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Spotlight on TCC Group Changemakers: Stephanie Coker

In your view, what is the value of creating space to bring people together around a shared objective?

I think of convenings broadly as opportunities for reflection and collaboration that are often centered on – but not limited to – events held on a periodic basis. My favorite convenings are those that encourage ad-hoc collaboration or communities of practice. On the Evaluation and Learning team, we’re actively involved in many of the latter. I like to use these as opportunities to learn what has worked well or to learn more about specific topic areas, some of which have recently included ‘Human-Centered Design’ and ‘ICT4D’. I’m able to collaborate with other professionals on convening design and conference presentations, which help to amplify our collective TCC Group voice. It’s how I approach scholarship in this field, in a non-traditional and non-academic way. 

What innovative approaches are you bringing to your work?

I like to think of innovation as the capacity to cultivate and maintain a flexible attitude towards ideas. It’s also the ability to recognize when techniques that may be unfamiliar can actually enhance existing modes of work. Innovative approaches also don’t have to reinvent the wheel or be brand-new. For example, iterative design is a process that has its roots in engineering, but also has many useful applications to designing and evaluating new social projects.

 What do you think TCC Group does differently with our clients?

I think TCC’s collaborative approach is truly valued by our clients. We work very hard to make sure an evaluation design actually meets their needs. We walk through our research processes together and work collaboratively to think through implications from our findings and recommendations for work moving forward.

Tell us about a project you are working on right now!

I’m excited about my ongoing work with GitHub’s Tech for Social Good to facilitate a community of practice focused on engaging Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) professions in the open source technology space. The MERL Center is a community that develops resources about the intersection of MERL and open source, data science and human-centered design. I get to work with MERL practitioners and software developers from over 15 countries across five continents in creating and understanding new tools and resources for MERL.

Can you share an example of a time you have seen your work at TCC make an impact?

I’m currently working with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Center for Health Equity to design an evaluation framework that is both equitable and rigorous. The Center is working to strengthen, amplify and sustain the AMA’s work to eliminate health inequities across the health ecosystem, while also addressing AMA’s past and/or persistent practices that have excluded, formally or informally, physicians based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and country of origin. It is a bold initiative and I’m more than thrilled to be able to contribute my expertise as a woman-identifying and first-generation immigrant evaluator of color.

You can learn more about Stephanie and her work at TCC Group here.

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