Headshots of new and promoted team members, from upper left corner to bottom right corner: Derek Hazeltine, Maria Moeller, Tia Bastian, and Jenny Franklin.

Evaluation Firm Hires, Promotes Key Staff

The Improve Group (IG) is pleased to announce several key changes to the company’s top leadership. The new structure will allow IG to continue providing excellent client service while building a solid infrastructure to carry out our strategic goals: Expand our tools and services to meet community needs; lead with a joyful and powerful team; and use our practice to promote positive social change.

“After considering where we want to go, and hearing priorities from our leadership team, staff, advisors and stakeholders, I am excited about our new structure,” says Leah Goldstein Moses, Founder & CEO of The Improve Group. “This new configuration will allow our company to take on more meaningful work, nurture staff strengths, and ultimately to make more of a positive social impact in our world.”

Changes to the executive leadership team include:

The addition of Derek Hazeltine as The Improve Group’s first Chief Operations Officer. In this newly-created role, Derek will oversee The Improve Group’s finance, administrative and IT operations to ensure they run smoothly. Prior to joining The Improve Group, Derek was the Executive Director for the Professional Liability Underwriting Society for more than 20 years. During that time, he managed exponential asset growth and grew the membership nearly ten-fold. Derek earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota, and his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota.

“I am delighted to join The Improve Group,” says Derek. “The organization’s values really captured my attention and sparked my interest in the position. Now that I am here, I see how those values are tied to our work in practical terms—not only as they relate to the “big picture” but in our everyday interactions and tasks. At IG we don’t just talk about our values—we get to live them out every day.”

The promotion of Maria T. Moeller to Chief Marketing Officer. Maria joined The Improve Group in 2015 with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications as well as training in evaluation and public affairs. Maria has a lifelong passion for making systems work and is a curious evaluator at heart. She enjoys using her skills to foster new partnerships, to strengthen existing relationships, to build capacity for evaluation in clients and communities, and to communicate about The Improve Group’s unique niche in the evaluation landscape. Maria holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Hubert. H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

“I am thrilled to join the executive leadership team at The Improve Group,” Maria says. “I have worked in business-to-business and consumer marketing for most of my career and I am excited contribute my part to bringing our strategic objectives to fruition.” But, she says, “what excites me the most is to be a part of the top leadership of an organization that is absolutely grounded in and guided by its values.”

A change for Samantha Hagel, Chief Human Resources Officer. Samantha previously served as Chief Administrative Officer. She will continue to serve on the executive team, but in her new position she will focus more sharply on continuing to build IG’s “Powerhouse Team” through attracting, developing and retaining talented staff.

“The Improve Group has earned a strong reputation for hiring top talent and for being an employer of choice,” says Samantha. “I am proud of our efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment that truly fosters collaboration, innovation and trust.”

And, she adds, “as our company grows and takes on increasingly large, complex and diverse projects, I am working to ensure that our staff reflect that diversity—in terms of race and ethnicity, personal backgrounds, professional expertise, and points of view. I am proud to lead our efforts to acquire and develop our most priceless assets—our people.”

Rounding out the executive team, the other two members—Rebecca Stewart, Chief Practice Officer and Leah Goldstein Moses, President & CEO—will continue to serve with their positions unchanged.

In addition, we welcome several talented new staff, including Tiana Bastian, Senior Research Analyst, and Jennifer Franklin, Senior Writer & Editor. Please check out our staff page to learn more about all of the members of our Powerhouse Team!

Over the months ahead, staff, leaders, clients, partners and advisors will continue to shape new services and the way we work for positive social change.