Kayla approaches evaluation as a tool for understanding and growth—she uses her practice as an opportunity to learn, interpret, and make decisions about programs and interventions. Kayla brings to the team experience in international evaluation and expertise in creating qualitative and quantitative methods that address the needs of varied settings. She is skilled at putting all her strengths to use working across multiple stakeholders to create greater use. She also has rich experience in report-writing and the presentation of findings.
Kayla is skilled at understanding the contexts of organizations and the communities with whom they work, uncovering and explaining how the alignment of these contexts can lead to greater impact. In her relationships with clients, Kayla emphasizes the value of lifting up community voices to understand the strengths, challenges, and impacts of programs within communities. She enjoys getting to know clients over several years, serving as a thought partner as research, evaluation, and community engagement opportunities arise.
Youth homelessness and out-of-home placement
Kayla has rich experience working with clients focused on youth homelessness and out-of-home placement, including strategic planning and designing programs to meet the needs of this specific population. She has worked with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on the Minnesota Youth in Transition (MNYTD) survey since 2014. Through MNYTD, Kayla and her team survey youth as they age out of foster care into adulthood. This area of work has evolved as The Improve Group makes use of this valuable data. For example, Kayla and her team recently supported DHS to identify five key outcomes on which to focus, based on what youth have said in the survey. Kayla is also leading a team supporting a housing-first development that will provide on-site, trauma informed services for youth who are transitioning from out-of-home placement to adulthood.
The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Senior Consultant | 2017-present | Plan, lead, and execute evaluation project activities to make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure clients’ investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact.
The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Associate Consultant | 2014-2017 | Worked collaboratively with project team to execute activities.
RECLAIM! | Minneapolis, MN | Development Intern | 2013-2014 | Initiated research on social enterprise opportunities, resulting in continued efforts to develop products for additional fundraising opportunities year-round and created culturally sensitive programming that included the youth served by the program.
ForestAction Nepal | Kathmandu, Nepal | Student Consultant | 2013 | Designed and facilitated focus groups and interviews with stakeholders involved in forestry product markets as well as those who faced barriers in entering the market, compiled data into reports accessible for those with limited knowledge of English, and presented findings at multiple conferences across the country.
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota | Master of Development Practice
Arcadia University | Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish
Want to learn more about Kayla? Check out their full resume here!