Individual Consulting Services
My consulting services are built upon the foundation of an international development, research, advocacy, and human rights career of over three decades, including almost 15 years of work while resident in Africa and extensive project experience in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and the United States. The major focus of this work is described below.
Please note that my current assignment as Interim Executive Director of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs has me fully occupied until early October 2018.
Executive Management Consulting
Non-profit organizations often encounter periods of significant transition, disruption, even crisis. Such instances offer both existential challenges to the organization, and creative opportunities to re-envision, revitalize, and refocus. Through decades of experience in non-profit organization senior and executive management, including service as an interim senior executive and crisis manager, I am able to work with boards of directors and staff to evaluate the nature of the challenges, identify areas of opportunities, facilitate a process of identification of mission and vision, assess practical staff needs, determine financial health, and formulate measurable indicators of achieving meaningful change for a more sustainable, more fulfilling future.
Public Policy – Formulation and Analyses
Value issues permeate decision-making on development, gender equality/equity, social inclusion, and human rights policies, advocacy, and programming, even if seldom discussed explicitly in those terms. Through a robust application of the tools and thinking of international development ethics and reliance on defensible normative theories, I have assisted stakeholders and decision-makers in the identification, ranking, and analysis of opportunities, constraints, sensitivities, and goals from a values perspective, leading to the identification and prioritization of alternative means and ends, and necessary trade-offs. By carrying out such analysis, I also have helped to generate raised ethical awareness of the implications of and possible justifications for specific development or advocacy proposals, policies, or programs, and I have provided a thoughtful and explicit evaluation of the means and ends of any course of action. Past recent examples have included major policy initiatives on new policy and gender equity approaches for the transportation sector in Afghanistan, the water sector in Jordan, and a policy analysis of the implications of the Trump Administration in the USA on the rights and freedoms of transgender Americans.
Diversity, Social Inclusion, Marginalized Minorities, and “SOGIE”
Given my extensive international experience in development and human rights, my earlier service as the first openly transgender political appointee in the federal foreign affairs agencies, and my networking as a member of the LGBTQ community on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), I have helped organizations to understand the realities (constraints, priorities, opportunities, stigma, discrimination, and exclusion) faced by sexual minorities abroad. More specifically, I have advised organizations on the context, sensibilities, risks, priorities, constraints, and opportunities associated with improving the respect for human rights, and strengthening social inclusion, to better respond to the development needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or intersex (LGBTQ) persons and their civil society organizations (whether formally registered or not). I have also advised on effective methods and frameworks for monitoring results achieved in this context.
Given a rapidly growing donor interest, increasing funding now available, and a burgeoning spread of LGBTQ organizations around the world, it has never been more important to achieve a better understanding and to be more responsive to the unique needs of this population, particularly in countries where they are subjected to increasing levels of persecution and violence.
Democracy and Governance (DG)
From my well-demonstrated professional record of DG country and regional analysis, project design, marketing, management, evaluation, and scaling up applications, I have provided a wide range of DG services in the context of governance reforms, governance policies, gender equality/equity, decentralization, local governance, strengthening integrity and constraining corruption, public service training, urban and regional development planning, and integration of governance applications across gender, economic, financial, administrative, environmental, institutional, conflict, and participatory applications. I have also provided a specific focus on the importance of promoting and protecting human rights and social inclusion, in the context of democracy and governance.
Human Rights, Social Inclusion, and Development Ethics
I have worked with organizations to help them expand their understanding and range of effective services associated with the latest human rights policies and social inclusion policies of leading donors, and with other ways of evaluating the values dimensions of international development. This focus has embraced not only appropriate responsiveness to human rights abuses and neglect, but also positive human rights performance by governments and other duty-holders as measured and conceptualized through human rights thinking (moral and legal) and associated indicators. I have also offered training to organizations to empower staff to understand the significance and application of human rights theory, which underpins all human rights law and practice, and in other leading ethical approaches to international development (e.g. capabilities approach, feminist ethics of care, character/virtue ethics, Kantian ethics, Rawlsian ethics, etc.).
In an effort to fill the important “ethics gap” in most leadership training currently offered internationally , I have assisted through the design and oversight of proven training modules, materials, case studies, and techniques in the ethics and values of transformational and transactional leadership. I have provided advice on the elements of ethical leadership in terms of both character and action, on the cultivation and sustainability of an effective “followership”, and by assisting trainees to achieve the optimal generation and communication of an ethical leadership vision. I have designed and directed ethical leadership training courses varying from 2 weeks to 4 days in more than 7 countries, for organizations such as the Aga Khan Foundation, Tiri, and Freedom House.
Gender Equality / Gender Equity
The recent focus on women’s and girl’s empowerment remains central to my career, as does my work in the prevention of gender based violence, prevention of child marriage, male engagement in society’s pursuit of gender equality, and the care for and treatment of victims of GBV. I have also focused on advising organizations on how best to identify and implement projects and programs that involve both women and men in a shared and highly motivated commitment to reciprocity, equity, and optimized collaboration among the genders towards important human rights or development objectives. These consulting services have included an assessment of incentives, motivations, role-based values and identities, leadership styles, and innovative collaboration models that were effective in facilitating a commitment to gender equality, and the policies, programs, and advocacy needed to achieve measurable results in this context.
Private Sector CSR, and International Human Rights
I have assisted private sector firms and organizations to identify and craft a pragmatic program of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their international activities, starting from a rethinking of the organizational values and principles that guide action and increasing sensitivity to local values and practices abroad. I have helped firms and organizations to achieve a leadership position in fulfilling the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (including but not limited to the human rights of LGBTQ persons, and gender equality), and to align with the Yogyakarta Principles. Also, through raising awareness of the “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profits, I have provided advice on the identification and integration of socially responsible practices into daily business operations and policies.
Strategic Planning and Organizational Strengthening
As a highly experienced yet objective outsider, I have been able to help an organization think through their strategic options to identify, revise, update, or otherwise focus on specific strategic goals, action plans, indicators, marketing tactics, gender dynamics, and budgetary measures that offer the best prospects for achieving measurable positive results, in line with that organization’s larger mission and values.
Civil Society Capacity Building
I have worked within civil society extensively, and within the larger practitioner community on civil society strengthening activities for many years and in locations around the globe. Past work has included helping organizations to become established and to create effective institutional structures and processes to achieve their vision, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of an institution, orient the organization around achieving measurable results, and providing advice on leadership, management, proposal writing and marketing, reporting, recruitment, and strategic planning. I also have applied my expertise in how to create and manage internal ethics review boards, mentoring programs, and the formulation of codes of ethics that provide daily practical guidance on decision-making . I am also adept at facilitating visioning exercises, and in Open Space Technologies workshop processes to take stock of a variety of competing institutional goals and issues.