Stephanie Cabell joined Washington Evaluators after attending a meeting in the spring of 2015 and became a WE member in a relatively short time. Stephanie is now a member of the board, serving in the position of Secretary. Born in Charleston, SC and raised on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Stephanie’s undergraduate studies in foreign languages and literature took her to Germany where she spent her junior year and a post-graduate year as a Fulbright Recipient.
A federal career as a performance management and evaluation specialist eventually led Stephanie to becoming a member of the American Evaluation Association and now of Washington Evaluators. As an evaluation team lead at the U.S. Department of State, Stephanie enjoys working with the 40+ State Department bureaus and offices to plan for and implement evaluations coveringthe diversity of State Department activities. Stephanie and a team of colleagues use this diversity to their best advantage by defining “evaluation” to include special studies, process evaluations, experience reviews, and case studies. Stephanie asserts, "This expanded definition of evaluation has enabled our agency’s bureaus and offices to design evaluative studies that align with the mission of bureaus and offices and their information needs.” An annual evaluation conference, a website devoted to evaluation resources, an evaluation toolkit, and regular meetings of State’s 440+ member Evaluation Community of Practice have helped build and sustain a culture for doing evaluations at State. “It’s been gratifying to see the progress we have made as an agency in not only implementing evaluations, but also using evidence and evaluation to inform our planning and budgeting processes.”
Prior to joining the State Department in November 2006, Stephanie spent 17 years working at the U.S. Department of Labor as a performance specialist in the employment and training arena. Says Stephanie, “Becoming a civil servant was not a conscious decision but it was the best decision I ever made.” She looks forward to working with WE and helping spread the word about WE among the greater DC federal evaluation community.
One of the newest and hardest working members of the Washington Evaluators, Giovanni Dazzo joined WE just two years ago and hit the ground running by volunteering as Program Committee Chair in January 2016.
Giovanni works as an evaluation specialist with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Office of Global Programming. At DRL, Giovanni performs a plethora of tasks, such as advising DRL staff and grantees on evaluation fundamentals and methods, conducting internal studies and managing external evaluations, developing portfolio-level frameworks, and managing the office’s new grants database. Over the last few years, Giovanni has been focusing on the concept of reciprocity in evaluation design, exploring ways in which evaluators can form ethical research relationships with participants by communicating as equals. Through this process, he has been incorporating human rights and advocacy principles into his evaluation work as a way to make the concepts more accessible to the activists he works with directly.
Giovanni completed his undergraduate studies in anthropology and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a master’s degree in public management from SDA Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. After spending five years abroad conducting evaluations for international aid agencies, he came to settle in the DC Area. A part of his settling included joining WE as a way to meet evaluation professionals and learn about the type of work being done by others in the area. As Program Committee Chair, Giovanni is looking forward to planning events and initiatives that appeal to diverse sectors of the evaluation community, and working with the Membership Committee to expand WE's presence. He encourages members and nonmembers alike to participate in professional development and social events—“they’re a great way to learn about new methods in the field, and meet evaluation experts, many of whom live in the DC area.”
A native Californian who still struggles with DC winters, Giovanni enjoys playing the ukulele, attempting to garden, wandering around the community market and local businesses in his neighborhood, and traveling with his wife.
Melba is a returning member of Washington Evaluators (WE). She initially joined in 2006 when Paul Johnson, a friend and former colleague, invited her to a board meeting. Melba works as a Program Coordinator with the Department of Homeland Security where she processes information requests. Though her current work is not related to evaluation, she still sees herself as an evaluator – once an evaluator always an evaluator. Melba has over five years of membership and service with the WE Board.
Melba has a doctoral degree in social psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University (2003) where she worked as a research assistant and post doctoral fellow with the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention. She served as a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) policy fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Melba became a contractor and then a federal employee at NIH, where she helped to build evaluation capacity by managing contracts for evaluation resources and projects.
One of her favorite things about the field of evaluation is being able to work across different settings and disciplines. During her 10 years as an evaluator, she worked at the local, state, and federal levels evaluating youth development, criminal justice, biomedical sciences, and environmental science programs and initiatives. She says “because no two evaluations are the same, with each evaluation project, you grow as an evaluator. The WE community is by your side with the professional development and social support to take on new challenges. That is why I joined WE years ago. That is why giving back to WE through serving on the board is a no brainer.”
Melba and her husband Sam live in northern Virginia with their cats Athena and Apollo. She is a film lover, and occasional runner and hiker. Melba is a creative person, who at any moment can be found doodling/sketching or learning a new hand craft. She would like to remind members to follow WE @washeval on Twitter, and visit the WEval Forum on www.washingtonevaluators.com.
Nine current Washington Evaluators members will participate in the Eastern Evaluation Research Society's (EERS) annual conference from May 1-3, 2016, including four members who will be presenting. EERS, another affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), is sponsoring its 39th annual conference with the theme "Improving Outcomes, Building Knowledge: Finding What Works."
View the full #EERS16 Program here.
Kevin Brady is a fairly new member of the Washington Evaluators (WE). He's been engaged with the organization for a little over a year. Born and raised in the Boston area, this Virginia Tech alumnus (Syracuse undergraduate) was referred to WE by a friend and former colleague, Dr. Josh Joseph. So far, he enjoys connecting with other evaluators and learning some best practices on a broad range of evaluation topics.
Brady asserts, "The WE Twitter feed is very informative. Specifically, the tweet from a brown bag WE had around Building Agency Capacity." He learned that only a third of federal agencies report using evaluation regularly in decision-making. That information allowed him to think differently about interacting with agencies as an evaluator and making assumptions about resources they have on their end. He discovered it was vital to keep them engaged every step of the way. Brady also acknowledges that practical advice is also a valued jewel of being a member of WE. Brady said, "I saw a post on Excel heat tables, and I used it at the office. I like the fact that there is actionable, practical advice right on the web page that's really easy to apply professionally."
Currently, Kevin works as the Partnership for Public Service's Evaluation Manager. He's been with that organization since 2008 where he serves as the lead program evaluator. The Partnership is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to revitalize the federal government by working on a range of human capital issues, from leadership and management training to recruitment, hiring, and employee engagement.
Prior to working in Washington, he spent two years in New Orleans working for a federal Katrina recovery program, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia, directing native-language education programs for herdsmen in the Gobi desert. He attended several WE events in 2015 and will continue to be engaged in 2016. He posits, " I'm really excited to connect with WE members and to take full advantage of future events and resources." WE welcome you!
Ladel Lewis is a senior research strategist. She has served in this capacity since 2012 with Meaningful Evidence LLC, a small evaluation consulting firm based out of Falls Church, Virginia. This organization aims to help clients demonstrate their value to funders through evaluation research and ASK MATT (a free strategic planning tool available to nonprofits and researchers). She is responsible for client acquisition, marketing and program evaluation. You can find more information about this thriving organization at www.meaningfulevidence.com.
Ladel received her PhD from Western Michigan University (2012) in Sociology with a concentration in Evaluation and Race & Ethnicity. She formerly served as a research associate for a SAMSHA funded initiative titled Kalamazoo Wraps. There, she evaluated the mental health system of care for families and children until the project's completion in the Fall of 2011.
Ladel joined Washington Evaluators in 2012, shortly after relocating to the District of Columbia. She serves on the Washington Evaluators Membership Committee (2012-present), and is responsible for the innovative idea of showcasing and networking members though the "Membership Spotlight." Prior to moving to D.C. she spent eight years in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she was a member of the Michigan Evaluation Association and the American Sociological Association.
She found her way to the DC area by joining her husband, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In her spare time she volunteers with DCFYI, a group established to connect teens in foster care with families and mentors, and PowerTalk International, where she is working on her Effective Communicator certification. Ladel tells us "I found my business partner, Bernadette Wright, through the Washington Evaluators. Together we form a strong team and without WE our paths would have never crossed. I encourage everyone to network and get involved."
Members of Washington Evaluators (WE) will be participating in Evaluation 2015 sponsored by the American Evaluation Association (AEA) in Chicago, Illinois from November 9-14. At least 55 WE members will join the conference as presenters, panel chairs, group leaders, and discussants in over 75 sessions.
A list of the WE members participating in AEA sessions in any capacity is provided below (as of Nov. 1, 2015). Please refer to the official AEA conference program for all final session dates and times.
Nov. 9, 2015, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Nov. 10, 2015, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Nov. 11, 2015, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Nov. 11, 2015, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Nov. 11, 2015, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday, Nov. 11
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
6:15 PM – 7:00 PM
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (posters)
Thursday, Nov. 12
7:00 AM - 7:45 AM
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
4:45 PM – 6:15 PM
6:20 PM - 7:10 PM
Friday, Nov. 13
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
4:30 PM - 5:15 PM
5:30 PM - 6:15 PM
Saturday, Nov. 14
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM
10:45 AM – 11:30 AM
If you're a WE member and your presentation's not listed here, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric is a chief performance advisor. He has served in this capacity since 2012 with USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad. This office aims to optimize US public diplomacy through financial assistance to overseas institutions. He is responsible for institutionalizing collaboration, learning and adapting the program’s operations to accelerate US national interests and foster favorable overseas relations. He is an institutional contractor with Macfadden Associates. He was previously posted to USAID’s Office of Civilian Response as a monitoring and evaluation specialist for three years, where he investigated program performance issues and assessed USAID’s contribution to development, diplomacy and U.S. national security priorities. He holds an MBA from the University of California Berkeley. He is the immediate (2012-2013) past president of the Washington Evaluators, the DC Metro affiliate of the American Evaluation Association.
Eric joined Washington Evaluators in 2007, shortly after relocating to the District of Columbia after 14 years in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he was amember of Hawaii’s AEA affiliate H-‐PEA. His move was driven by a hot pursuit of an international development evaluation portfolio, which he ultimately found at USAID. Washington Evaluators can be credited with being extraordinarily welcoming, expanding his network and illuminating Washington’s complex inner workings. He affectionately calls Washington Evaluators his “professional church home.”
(c) 2017 Washington Evaluators