Leah is a mentor and teacher who coaches The Improve Group’s staff of new and experienced evaluators. She has introduced hundreds of philanthropic, nonprofit, public, and corporate leaders to evaluation. Leah is an expert at gleaning insight from data for program planning, development, and evaluation. She loves thinking about design, applying her expertise and adaptability to ensure every project is creative and valuable. Since founding The Improve Group in 2000, Leah has been influential in infusing art and creative methods into evaluation. All her work is grounded in a deep commitment to community, which is embodied in The Improve Group’s Community-Responsive ApproachSM to evaluation.
Consulting for meaningful social change
Leah works with leaders and organizations that are focused on bringing about the large-scale changes needed to create a more just, equitable, and thriving world. Through her thoughtful consultation, she brings leaders and community members together to analyze issues and develop solutions. As a result, large-scale systems such as statewide disability services, programs designed to help youth in the child welfare system, and regional development work are now better attuned to the preferences of their communities. Leah’s consulting work focuses on people, data, and strategy. She draws on deep relationships with The Improve Group’s consultants, friends, and partners to build on her strengths and better serve organizations.
Leah has contributed to multiple frameworks that help people think about and elevate social change. She is part of the American Evaluation Association’s topical interest group on Social Impact Measurement. She also oversaw The Improve Group’s transition to becoming a Public Benefit Corporation, a reflection of its commitment to the greater public good. She was a contributing editor of the Impact Management Project’s social impact glossary
and has contributed to the development of GIIN’s social impact standards
. Leah’s work focuses on the leading edge of social benefit—from upending accountability systems to be community-driven, to uncovering new strategies for equity, to engaging the corporate sector in positive social change.
Community and field leadership
Leah offers leadership in the fields of evaluation, community development, and social enterprise. She nurtures and develops leaders using a reciprocity, asset-based model, which has helped her attract a creative and wise staff, talented partners, and the mission-driven organizations The Improve Group serves. Leah is skilled at recognizing and uplifting leaders from many places and perspectives. She often mentors entrepreneurs and new business owners and contributes to the advancement of social entrepreneurship in the social enterprise space. Leah listens carefully and strives to be helpful, focusing particularly on highlighting people’s strengths and understanding their challenges. In collaboratives, Leah often plays the role of helping the group adopt structures and practices that help them succeed.
Training, capacity building, and organizational development
Leah is an expert at helping clients name and face their challenges so they can overcome them. She guides clients to the right strategies, helping organizations and leaders recognize and seize opportunities for greater impact. Leah also connects clients to the broader fields in which they work and across disciplines.
In her earliest consulting projects, Leah used a capacity-building approach to help clients more fully understand and benefit from evaluation and strategic planning. Over the past 10 years, she has taken the lessons learned in these projects to design and deliver interactive, engaging, and highly useful training. Participants have learned how to create logic models, design evaluation tools, understand data, refine organizational strategies, and engage stakeholders. In addition to direct training and capacity building, Leah also serves as a mentor within the broader evaluation field.
Market Strategies for Social Impact: Learning from and contributing to the emerging market of social impact measurement.
The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Founder & CEO | 2000-present | Leads The Improve Group to help organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure clients’ investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact.
Reflective Leadership Center | Minneapolis, MN | Research Assistant | 1999-2000 | Worked on leadership, stakeholder analysis, and facilitation projects and contributed to Facilitation Workbook and stakeholder mapping projects.
Coral Springs Police Department | Coral Springs, FL | Mentoring Program Coordinator | 1997-1998 | Developed and coordinated a mentoring program for at-risk middle school students and worked with officers, staff at four schools, parents, and community leaders to serve students.
Department of Human Services | Ft. Lauderdale, FL | Foster Care Counselor | 1996-1997 | Worked with children, biological and foster families, guardians ad litem, and service providers to ensure children were safe and receiving the services they needed.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota | Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration on Evaluation and Analysis Methods (American Planning Association Outstanding Student award)
Macalester College | Bachelor of Arts in History and Urban Studies
Metropolitan Council Equity Advisory Committee | Member, 2018-present | Co-chair, 2021-present
Minnesota Evaluation Association | Past-president | 2013
Want to learn more about Leah? Check out their full resume here!