What's New With Crux?
Updates on the Crux team, fun stories, whiteboards, and who knows what else you will find here!
Just because our office is closed dose not mean we cannot celebrate together! The Crux team celebrated Mother’s Day this year by coming up with our best Mother’s Day hats.
Barbara Grant is the Founder and CEO of Crux Consulting Consortium. She advises leaders and organizations on their most pressing issues related to mission, strategy, team development, and relationship to equity, inclusion and belonging. Barbara works with clients from various sectors – private, public, and social – and has gained perspective on all different levels of these systems.
This includes multi-national corporations and NGOs (Microsoft, PATH), social impact investors, foundations and social entrepreneurs, business and membership associations, public agencies and school districts, and local organizations of all sizes. Her perspective combined with her fundamental skills of being present, deeply listening, and being unusually useful, makes her an engaging and insightful thought partner.
Her own leadership experience prior to the last two decades of running an international consulting practice, ranges from building programs in prisons, to a decade at Microsoft, including directing Microsoft’s Leadership Development programs worldwide. Based in systems thinking, equity and data informed decision making, Barbara bridges differences to support clients at all levels to take meaningful, sustainable action, in support of their missions.
Barbara is hard-hitting, clear, direct, and strategic. She is skilled at discussing and strategizing toward dismantling systemic barriers to forward movement, and helping people re-understand the world without the distortion and privilege. Barbara partners with leaders in multiple roles to help transform and build internal strength to achieve their goals and advance mission impact. Clients regularly report that they value her practical, outcome-based orientation.
Barbara has a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Bastyr University and a BA in International Relations from the University of Notre Dame. She is culturally competent and has experience in a variety of countries and settings, is fluent in Spanish, and, being of Irish heritage, has a well-developed sense of humor. Barbara lives happily in Seattle, is an active community volunteer, and a parent of two very interesting teenagers.
Florence Ainsworth is an International executive leadership coach, strategic consultant, speaker and emerging author. Florence is a citizen of the world –a Jamaican family, a British-born citizen for 40 years and long-term resident of the Netherlands on various globally international professional assignments. Florence has lived in, and worked and collaborated across four continents, with over 20 nations including Russia, most of Europe, China, South and Central America and the United States.
With 30 years’ experience, Florence has established top leadership positions by standing on grassroots frontlines as well as leading and developing diverse teams in major organizations including Nike, adidas and Asics. She thrived with full P&L responsibility, in co-creating winning product strategies of international athletic teams and world-class women in sport, such as Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and strategic consulting in the fight against global deforestation and social injustice.
Having been not only the first woman, but a woman of color to be appointed in senior positions in a number of executive teams where her presence challenged the prejudices embedded in the structures of the organizational culture that she worked in. Her appointment and subsequential performance inspired a change of attitude towards diversity and inclusion in gender and race. Inspired by her experiences, The Flow Effect coaching and learning practice was founded in 2009, with a philosophy grounded in a belief that every individual has innate talents and are purposed to contribute to the world; a mindset which she activates using her emotional intelligence and intuitive ability to hold people safe, seen and heard, regardless of their background or circumstance.
Her deep empathy, insight, and willingness to be vulnerable allow her to fiercely confront seemingly complicated or uncomfortable issues in a way that is disarming yet propels clients to action. She believes in authenticity and in doing business with heart and that people, performance, profit and making a difference can go solidly hand in hand.
Via her own state of ‘flow’, she now delivers bespoke workshops and sessions designed to facilitate leaders that impact on others to build resilient teams to an accountability-centred mindset, prioritizing intentional leadership practices that encourage unity of purpose and cultural systemic change.
KJ Williams is Owner and Founder of RISE with KJ, LLC (Radical, Insightful, Solutions to Create Equity). Under this umbrella KJ facilitates the work of diversity, equity and inclusion by working with organizations, groups and individuals across industries. The work of RISE is grounded in the belief that working from the inside first develops the infrastructure necessary for change, sustainability, and growth. While working as the Diversity Program Manager for the Washington State Bar Association KJ originated the “Inside – Out” philosophy as the working premise behind the inaugural diversity and inclusion plan. In her role, KJ provided equity and inclusion leadership to WSBA’s 40k+ members and functioned as internal consultant and coach to the WSBA Board of Governors and executive staff, and as external consultant, educator, speaker and facilitator to law schools, legal organizations, law firms, student groups and individuals.
KJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Washington, a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University. KJ has served as member of the City of Seattle LGBT Commission, University of Washington School of Law Diversity Committee, the Board of Directors for the Initiative for Diversity, and the University of Washington School of Law Gates Scholarship Committee.
KJ is an alum and faculty for JustLead Washington’s Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy. In 2015 KJ received the Community Service Award from the Loren Miller Bar Association, dedicated to addressing disparities in the African American community. KJ has written for Black Women’s Blueprint, For Harriet, NWLawyer and NWSidebar. Recent articles include “Silent No More,” April 2019 NWLawyer, “When “N#gg!r§”* Rise” December 2017 NW SideBar written in response to hate rhetoric targeting black female attorney’s, judges and girls of color interested in pursuing careers in the legal profession, and “Learning from Orlando – Transforming a Culture of Violence” (NW Lawyer 2016). As committed as she is to the work, KJ experiences a big, bold and beautiful life with her wife and children.
As the Client and Team Logistics Coordinator, Douglas makes sure that the Crux internal systems are humming along smoothly so that our consultants can fully devote themselves to the clients. His keen eye for detail and organization was honed studying the complexities of American politics as a Political Science major at Seattle University, and his background in problem solving, service, and childcare make him a perfect fit for this role.
A Northwest native, Douglas enjoys staying active, the outdoors, basketball, and music. He is a big sports fan, and you can curry favor by initiating discussions about the NBA, and particularly the Portland Trail Blazers.
Simmy is the newest member of the Crux Consulting Consortium.
She brings a decade of experience in the nonprofit industry. Having spent her career in fundraising and program management, Simmy is most passionate about cultivating relationships and developing systems and processes. These two skills recognize how a small part contributes to a whole- how our work is interconnected. As Project Lead, Simmy bridges Crux services and client needs, providing a seamless partnership.
Simmy earned her BA from Franklin University Switzerland, and MPA from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a focus in community development. Through her subsequent work, she developed a deep interest in racial equity. She has worked in different organizations building trusting, long-term partnerships to jointly achieve solutions. Simmy is passionate about supporting leadership and self-determination, specifically within communities of color, to amplify the stories of resilience and liberation that drive us forward. As a relatively new resident of Seattle, Simmy is engaged in the work in building community and finding the ways to engage with the city she now calls home.
Cynthia’s focus is on effective change agency and management, the application of LEAN management to the public sector and leadership development. Her public sector experience includes the roles of high school history teacher, strategic advisor in Seattle’s Office of Policy and Management, Supervisor in the King County Office of Management and Budget, Chief Financial Officer of the Seattle and King County Public Health Department, and Director of the Housing Choice Voucher program in the Seattle Housing Authority. In addition to acquiring expertise in education, criminal justice, public health and housing, along the way Cynthia developed a unique talent as a change agent. She is adept at turning around departments struggling with morale or compliance issues, thereby improving efficiency and productivity, as well as enabling happier employees and customers.
Cynthia’s facilitations allow clients to arrive at clear, concise, and measurable strategies. She has a particular talent for diagnosing why agencies are struggling, and working with staff to identify and implement data-driven solutions. She focuses on listening to the experts – those who are doing the work – and then building trust with staff in order to produce sustainable change. She is committed to pushing for top notch customer service, efficiency and staff engagement.
Cynthia holds an MPA from the Evans School of Public Affairs and a BA in History and Political Science. She is the mother of four tremendous young women. When she is not consulting, Cynthia enjoys gardening, playing with her crazy dogs, attending local concerts, cooking and traveling.
Kristen works with small and medium-sized nonprofits and foundations in transition; helping them identify the roadblocks that have impeded progress, build new systems to support their goals, and move beyond putting out fires to planning for the road ahead. Her sector of experience is in nonprofit operations, finance, and accounting, bringing technical and legal issues to life in a way that makes sense and is integrated across the functional areas of the organization. She is fluent in Spanish, and is currently working almost 100% in that language with an international client with offices in Spain and Colombia.
Kristen’s community-based work started as a Peace Corps volunteer many years ago, and since then she has worked with many CBOs. One role was related to building the capacity of rural youth development organizations, via co-creation and implementation of community and youth development curriculum. More recently Kristen has worked as a program officer in two grantmaking organizations that had capacity building as a key accompaniment to financial investments.
Kristen led finance and programs at Women’s Funding Alliance for over nine years, most recently as the Associate Director. She oversaw grantmaking and community engagement programs, as well as financial management and accounting for the organization. Prior to Women’s Funding Alliance, she managed the Business Development Center at UW Bothell, where she provided consultation to small business owners and linked business students with consulting projects. She completed the MBA program at University of Washington, and has been teaching in the fundraising and nonprofit management certificate programs for many years.
Liz Morris works at the intersection of information advocacy, community development, and public policy. She brings over ten years of project management, research, and programming expertise to her work with clients. Prior to her career in consulting, she worked as a project manager at the international library cooperative OCLC. There, she coordinated the design, implementation, and evaluation of multi-year, national-scale projects focused on professional development for public library staff in the areas of health literacy and early literacy, leveraging online and community-based learning environments. She is a skilled writer, communicator, and instructional designer, and brings out the best perspectives of partners working together from multiple sectors. She has a BA in History, a minor in Medical History and Ethics, and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington, as well as a professional project management certification. In her free time, she volunteers as a family advisor at Seattle Children’s Hospital and serves as the board President of Friends of the Edmonds Library.
Kathy brings 25 years’ experience in project management, as well as administrative and executive support, to her role as Business Manager at Crux. She came to us from another Seattle-based consultancy, doing national and international work in the philanthropic sector, where she spent four years as Office Manager/Administrator.
Kathy’s previous professional career was in the adventure travel industry. She was Operations Manager and Coordinator of full-ship charters for Society Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, companies which designed educational expeditions to off-the-beaten-path organizations such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Indonesia, South America and remote islands of the South Pacific. An experienced writer and editor, Kathy also spent four years as writer and publisher of marketing materials and newsletters promoting high-end travel itineraries.
Kathy spent a decade pursuing volunteer leadership and advocacy within her community while raising two young children. Her roles utilized and polished existing strengths in organization, project management, writing and editing, while providing her firsthand experience in grant administration, fundraising and advocacy relating to public education.
Kathy received a B.A. in International Relations, with an emphasis on Anthropology, from Brown University.
Galen enjoys connecting the dots that bring both depth and structure to projects. He is process oriented, always searching for the quickest route to the best solution. Galen developed this skill as a professional baker and food educator in Bellingham and Seattle, pursuing a passion for building community around sharing food. He has led inquiry-based gardening and cooking classes that showcased how the enjoyment of a meal can transcend socio-economic, cultural and generational boundaries.
Galen has a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies from Western Washington University where he studied the intersection of social, environmental, and economic policy. He will build on that experience at the UW Evans School of Public Policy, where he is a Master of Public Administration candidate. Whatever the project, Galen brings compassion, creativity and determination.
Bernardo is the former Director of the School Family Partnerships, Equity & Race Relations and Native American Education Departments for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), providing vision, leadership and hands-on work to systemically advance racial equity. Bernardo, co-founder of Racing to Equity, brings over 20+ years of experience working on issues of race and social justice—working with community groups, foundations, private companies, and government agencies dedicated to building a more just and democratic society.
Anita is a long-time educator (27 years in the classroom), community activist and has been an instructor in the Seattle Teacher Residency Program, since its inception six years ago, preparing teachers for the classrooms of today. Anita is a Courage & Renewal Facilitator, a Class Action Lead Trainer and co-founder of Racing to Equity, a consulting firm focusing on centering race and equity. The common thread that runs through all that Anita does is her focus on Social Justice and Racial Equity.
Laura leads like the point guard on a basketball team: She gets everyone around her in the right position to fully succeed using their own gifts, skills and dreams. A big part of leading, Laura believes, is listening; everyone has a story, and she loves hearing them, from a 4-year-old’s musings to the history of someone 84, and all the ones in between.
Laura graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Arizona, majoring in Rehabilitation Counseling and minoring in Public Health Administration. While at university she served on the Newman Center Student Council and volunteered at Hospice.
Laura earned a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Washington. During her tenure there she served as Vice President of the Student Bar Association and participated on the Moot Court Honor Board. Her peers honored her by choosing her to be their student graduation speaker, where she spoke about taking the blindfold off to see diversity and difference as a way to achieve justice.
Her problem-solving approach is to empower others while working as a strong advocate for people across all sectors. She is well versed in navigating systems impacted by economics and discrimination and has experience working with people with differing degrees of physical and mental ableness and their families. She practiced law in the areas of family law, child abuse and neglect law and special education law.
Brenda Johnson brings systems thinking and an action research-based approach to the Crux team. With a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Columbia University and her experience as a both a university professor and organizational consultant, she brings practical experience, an analytical approach, and strong teaching skills together to help clients.
She has worked as a diversity management specialist, program evaluator and, lest you think you’ve figured her out, a journey-level carpenter.
Brenda’s academic work focuses on gender and racial diversity in the workplace and organizational learning; she has designed curriculum and taught university-level courses in conflict resolution, organizational development, multicultural psychology, diversity management, cultural competence, research methods, and group dynamics. She is currently an adjunct professor at Seattle University, teaching Leadership in a Pluralistic Society at the School of Theology and Ministry and Leading Staff in Arts Organizations at the Albers School of Business. Brenda is also a member of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.
As a consultant, Brenda partners with leaders and managers to craft solutions to workplace challenges, and to guide clients through implementation in a manner that secures buy-in at all levels of an organization. She has worked with Otis Elevator, American Greetings, the US Army and the London Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Brenda works with energy and enthusiasm and brings a positive approach to problem-solving on issues of any scope. She understands the challenges of leading and managing diverse organizations; her colleagues often note her ability to listen intently and to offer insights with both humor and compassion.
As a carpenter, Brenda worked for a firm specializing in energy efficient construction, collaboratively managing overall project design and realization, creation of plans and drawings, client prospecting, hiring and management of personnel and subcontractors, logistics, and budget monitoring.
Ken is recognized for his ability to quickly understand issues impacting organizations and communities and businesses. He is skilled and experienced in working across multiple cultures and sectors, having spent over a decade working in significant roles with Native organizations and boards both in New Zealand and the United States. Ken has held leadership positions in public, private and social sector leadership roles, and has consulted across all sectors as well. He specializes in facilitating groups through strategic analysis, business and strategy planning and utilizing data to make stronger decisions.
Ken understands the intersection of business, community, staff and board level decision-making. In addition to his consulting practice, he currently works as the Executive Director of the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, focused on promoting the public’s trust in biomedical research and its ethical conduct. From 2006 to 2011 Ken was the Executive Director of the Potlatch Fund, a Native American leadership development and grant making organization that serves the Pacific Northwest. Ken has also served on the business board of the Duwamish Tribe for three years, and is a current Board member of the Chief Seattle Club. He has presented at seminars and conferences extensively, including the Native Americans in Philanthropy, Grantmakers in Oregon, the Tribal Investing Conference and multiple Funders’ Forums both in the US and internationally.
Prior to relocating to Seattle, Ken was the Chief Executive of Trust Waikato, a large philanthropic trust with a $9 million annual grant budget. Trust Waikato, under Ken’s leadership was recognized as one of the most respected grant making trusts in New Zealand. He has extensive experience with organizations of all sizes both in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. This experience has encompassed strategic planning, organizational refocusing, fund development, community consultation, investment management and socially responsible investing. Ken has studied the Maori language for six years and has attended executive leadership programs at both Harvard and Stanford universities.
Ken is passionate about the role of the social sector in partnership with the economic drivers. He facilitates strong, engaging dialogue and brings out diversity of voices in each conversation. He is also very experienced in the areas of gender, race and diversity and understands the challenges that can arise in communities and organizations in these areas. He has an inclusive work style and will do whatever is necessary to give all parties the opportunity to productively participate.
Mark specializes in workplace communication, organization development and leadership coaching. Whether it’s coaching a manager or director on leadership skills, working with a group to enhance teamwork and improve their communication, or helping to roll out a sustainable change initiative throughout an entire organization, Mark takes a collaborative approach with clients to help improve clarity and commitment in them and their organizations.
Before launching his consulting career, Mark worked for many Seattle-area high technology companies and non-profit organizations including, Aldus Corporation, Concur Technologies, Click2Learn and Seattle Goodwill. During this time he demonstrated an affinity for meeting project objectives with an intuitive approach combined with integrity, compassion and resilience. His desire to help improve the workplace for individuals and their organizations prompted his transition into an external consulting career.
Mark holds a master’s degree in applied behavioral science from the Leadership Institute of Seattle with a focus on leadership and organization development, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. He has certificates in EQ in Action for emotional intelligence assessments and the Hogan 360 assessment tool. Mark uses other diagnostic and assessment tools such as the MBTI, DiSC, Firo-B, TKI and others to determine preferences and measure success. He is especially skilled at successful workplace communication strategies, conflict negotiation, group facilitation, team building, training and leadership coaching.
Fa’izah specializes in helping others to identify and reach their maximum potential in leadership and mission. She is gifted in meeting individuals and groups where they are, and tactfully challenging their growth areas in order to build on their strengths.
During her nearly eighteen years working in the corporate sector, Fa’izah sustained several company mergers and acquisitions. Through her ability to remain flexible and resilient, she has been recognized as a change agent, assisting others in the stewardship of productive change. A moral imperative for inclusion, diversity, racial equity, and educational excellence compelled Fa’izah to transition to the public and non-profit sectors. There, she has led departments, districts, and organizations in cultivating culture, climate, and conditions that attract and retain a diverse and high-quality workforce, center historically marginalized voices, foster innovation, and maximize outcomes beyond outputs.
As a skilled and results-based facilitator, Fa’izah keeps groups to the task at hand, while identifying and balancing the need for collective engagement that honors non-dominant culture. A frequently sought after presenter and keynote speaker, audiences find her to be highly engaging and compelling, with a natural and appropriate levity.
Fa’izah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Northwest University and earned a Master of Education Leadership degree from Washington State University.
Clients frequently return and confidently refer Fa’izah because of her consistent ability to consider holistically the strengths and needs of individuals, provide a safe environment that yields vulnerability and trust, exhibit grace in difficult and courageous conversations, build strong partnerships of expectation and accountability, coach practical and effective frameworks, and maintain a fun and light-hearted demeanor.
Holly Morris is a leader and champion of equity-focused education innovation across the spectrum from early learning to higher education. In her work with EDUCAUSE and the Washington State Charter Schools Association, she focused on principles of user-centered design and led education leaders through design processes to create new schools, new programs, and new business models to increase student success, particularly for systemically underserved student populations. To this work, Holly brings ten plus years of experience in adaptive coaching and change management to build leadership capacity within organizations and ensure initiative sustainability. She holds a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, a M.Ed. (policy) from the University of Washington, and a B.A. (political science) from Northwestern University.
Molly Hanlon has over twenty years of experience in Seattle’s non-profit community, as a board member, staff member and funder. She is a strong leader who has managed diverse groups and delivered complex projects on time and under budget. She enjoys working with organizations that make a difference in our community. She is currently serving as a data visualization consultant, helping people use data to make decisions and drive strategic conversations.
Over the course of her career, Molly has worked in technical program management roles, as a high school math teacher, and as a fundraiser for the College Success Foundation, raising scholarship dollars for low income students across Washington State. Her undergraduate degree is in mathematics from Oregon State University. Her graduate degree is a Master in Teaching from Seattle University, and she received a certificate in data visualization from the University of Washington.
She has served as a board member for the YWCA of Seattle, King and Snohomish County, the Washington Women’s Foundation and Zeno Math. She has been an active volunteer with Social Venture Partners and Team Read. She also leads the Hanlon Foundation; a private family foundation focused on education in the Seattle Community.
Tricia is passionate about transformation, authentic leadership, and improving systems. She is a strategy consulting and leadership coach, partnering with senior leaders in government, nonprofits, and foundations to accelerate impact. As Faculty at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, she has helped lead innovative collaborations in mental and behavioral health, such as launching the first mental health learning collaborative in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Her current work includes being the Quality Improvement Lead in a nationwide collaborative that aims to reduce post-ED suicide attempt rates and fatal overdoses in individuals who have presented in Emergency Departments, through a multi-stakeholder systems approach that bridges hospital emergency departments with community mental health services. At a national level, she has supported and advised Ministries of Health in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to accelerate affordable access to high quality health care by helping prioritize goals, assessing existing programs, and facilitating cross-sector collaborations to meet national quality health goals.
She received her BA from Harvard University, MBA from Columbia Business School and MA in International Affairs from Columbia University. She has been a TEDx speaker, an Acumen Fellow and has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profits in the health and education fields.
Tara is all about partnership, persistence and grace. Whether it’s encouragement to take on a new challenge, a connection to a new resource, a sympathetic ear, or a needed reality check – Tara thrives on helping clients learn and grow. Having spent nearly 20 years working in nonprofits as an Executive Director, Development Director and Board Member, Tara not only has a comprehensive view of the sector, all those years of fundraising have made her relatively dogged and fearless. Among all missions, her favorite is building strong leaders and strong communities, and she feels truly lucky that Crux enables her to do that every day.
Tara is also all about partnership, persistence and grace. Whether it’s encouragement to take on a new challenge, a connection to a new resource, a sympathetic ear, or a needed reality check – Tara thrives on helping clients learn and grow.
Having spent nearly 20 years working in nonprofits as an Executive Director, Development Director and Board Member, Tara not only has a comprehensive view of the sector, all those years of fundraising have made her relatively dogged and fearless.
Tara loves to help people learn. Whether serving as a guest instructor for UW Professional & Continuing education, chairing conferences and workshop series for NDOA (now AFP Advancement Northwest), serving as Pride Foundation’s Board Development Chair, mentoring employees or coaching clients, Tara thrives when the people around her are seeking to grow.
Tara earned her B.A. in Economics and English at the University of Washington. She is also a graduate of the UW Nancy Bell Evans Center’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI). Following college, Tara began her career at United Way of King County, moving from Loaned Executive to Campaign Manager to Assistant Director within the workplace giving team. This provided connection with and exposure to corporate settings ranging from accounting firms, banks and insurance providers to hotels, manufacturers and media companies. After six campaign seasons, Tara was ready for a new adventure and moved on to become Development Director at Seattle Works. There too, she was recognized and promoted, serving as Associated Director, Interim Executive Director and ultimately, Executive Director.
Given Seattle Works’ mission to connect volunteers and develop emerging leaders, Tara’s programmatic expertise is in volunteer engagement, most notably board development. As an executive director, she bolstered her organization’s financial health, navigated a challenging staffing plan to reduce dependence on the AmeriCorps program and garnered national recognition as an innovator in the volunteer movement. During this time she served on the executive committee of the Volunteer Centers of Washington and was one of ten national leaders elected to the inaugural HandsOn Network Affiliate Assembly.
People enjoy working with Tara thanks to her high energy, humor, creativity and work ethic. She approaches problems with curiosity and goodwill and seeks practical, actionable solutions. Among all missions, her favorite is building strong leaders and strong communities, and she feels truly lucky that Crux enables her to do that every day.