ACE Evaluation Network Advisory Team Workgroup

Carlos Romero • President, Apex Evaluation

I founded Apex over 20 years ago and serve as chief evangelist for our approach to evaluation, which is rooted in systems thinking and learning. I have over 25 years of experience in program planning, evaluation, and facilitation. I hold a BS in Political Science and a Master’s in Business Administration. Our vision at Apex is simple, ambitious, and infinite: evaluation that works. Evaluation that works is a response to the myriad ways in which evaluation and data have not served the interests of organizations addressing wickedly complex issues or the vulnerable populations most impacted by their work. For this moment in time, I strive to make evaluation work better through a stronger, clearer, amplified mission of learning that: (a) promotes and facilitates thinking to initiate and inform the magnitude of innovation that is needed to break from the status quo; (b) stimulates and guides the rigorous and continuous learning from data to adapt and sustain meaningful and lasting change under dynamic, complex conditions; and (c) exposes and fights against bias and misuse of data that impedes progress toward a more equitable world.

Elizabeth Hutchinson Kruger • Evaluation Officer, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

In my work I provide leadership, project management, and support practice of internal evaluation and learning in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. My experience has spanned the globe and various phases of program design and implementation with multi-cultural teams. My work often includes designing and implementing learning and evaluation projects and providing technical assistance and capacity building on evaluative practice skills for public health, food security, disaster preparedness, conservation, animal welfare, refugee/immigrant, and community development programs. I see myself as a generalist with a passion for creativity, inclusion, learning and improvement for social change. My areas of deepest expertise are in my practice of collaboration and communication, while I’ve also had formal training and deep experience with many qualitative methods. I love to travel, read, and spend time outdoors. I’m a mother to two children (a preschooler and toddler) and two cats.

Michael Patrick Arnold, PhD, MPH, MSW • Director, Informing Change

For over 20 years, Dr. Michael Arnold has researched and evaluated efforts to reduce racial and intersectional disparities in health and wellbeing with a focus on systemic, organizational, and social equity. He is Co-Director of Informing Change, a strategic learning firm of diverse people united by the core belief that making meaning out of good data generates knowledge that can be used to accelerate progress toward equity. We combine the power of data with deliberate, inclusive meaning-making processes. An experienced consultant to large philanthropies and grassroots nonprofits alike, Michael is adept at tailoring projects to match client needs, supporting clients in growth and learning, and listening to and centering the voices of affected communities and individuals in projects. He holds a PhD, Master of Social Welfare, and a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Michael’s recent clients include Youth Outside, the Marin Community Foundation, Frameline’s Youth in Motion, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, Girls Leadership, Oakland Leaf, School Linked Services of Santa Clara County, the James Irvine Foundation, the California Health Care Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, Blue Shield Foundation of California, the Best Buy Foundation, and the Black Teacher Project.

Michelle Paul Heelan, PhD • Director, Human Capital, ICF

Dr. Paul Heelan offers over 20 years of experience leading the design/development, implementation, and evaluation of human capital systems in public, private and not-for-proKt organizations. Her expertise includes organizational assessment, leadership development program evaluation, operational/business process redesign, change management, and training/meeting facilitation. Dr. Paul Heelan’s emphasis on climate and culture change and assessing the bottom-line impact of multiple human resource initiatives helps her clients improve individual, group, and organizational performance. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology (summa cum laude) from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Paul Heelan’s recent clients include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She is passionate about expanding access to innovative evaluation practices and multi-disciplinary approaches to evaluation to those who have been historically marginalized, and thus is honored to serve on the ETB Advisory Team.

Nicole Bowman (Lunaape/Mohican), PhD • Associate Scientist and President, University of WI Madison and Bowman Performance Consulting

Nicky (Lunaape/Mohican) is a traditional Ndulunaapeewi Kwe (Lunaape woman) and an evaluation innovator. Her academic lodge sits at the intersection of truth, spirituality, traditional knowledge, sovereignty, governance & evaluation.

Marcia Coné, PhD • Principal + Director of Practice Engagement and Evolution, Marcia Coné Consulting/ Equitable Evaluation Initiative

For three decades, Marcia has worked in partnership with foundations, nonprofits, and philanthropic service organizations and alongside grassroot and grasstop leaders to create cultures where intersectional equity is at the center. She brings a depth and breadth of experience that fuels her passion for moving individuals, organizations and systems away from traditional frameworks towards bold engagement and action that is a catalyst for sustainable change.

Osa Maiyanne Adaján, PhD • Founding Vice President, Creative Research Solutions

Dr. Osa Maiyanne Adaján is Founding Director of the National Center for Evaluation Assessment and Founding Vice President of Creative Research Solutions, LLC, an award-winning research and evaluation firm in the Atlanta metropolitan area that centers on culturally-responsive and equitable evaluation. She leads national and international evaluation, research, and strategy initiatives for organizations that help them document and broaden their impact. Her results-driven approach maximizes client resources and enables them to tap into new markets. Dr. Maiyanne Adaján has served as a strategist or consultant for local, national and international organizations, including the UN Foundation, Reboot Representation, the Center for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Krupp Family Foundation, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Technical College System of Georgia, and University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. She earned her PhD from the University of Michigan (American Studies, social science and humanities concentrations), and her Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley (Interdisciplinary Studies and English), summa cum laude. She has also held visiting professor and visiting scholar appointments at several colleges and universities. An invited radio and television guest and featured writer at news and media outlets, Dr. Maiyanne Adaján is the author of several print and media publications in the fields of educational and community research, evaluation, and self-care.

Previous Workgroup Members

Efraín Gutierrez

Head of Impact and Evaluation,
Obama Foundation

Hiba Rahim

Evaluation & Learning Officer,
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Nicole Clark, LMSW

Sr. Director, Evaluation & Learning,
Skoll Foundation

Meet More Advisory Team Members

Expanding the Bench® (ETB) is part of a collaborative field-building movement and is informed by a diverse, multi-stakeholder team of thought partners from the evaluation ecosystem. This team offers strategic direction, feedback, and recommendations to guide the development and growth of ETB.

With decades of combined experience in their fields, ETB Advisory Team members help us better understand and address the needs of the broader community.

View the Other Workgroups