Center
Efrain Gutierrez is an associate with the Strategic Learning and Evaluation Center (SLEC) at FSG. Gutierrez works on evaluation and strategic planning projects with a variety of major foundations and nonprofits including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). Prior to joining FSG, he conducted field research and evaluation in Central America for the Seattle International Foundation. He grew up in Capilla de Guadalupe Jalisco, Mexico and holds an master's of public administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs, where he graduated with the Daniel J. Evans Leadership Award.
Gutierrez is passionate about the role evaluation can play in helping the philanthropic sector be more strategic. Through his work at FSG he has seen the impact of evaluations that produce findings and insights that help social program leaders make more informed choices in real time.
Sanjeev Khagram, Innovations for Scaling Impact
Sanjeev Khagram is a professor of public affairs and international studies at the University of Washington and lead steward at Innovations for Scaling Impact. Khagram was selected as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and was lead author of the UN Secretary General’s Report on the Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis on the Poor in 2009. In past roles, he was the Wyss visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative, associate professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School, dean of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre and senior policy and strategy director at the World Commission on Dams. Khagram has published extensively, worked across sectors and all over the world, is of Asian Indian descent and was born and was a refugee of Uganda from the Idi Amin regime.
Sarah Stachowiak, Organizational Research Services
Sarah Stachowiak is the vice president and director of evaluation for Organizational Research Services. Since joining ORS in 2003, she has worked with a range of philanthropic, non-profit and public clients in areas such as early childhood, advocacy and policy change, community development, K-12 education/afterschool and the environment. Stachowiak has been particularly engaged in ORS’ advocacy-related work. She was one of the authors on "The Guide to Evaluating Advocacy and Policy" and lead author of "Pathways for Change: 6 Theories about How Policy Change Happens". Stachowiak is particularly interested in working with philanthropic clients on strategic learning or developmental evaluations and utilizing and expanding the current thinking in the field in these areas.
She received her master's in public administration from the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs.
William Bacon, The Duke Endowment
Director of Evaluation
William "Bill" Bacon leads evaluation at The Duke Endowment, which has an annual grantmaking budget of approximately $130 million, focused entirely on North and South Carolina. He joined the Endowment in 2009, after five years as a program officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Previously, he worked as an evaluator in the fields of mental health, youth development and teen pregnancy prevention. He holds a doctorate in psychology from Johns Hopkins University.
Tanya Beer, Center for Evaluation Innovation
Tanya Beer is associate director of the Center for Evaluation Innovation, which seeks to build the field of evaluation in areas where traditional program evaluation approaches are not always a good fit, such as advocacy evaluation, systems change and communications evaluation. Beer has a broad range of evaluation experience in the philanthropic, nonprofit and public sectors. Prior to joining the Center, she was assistant director of research, evaluation, and strategic learning at The Colorado Trust, a private foundation focused on improving the health and well being of all Coloradans. There she developed and managed evaluations, facilitated the application of evaluation and research data to decision making and supported knowledge sharing and learning within the foundation and with external audiences. Beer holds master's in public administration and international relations from Syracuse University and a bachelor's in English and communication studies from Drake University in Iowa.
Gigi Barsoum, Barsoum Policy Consulting
Gigi Barsoum is the founder and principal of Barsoum Policy Consulting. Her practice focuses on the development and evaluation of advocacy strategies and programs for foundations and non-profits. She has a particular interest in the role of networks, alliances, advocacy infrastructure and movements in advancing policy and social change. Prior to this she was a program manager at The California Endowment where she managed a cross-cutting portfolio of policy advocacy grants. She has over fifteen years of public policy experience at the local, state and federal levels in government and philanthropy. She holds a doctorate in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and is based in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Lamson, Good Food Strategies
Jennifer Lamson has been working in public interest advocacy and strategic communications for more than 20 years, focusing for the last decade on bringing about a more healthy and sustainable food system. As co-founder and partner at Good Food Strategies, she worked with NGOs, foundations, farmers, chefs, business leaders and government agencies on policy and public awareness campaigns, product launches and strategic assessments, including a review of the sustainable agriculture and food systems landscape for the 11th Hour Project. Current projects include spearheading an annual national poll on agriculture and environment issues for The David & Lucile Packard Foundation; advising the Stewardship Engagement Initiative, a pilot project to bring more conservation-minded farmers into the policy dialog; and developing a sustainability strategy for a local farm and organic food delivery service. Lamson also spent 10 years leading national citizen advocacy campaigns for Common Cause.
Ehren Reed, Innovation Network
Ehren Reed is a Director with the evaluation firm Innovation Network. He brings over ten years of experience managing research and evaluation projects for grantmakers and grantees in the fields of human services, human rights, and advocacy. He is a diehard promoter of evaluation use and a firm believer in the power of evaluation and learning as a support for effective strategy. A practiced trainer and facilitator, he leads workshops regularly on topics including advocacy evaluation, evaluation planning, evaluation capacity building, and the intersection of evaluation and strategy.