Change Matrix: Leading the Way Forward

Change Matrix has been exploring the current state of leadership in different settings and efforts: leadership in systems change, leadership in community change, leadership in social justice efforts, and leadership in individual wellbeing.  From the thirty thousand foot view down to the daily walk, we have been looking, learning, and sharing with each other our discoveries. Now we have an opportunity to expand collective effort even further to include voices from other countries and communities.

A few years back, Shannon CrossBear had a chance to participate in a leadership exchange through the International Institutes for Mental Health Leadership(IIMHL). The focus of IIMHL is on leadership development through the creation of networks and partnerships for rapid knowledge transfer about innovations and problem solving across countries and agencies.  A major mechanism through which IIMHL advances leadership development is the international Leadership Exchange, held every sixteen months, rotating across the continents where sponsoring countries are located – Australasia, North America and Europe. The nine IIMHL member countries are Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Shannon was able to participate in two exchanges, one focused on family voice in Mental Health systems in Ottawa, Canada and one focused on transitional age youth in Brisbane, Australia. In recent years she has kept up with the news through the IIMHL Newsletter.

Over the same period of time, Shannon and Suganya Sockalingam, with whom she co-trained at the Georgetown University Leadership Academy, discussed the concept of multicultural leadership and wondered if values and principles of leadership currently being expressed in leadership curricula within the US  resonated within other cultures. They started meeting regularly and identified concepts and frameworks related to leadership in collectivist societies. What they learned deepened their desire to practice leadership and provide leadership development from a different perspective – that of multicultural leadership practice.

In the last several months, along with Elizabeth Waetzig, Shannon, and Suganya have been exploring a transformation circle of Learning, Being, and Doing in Multicultural Leadership. Along with other interested CM team members, they are developing a curriculum to be shared in a future leadership retreat.

In the process of identifying resources on multicultural leadership, Shannon contacted the IIMHL to see how we might engage with members of their network in a dialogue about what leadership might look like across different countries and communities. As a consequence of CM’s interest in developing this multicultural leadership framework in connection with the IIMHL, CM was invited to sponsor a match during the next International Leadership Exchange slated for September 2019.  During this forthcoming match, CM will facilitate dialogue among match participants regarding leadership frameworks and leadership development in their respective Neighborhoods, Communities, Countries, Provinces, States, Tribes and Territories.

We (CM) believe that leadership is practiced in different ways across the globe and would like to explore various models of leadership development. We are curious and want to know…

  •      How do leadership models that are not from the dominant culture co-exist or operate within a more western and significantly different frame?
  •      How is leadership developed in youth and young adult populations? Do those models incorporate components that are culturally congruent with the populations that have the greatest disparities?
  •      How do you measure the effectiveness of that leadership development? (More people entering the field, more disparate populations being served, more community engagement, etc.)

These are some of the questions we will explore during the match. Through facilitated discussion, we will develop a leadership framework that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Contributed by: Shannon CrossBear, Suganya Sockalingam, and Elizabeth Waetzig
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CM’s Work in Equitable Evaluation Moves Forward

In September, we shared the exciting news that the Annie E. Casey Foundation announced Change Matrix as the new partner for the Expanding the Bench Initiative, which includes the Advancing Collaborative Evaluation (ACE) Network and Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) program. This month, our team attended the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio to support two key events – the ACE Network Luncheon and the LEEAD Culmination event.

During the ACE Luncheon, the Change Matrix team was introduced as the new managing partner for the ACE Network, and had the opportunity to meet in-person several Network members and funders, learn about the excellent work they are doing in support of equitable evaluation and hear ideas around potential next steps for the Network. In addition, London had the opportunity to facilitate a Q & A panel that included Commissioner Elizabeth Albro from the Center for Education Research at the Institute of Education Services; Efrain Gutierrez from the Obama Foundation; Jackie Kaye from Wellspring Philanthropic Fund; and Debra Joy Perez from Simmons College.

Each of the panelists skillfully addressed intriguing questions from Luncheon participants, such as:

  • What would give you [funders] the confidence to trust our capacity as evaluators steeped in culturally responsive evaluation and evaluation excellence?
  • Can funders mitigate the “speed” and “rush” of the pace of philanthropy to allow for equitable evaluation practice to engage community/beneficiaries?
  • How can evaluators help you [funders] de-colonize philanthropy?
  • What thoughts/ideas would you [funders] share after considering this scenario? A program is implemented and has results that indicate sustaining the program could change policy for underrepresented groups. More time is needed, which also requires more funding. Sustainability of this program was not discussed in the beginning or along the way. The funding was for 5 years and the 5 years is up.
  • Beyond the financial investment, from the philanthropic side, how do you [funders] see your role as collaborators with your evaluators?
  • For you or your organization, how does a [evaluation] firm or consultant’s equity lens translate to actual skill sets that you [funders] are looking for in evaluation partnerships?
  • What is the primary value-add that you [funders] would hope to achieve by having diverse evaluators as part of your evaluation team?

The LEEAD Culmination Ceremony brought together LEEAD scholars, alumni, mentors, funders, and other supporters to celebrate the 20 LEEAD scholars’ and their mentors’ commitment and accomplishment in completing the LEEAD program. During the ceremony, the Change Matrix team was also introduced as the new managing partner for LEEAD.  A special congratulations to LEEAD scholar Noe Chavez and his mentor Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar for receiving the inaugural Debra Joy Perez $25 award!

Throughout the week’s activities at AEA, we had the opportunity to sit down with some LEEAD Scholars and Mentors to hear about their experiences and the connections they have made through LEEAD. These conversations reinforced the value and importance of LEEAD, both in terms of the impact to the field of evaluation and personally to those involved.  We appreciated the feedback and suggestions for improvement, as we move forward and build on the strong foundation established by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We are honored to continue this legacy and we welcome and encourage continued involvement. 

Want more information?  Email us at!

Contributed by: London Losey, Sandra Silva, Rachele Espiritu, and Alina Taniuchi
Posted on Categories Blog Post

Moving the Field Towards Equitable Evaluation

Change Matrix will be the new managing partner of Annie E Casey’s Expanding the Bench® (ETB) initiative which includes the Advancing Collaborative Evaluation (ACE) Network and Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Initiatives!  

Change Matrix is committed to seeking mission-aligned work that advances opportunities for underrepresented groups; addresses root causes of social injustice, systemic racism, and other inequities; and builds power in communities and groups to address equity. We understand that there is a need to shift the way we approach inquiry, expand who conducts research and evaluation, translate our knowledge into resilience-oriented thinking, and promote bold actions to build stronger, healthier communities.

Expanding the Bench was created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation from a fundamental belief that increasing diversity in the field of research and evaluation improves our knowledge base and makes for better science and social innovation. Diversity promotes creative thinking by expanding a group’s capacity for viewing issues or problems from multiple perspectives and vantage points.

As such, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to manage two signature initiatives that align with our CM vision and mission:

  • The Advancing Collaborative Evaluation (ACE) Network which aimed to increase diversity within the Casey Foundation’s pool of expert researchers and evaluators.  The Foundation formed an ACE network of nearly 100 independent evaluators and evaluation firm leaders from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Change Matrix has been an ACE Network members since their first Call for Qualifications in 2014.
  • Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) is an evaluation training program designed to develop a pipeline of diverse leaders in equitable evaluation who will advance the field of evaluation and improve the life outcomes of children, families and communities. LEEAD is based on the fundamental belief that increasing diversity in the field of research and evaluation improves our knowledge base and makes for better science and social innovation.

LEEAD supports talented researchers in their pursuits of careers in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation through an intensive nine-month implementation of three essential components:

 1)  A six-month online evaluation training curriculum with a core professional development course

2)  Ongoing mentorship from senior experts and peers in evaluation

3)  A three-month practicum at an evaluation organization, think tank, or private firm

The core values of LEEAD are equity, diversity, leadership, and excellence.

Since the initiative began in 2014, the LEEAD program has recruited, screened, trained and supported more than 30 evaluators from underrepresented communities.

As the new managing partner, Change Matrix looks forward to bringing our insight, experience, and innovation to grow and sustain both of these important efforts.

Want more information?  Email us at!

Visit the Expanding the Bench website!

Read the blog post from the Annie E. Casey Foundation announcing the shift – Expanding the Bench Makes a Move

Contributed by: Rachele Espiritu
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