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  • 04/30/2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Our members are AWESOME!  Member Spotlight is a quarterly blog and member newsletter feature created to make space to learn about each other and the breadth of talent existing in the Greater Boston Area. 

    This month's Member Spotlight is Cassandra Tavaras.

    Name:  Cassandra Tavaras

    Social Media Handle:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassandra-tavaras-mahttps://www.instagram.com/cvchica25/

    Occupation & Field of Work:  Project Manager at MGH Center for Community Health Improvement, focusing on youth development program evaluation.

    How did you get started?  I had always been interested in research and evaluation while in graduate school and held positions as a research assistant prior to becoming a Massachusetts Promise Fellow at CCHI. I was fortunate enough to obtain a position on the evaluation team at CCHI after my year of service and have been doing this work for over five years.

    Why do you continue to work in evaluation?  I enjoy the strategy and problem solving that comes with being an evaluator, and evaluation allows me to tap into my curious/analytic side. I also really enjoy having the opportunity to work with different stakeholders and community partners.

    What do you like about what you do?  Finding ways to help my colleagues/community partners understand and use the data/results from evaluations. It's always rewarding to be a part of conversations where it is clear that people have learned something new from the data and find ways to take action/make positive changes.

    What aspect of your work are you most proud of?  Leading qualitative data collection and analysis for the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment.  I really love working with qualitative data so having the chance to lead this piece of the work was a great learning opportunity.

    Of all your accomplishments outside of work of which are you most proud?  I teach Zumba part-time and I love it! I have had the opportunity to teach at events and have been hired to teach private classes and create choreography for a wedding! It's a lot of fun and something I am very passionate about. I love that I get to share it with so many different people.

    What are you currently reading, listening to and/or binge-watching?  "Just As I Am: A Memoir" by Cicely Tyson


    Interested in being spotlit? E-mail Dana@backofhtenapkinconsulting.com. We look forward to celebrating your efforts. 

  • 03/30/2021 12:46 PM | Anonymous

    On March 18th, Kimberly A. Truong, Ph.D. (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) from XEM Consulting Services presented an overview of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to 33 GBEN members. Kim briefly discussed the history of CRT, which began in the 1970s, and touched upon many of the people who have contributed to CRT throughout the years. Along with the history of CRT, Kim wove in what is happening currently in the country using a CRT lens. One point mentioned during the presentation was understanding the potential intersectionality of issues or topics and it isn’t “either/or”. Before breaking into small groups, two case studies were presented to begin discussions on how us as evaluators could use CRT within our work. The three small groups, led by GBEN DEI committee members Ben Faust, Patience Misner, and Susan Putnins, discussed three of the CRT tenets (Permanence of Racism, Experiential Knowledge, and Committed to Social Justice) and how it applies to evaluation and how we can use CRT to inform our own work. 

    A non-exhaustive list of people and readings/publications for more learning:

    People

    • W. E. B. Du Bois

    • Paulo Freire 

    • Kimberlé Crenshaw

    • Daniel Solórzano

    • Zeus Leonardo 

    • Derrick Bell

    • For those in the education field: Dr. Dena Simmons and her work with LiberatED shares resources

    • bell hooks 

    Readings


  • 03/27/2021 12:27 PM | Danelle Marable (Administrator)

    Membership Committee:

    Are you an advocate for evaluation? Do you live in the Greater Boston area? Are you a strategic thinker who wants to find more ways to get involved with the work of GBEN? Consider joining the GBEN Executive Committee! We are currently looking to fill the role of Membership Co-Chair(s). As Membership Co-Chair you will lead the charge for recruitment and retention of GBEN members and work alongside the Executive Committee and Board to advance the work of GBEN. This is an excellent leadership opportunity and avenue to continue to build and elevate the membership experience. Please email Elizabeth Brown at brown_ew@yahoo.com or Danelle Marable at dmarable79@gmail.com by Friday April 9th.


    Programming Committee:
    Do you have ideas on roundtables and presentations that will benefit GBEN members? Looking for ways to get more involved in GBEN? Then nominate yourself for the Programming Co-chair position! You'll work with the current Programming Co-chair, Kelly Washburn, and the 4 committee members to research and plan different events to provide professional opportunities to GBEN members. As Co-chair, you'll also be part of the Executive Committee. For more information on the responsibilities and time commitment, check out the Co-chair description located HERE. If interested, please email Elizabeth Brown at brown_ew@yahoo.com or Kelly Washburn at Kelly.Washburn02@gmail.com by Friday April 9th.


  • 01/29/2021 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    Our members are AWESOME!  Member Spotlight is a new, quarterly blog and member newsletter feature created to make space to learn about each other and the breadth of talent existing in the Greater Boston Area. 

    This month's Member Spotlight is Eric Williamson.

    NameEric Williamson  

    Social Media Handle: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ewilliamson3/

    How do you engage with GBEN? I am on the Programming and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committees

    Occupation & Field of WorkEducational Evaluation and Research Ph.D. Candidate at Boston College

    How did you get started?  Discovering evaluation was a happy mistake for me - I enrolled in BC's Educational Evaluation and Research program in 2016 because as a classroom teacher, I had used educational research to inform my teaching, and I wanted to learn how to contribute to this body of research. As part of the curriculum, I took two courses on evaluation, and the rest is history! I completed the M.Ed. program in 2018 and continued on in the Ph.D. track, becoming a candidate in Fall of 2020.

    Why do you continue to work in evaluation? My strongest professional motivation is helping to ensure that all children in America have equal access to a safe, successful, and fulfilling life. I have found evaluation to be one of the best levers we have to work toward this goal, helping programs dedicated to equity deliver on their promises. 

    What do you like about what you do? As a people person, I very much enjoy the balance between working with program stakeholders, and (as someone who would like to think of themselves as a critical thinker--jury's still out on that one!) brainstorming ways to drive programs towards more equitable outcomes.

    Of what aspect of your work to date are you most proud? Just this past November, the first evaluation that I assisted on was completed, and I got to experience the evaluation process from design to reporting. A small feat, but one that I am proud of!

    Of all your accomplishments outside of work of which are you most proud?   As a nerd of all things science-fiction, I'm proud that I had a short story published in a small science-fiction magazine back in 2015. I also had the opportunity back in 2019 to visit the recipient of bone marrow I had donated a few years prior, an act that is probably the thing I am most proud of in my life so far. 

    What are you currently reading, listening to and/or binge-watching? Currently listening to the audiobook of Volume One of President Obama's memoir, A Promised Land. Currently reading China Mieville's The City & The City, and Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future. Binge-watching the Office, as always!


    Interested in being spotlit? E-mail Dana@backofhtenapkinconsulting.com. We look forward to celebrating your efforts. 

  • 10/19/2020 3:27 PM | Anonymous

    Hi! I’m Kelly Washburn, Project Manager of Evaluation and Strategic Support at MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) and the GBEN Programming Chair. This blog post is based on my presentation I did for GBEN’s September roundtable. At CCHI, I act as an internal evaluator focusing on four community coalitions supported by MGH. When I started at CCHI over 4 years ago, I was inspired to create infographic/visual reports to highlight the coalitions’ work after reviewing the reports they are required to submit to the Attorney General and grant funders. Those required reports typically come with a template and for the coalitions, never highlight all the different areas of work they do each year. 

    These infographic reports are meant to complement the other reporting they have to do. As I started to move from text-heavy reports to visuals, the following tips helped me.

    • State the purpose: The purpose of these coalitions’ infographics was to highlight all their work during the fiscal year in an easy to understand format.

    • Know the intended audience: My audience was coalition staff and current and potential members. It’s important to know that this format may not be appropriate for all audiences. For example, I would not create an infographic with senior leadership at the hospital as the intent will be different for them. 

    • Know how much knowledge and buy-in is currently there with program staff: I developed relationships with the program staff through team meetings and other evaluation activities and those conversations around reporting really showed their need in creating something more visual.  

    • Know what data will be included and how to collect it: As an internal evaluator, I was able to devote time to attending their coalition meetings and internal team meetings, so I was able to continuously collect data on the work they were doing. I also created a basic Word document that had all their process outcomes and asked staff to fill in the gaps. That method has worked well for them, however, I’m starting to rethink the tracking process as I update their evaluation plans.

    • Consider the budget and time constraints: It might not be possible to get a paid subscription to programs such as Piktochart or Canva, but there is a lot that can be done with their free subscriptions or even PowerPoint. I’ve used both Piktochart and PowerPoint to create visuals. I lean towards PowerPoint when I need to include more charts and tables. 

    The coalitions have really appreciated the infographics and love sharing them with their audiences, along with easily pulling the data points for other reports. To see some examples of what my colleagues and I have created, check out the Charlestown Coalition’s Data Report page on their website. 

    For myself, I am thinking about how to change or add to this foundation including, showing trend data (when applicable) and ensuring the accessibility of the reports. For resources discussed at the presentation by myself and other GBEN members, go to the presentation for the resources slide




  • 09/09/2020 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    GBEN elections are coming up and we are reaching out with a call for nominations for the Vice-President position. The next 3-year term for Vice-President starts January 1, 2021. This is a great leadership opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the value of GBEN and help to shape its future! You may nominate yourself or a committed GBEN colleague. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, October 7, 2020.


    Position Descriptions

    GBEN is governed by an Executive Committee, which serves as the board of directors, and consists of a President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer, a Clerk, and chairs from each of the committees. The President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Clerk are elected by the membership.Any GBEN members may serve on the GBEN Board.

    The Executive Committee meets monthly tooversee all GBEN activities and operations, including overseeing all subcommittees. The Committee is also responsible for setting dues and approving a budget for each year. The Executive Committee oversees elections, fills vacancies, holds special elections, and removes Committee members as outlined in GBEN’s by-laws.


    Vice-President 
    Position Description: (10-15 hours per month)

    • Oversee strategic planning for GBEN;

    • Oversee operations of GBEN to ensure that plans are executed and tasks are accomplished;

    • Assist the President in conducting the business of GBEN and preside in the President’s absence including if the President’s position becomes vacant; 

    • Preside over all Executive Committee meetings of GBEN;

    • Chair the Governance Committee; 

    • Assist in planning and organizing the Annual Meeting.


    Qualifications and Time Commitment

    • Membership with GBEN and AEA

    • Some leadership or management experience

    • Minimum of 5 years experience with evaluation-related work

    • Capacity to commit 10-15 hours per month

    • Some Board experience preferred

    • Strong organizational skills


    Submission Process

    Each nomination submission should include:

    • Name, Title, Affiliation, Email, Phone

    • Resume or CV

    • A brief statement answering the following questions:

      • Why are you interested in becoming Vice-President of GBEN?
      • What are your qualifications for Vice President?
      • What is your vision for GBEN?


    Submit COMPLETED nominations to GBEN via email (
    greaterbostoneval@gmail.com) by  Wednesday, October 7, 2020.


    Questions?

    If you have questions about nominations process, please contact Danelle Marable, DMARABLE@mghihp.edu.

  • 08/31/2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    In June 2020, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee conducted a brief survey with GBEN members and friends in order to understand the demographics of evaluators affiliated with GBEN as well as their needs, usage, interest, and capacity pertaining to equitable evaluations.

    Methodology: A 13-item survey was administered to all current GBEN members and friends (n = 324) via Google Forms. Participants were given three weeks to complete the survey. Participants who completed the survey were entered into a raffle with a chance to win one of three $25 gift certificates, one of two GBEN tote bags, or a one-year GBEN membership. 

    Response: The survey was opened by 170 of the 324 people who were invited to participate. We received 51 responses, of which 45 were from GBEN due paying members. Specifically, among GBEN due paying members, 32% (45/140) completed the survey. Here is a summary of the main findings.

    • Demographics: Nearly 8 in 10 respondents identified as female, 14% as male, and 8% did not respond. No one identified as transgender and non-binary. The majority (81%) identified as heterosexual, 10% as gay/lesbian, 8% as bisexual, 4% as queer, 2% as fluid, and 16% did not respond.  Most identified as White (76%) followed by Black/African American (12%), LatinX (2%), Asian (2%), and 8% did not respond. 

    • Equity in GBEN: Respondents overwhelmingly responded “Never” (96%) feeling excluded at GBEN events due to your identity (ex: race/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation). Approximately 4 in 10 respondents think that an equity-focused lens has been infused too little into the content of the roundtables, while 26% believe equity has been adequately infused.  

    • Equity Training: In the past three years, participants attended a variety of equity trainings. Attending in-person workshops or online webinars were among the more popular answers, 73% and 35%, respectively.  On average, respondents reported using three self-assessment methods when asked, How have you assessed your own cultural awareness or biases? with Reflection, Implicit Bias Test, and Workshops being the most selected.

    • Engaging community stakeholders and managing conflict on projects involving racism or oppression: Most respondents felt somewhat prepared (61%) to engage community stakeholders around equity. Only  8% reported feeling not at all prepared. Additionally, participants were asked, How prepared they were to respond to managing conflict when discussing racism, discrimination, and oppression?. The largest proportion of respondents indicated feeling Somewhat prepared (47%) and 10% responded Not at all prepared.

    • Review the PowerPoint Presentation to learn What respondents would like to see, learn, or contribute to DEI.

    Next Steps: The results were shared with an equity consultant in August 2020. The consultant will conduct additional assessments that will aid GBEN in developing a DEI focused 3-year strategic plan, which will be shared with GBEN members in early 2021.

  • 06/09/2020 9:32 PM | Anonymous

    GBEN is excited to launch a visioning and strategic planning process around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We seek a consultant to facilitate the process in partnership with GBEN's DEI Committee.

    For more details and application guidelines, see the Request for Proposals

    Questions should be submitted by 10 AM ET on Friday, June 19, 2020. Proposals are due by 5 PM ET on Thursday, July 2, 2020. 

  • 06/08/2020 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    The Greater Boston Evaluation Network (GBEN) unequivocally condemns police brutality and white supremacy, which has both taken the lives of Black Americans and continues to subject People of Color to police violence at this moment. We encourage jurisdictions to adopt evidence-based solutions to reduce police violence against Black Americans as quickly as possible.

    In addition, we are appalled at the health inequities laid bare by COVID-19 in Massachusetts and beyond, which have similarly stolen the breath from communities of color and immigrant communities. Black Americans have been dying from COVID-19 at rates 2.4 times as high as that of White Americans. Out of the ten communities in Massachusetts with the highest COVID-19 infection rates, nine far exceed the statewide proportion of people of color.

    The police violence and these health inequities are a direct manifestation of a legacy of racism that Black Americans have experienced since slavery began in 1619 in the United States. Though much has been accomplished in dismantling discrimination in our country, much more needs to be done. We commit to the fight for equity, and in particular to leveraging the truth-speaking power of evaluation.


    What we are doing and how you can help

    While evaluation would not have saved George Floyd’s life or that of countless others, we are committed to looking within ourselves and our organization to do better and do what we can to dismantle discrimination, racism, and white supremacy. Here is where we are starting: 

    • Earlier this year, GBEN formed a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. This committee is working towards a plan of action to improve the state of DEI within GBEN and our members. Please consider volunteering with us (email info@greaterbostoneval.org if interested).

    • More than ever, as part of our planning, the DEI Committee needs to hear from GBEN members about your thoughts, knowledge, and experience around equitable evaluation. We have launched a short survey and invite all GBEN members to participate. Please fill out the survey, so that we can design the best plan for our organization and members.

    • In partnership with and through the generous support of the Barr Foundation, GBEN will shortly be issuing a Request for Proposals for a consultant to help us with our DEI planning. Please look out for this RFP and help circulate it to your networks.

    If there are other ways for us to help, please do not hesitate to be in touch.


    Resources
    :

    List of anti-racism resources

    Equitable evaluation resources: 

    Can Social Justice Live in a House of Structural Racism? A Question for the Field of Evaluation

    Being responsive: The first assessment of Culturally Responsive Evaluation in Wisconsin: Findings from the 2017 survey

    More on the GBEN site (requires member login)


    Sincerely,

    The GBEN Executive Committee

    Danelle Marable, President

    Matan BenYishay, Vice President

    Eileen Marra, Treasurer

    Elizabeth Brown, Clerk

    Kelly Washburn, Programming Co-chair

    Min Ma, Programming Co-chair and DEI Co-chair

    Calpurnyia Roberts, DEI Co-chair

    Bryan Hall, Communications Chair

    Annie Summers, Membership Chair



  • 02/27/2020 3:29 PM | Anonymous

    On February 12, 2020, Chuck Carter, Senior Evidence Director at Project Evident, hosted a roundtable workshop and discussion on building evidence with 22 GBEN members.  The title of the workshop was entitled “The New Normal: Practitioners at the Center of Evidence Building.” 

    Mr. Carter started the discussion by stating that Project Evident firmly believes that practitioners should be at the center of building evidence.  When led by practitioners, evidence building will result in better outcomes for communities.  The next generation of evidence must be:

    • Be Practitioner-Led: Practitioners must be empowered to move from the caboose to the engine to drive their own continuous evidence-building agendas.
    • Embrace Research and Development: R&D must become standard practice in the social sector to enable timely and relevant learning and innovation.
    • Elevate Community Voice: The needs, beliefs, values, and voices of the community must inform and drive the work of practitioners and the field.

    Mr. Carter also stated is it critical that we intentionally build evidence with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to continually understand what works, for whom, and under what circumstances.  Project Evident has developed an Evidence Matrix, a structured process designed to effectively promote and intentionally integrate a diversity, equity and inclusion framework into the evidence building activities of an organization or program.   The DEI Evidence Matrix helps organizations evaluate their current evidence building practices using a DEI lens, prioritize learning questions and identify next steps that drive towards equity focused outcomes.

    Mr. Carter also provided 3 examples of what it might look like for practitioners to be at the center of evidence building.

    1. A non-profit engaging youth and young adults with lots of new data, a new program model, a developing data and evidence infrastructure, but also where staff are not focused on or prioritizing the collection or use of data.
    2. An urban housing authority with an established data team, clear evaluation questions, and the capacity for conducting experimental studies.
    3. A pediatric primary care program with a model that has shown positive impact, internal research and evaluation capacity, and has questions about effectiveness and scaling in new areas. 

    The group discussion centered on how one can create a learning culture in the organization and engage practitioners.

    The workshop concluded with some questions for practitioners to consider:

    • Are you using program data for decisions on how to improve the model delivery and participant outcomes?
    • Do you have a learning agenda that evidence can inform?
    • Do you have a theory of change? Is it reviewed on a regular basis?
    • Is senior leadership bought in?
    • Do you understand how data is collected, stored, shared, reviewed?
    • Are underrepresented and vulnerable groups a part of the data collection practices?
    • Are you collecting data that will highlight underrepresented and vulnerable groups?
    • Are there regular team performance meetings, learning goals, coaching for staff, and ongoing staff recognition?

    Mr. Carter’s presentation slides can be found in the member roundtable resources section.


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