It’s a Meet the Team blog post kind of day, and today, we’re highlighting Megan Mitchell, Senior Impact Consultant/Learning Manager here at ResultsLab.
Megan’s passion for data-driven change and strategic planning began as a classroom teacher in Memphis, Tennessee, and has continued through her work within and alongside non-profit organizations as an evaluator, as a state education agency employee supporting strategic portfolio planning efforts, and as a university instructor, curriculum developer, and instructional coach. Megan holds a master’s degree in Community Development from the University of California, Davis where she specialized in mixed-methods evaluation focused on improving social equity and sustainability. Megan believes that equitable design, inclusive data, and lived experiences can create systemic change for all.
Now, it’s time to hear from Megan.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in evaluation and data use?
There’s so much opportunity to use data to inform high leverage, human-centered policies, practices, and programs and to elevate voices and experiences that have been and often still are silenced. There have been substantial investments made in the social sector and yet there are still these huge gaps in access to equitable housing, education, health care, and economic opportunity. There’s so much good thought that has been put into expanding how we collectively share stories and drive change, but there’s so much more to do. I believe transformational social impact for good depends on strong evaluation and data practices.
Q: How have the roles you’ve held in the past contributed to how you work now?
In my work, people and relationships are first. I love working alongside and learning from others who hold expertise in areas where I’m still growing. Because I’ve had a series of different roles across various areas of the social sector, I can envision work from multiple perspectives, from practitioner to strategist, and through the different stages of impact strategy. I’m able to look at things from both a systems-level and drill down to the tactical and lived experiences of individuals. Finally, I’ve used different data approaches and tools across a variety of contexts and can adapt quickly to new contexts and changing information.
Q: What’s your favorite quote/mantra?
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
– Kurt Vonnegut
Q: Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
A wildlife biologist in the field.
Q: What are your top 3 favorite podcasts/books/blogs to follow?
- adrienne maree brown – Adrienne Maree Brown is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and author of Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, We Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the co-host of the How to Survive the End of the World, Octavia’s Parables and Emergent Strategy podcasts. Adrienne is rooted in Detroit.
- Ologies – A comedic science show hosted by Alie Ward and named one of Time Magazine’s top 50 podcasts.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race – I’m an avid fan, so I read many, many recaps and listen to the podcast. It’s my sport!
Q: What is something people in your industry/niche have to deal with that you want to fix?
Evaluation priorities and approaches are often set by institutions and funding organizations in positions of power. The best research can have positive impacts on individual lives and the worst can exploit and harm. I don’t necessarily believe that one person can solve these problems, but I do believe in the power of grassroots change starting at the individual level. If I can continue learning and reflecting to build out my anti-racist and equitable evaluation practices, I can positively contribute to collective change.
Q: What are your hobbies?
I’m an avid reader (mostly of fiction), horror movie fan, and crafter. I love the outdoors – hiking, camping, and stand-up paddleboarding are three ways I love to exist outside. I play roller derby and am taking small steps towards urban homesteading through gardening and raising chickens.
Q: Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Agriculture runs deep in my family. My mom is a third-generation farmer and I grew up learning the ropes of raising livestock!
Thank you, Megan, for letting us pick your brain and get to know you better. Be on the lookout for our other ResultsLab teammate features in the upcoming months, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.