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Principal Consultant

Principal Consultant

Steve Patty, Ph.D.

Steve has consulted in leadership development and impact evaluation for national organizations such as the YMCA of the USA and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, international organizations like MEND Central and Josiah Venture, and regional organizations like the nonprofit sector Labor Management Partnership of British Columbia.

He has designed and delivered regional leadership development programs for senior executives in nonprofit leadership (such as the Fellowship in Developmental leadership in Portland OR and Vancouver BC), leadership training for management teams (such as the City of Surrey), and leadership courses for young executives (University Club of Portland), among others.

Steve served as professor and department chair at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon where he taught courses in Leadership, Management, Educational Psychology, Research, Curriculum Development, and Human Development, among others.  He then served as adjunct professor in research for the Ph.D. program in Business at the International University of Monaco.

He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and has been trained at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  His expertise lies in design of education and training, strategy and program development, and impact evaluation and measurement.  He is a published author and frequent public speaker. 

Associate Consultant  Project Impact

Associate Consultant

Project Impact

Jessamyn Luiz

Jessamyn is passionate about creating high-impact organizations where people can thrive. She believes that strong organizations are essential to strong individuals, families and communities. 

Her career has focused on designing and managing programs to meet critical community needs in both the nonprofit and public sector. Since 1998, Jessamyn has been a leader in national service and educational organizations serving children and families of all backgrounds. She spent 7 years leading efforts to build systems to support growth with quality for Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc., a national AmeriCorps program focused on early childhood education and led the turnaround of defunded Head Start programs with Acelero Learning. She also served as the Director of Education for the Pueblo of Tesuque tribal government in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

Most recently, Jessamyn served as the Oregon AmeriCorps Program Officer with Oregon Volunteers, the state commission for volunteerism and service. In this role, she guided organizations in designing and refining AmeriCorps programs to serve Oregon communities in disaster preparedness, education, health and human services and environmental stewardship. In 2013, she partnered with Dialogues in Action LLC to bring the Seeing Impact Project to Oregon AmeriCorps grantees to help them build the evidence base for their programs and demonstrate and deepen their impact on communities. 

Jessamyn holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University in Environmental Analysis and Policy and studied in the Master of Science in Organization Development program at Pepperdine University.

Associate Consultant  Leadership and Evaulation

Associate Consultant

Leadership and Evaulation

Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard has expertise in coaching and developing staff, program innovation, program management and evaluation, risk management, fundraising and community development, membership and customer service, volunteer development, qualitative assessment, strategic planning, goal setting, diversity and inclusion practices, time management, and leading organizational change teams.

Since 1996, she has worked and volunteered for several Bay Area and national non-profit organizations with emphasis in staff development and training.  Kate’s work focuses on helping non-profit organizations develop leadership, evaluate and articulate impact, and synchronize their actions and ideologies.  

For the past fourteen years, Kate has worked for the YMCA of San Francisco.  In her current role in the Staff Development Department, she develops leaders, facilitates cultural change, evaluates impact, and affects meaningful growth. 

As a Senior Associate for Dialogues in Action, Kate has lead multiple evaluation projects, leadership development programs, and strategic planning processes for human service organizations worldwide.  She is currently finishing her master's degree in Human Development through Pacific Oaks University.


Research Associate

Research Associate

Jennifer Manning

Jennifer Manning is trained as a qualitative researcher and has experience facilitating research projects primarily for the not-for-profit sector in Vancouver, British Columbia and throughout Canada. 

Since emigrating to Canada from her native California in 1998, she has worked and volunteered consistently with multiple not-for-profit, charitable organizations - most notably, for the past 15 years, with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and the YMCA World Urban Network.  In addition to qualitative research, she has expertise within the domains of:  Communications, Human Resources, Philanthropy and Fundraising, Training, Operations, Community Engagement, and International Relations. 

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Social Work Degree from California State University, Long Beach in 1996. Her education, training, and early experience as a Social Worker – with a humanist approach and focus on the growth, development, and potential of individuals, organizations, and communities – have dovetailed well with the work of Dialogues in Action and our belief in the value of developing people and our developmental approach to leadership, evaluation, and strategy. 

Jennifer is proud to count herself among the graduates of the very first Project Impact cohort from 2007 and she has been thrilled by the success of Project Impact and other Dialogues in Action courses to build the capacity of those who lead and to deepen the impact of their organizations.

Associate Consultant

Associate Consultant


Erica Bender, Ph.D.

Erica’s passion for evaluation stems from her academic training in Sociology, where she learned the power of qualitative research methods to uncover the deeper meanings and experiences that profoundly shape our lives. Erica earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC San Diego in 2018. Her research explored the growth and development of veterans-focused nonprofit organizations in San Diego.

Erica first engaged with Dialogues in Action as a participant in Project Impact. As a social scientist, she was immediately drawn to Project Impact’s evaluation model because of its foundation in sound research principles. Erica also valued Project Impact’s qualitative approach to observing real impact, in real people, in real time. She later went on to become a Project Impact coach, working with organizations throughout California to develop and discover their impacts.

In this work, Erica brings her years of experience as an award-winning educator to teach her teams proper research design and inspire a sense of excitement and wonder in the research process. She sees her consulting as a kind of teaching experience, with the same possibility for mutual insight and interest that electrifies the best classrooms. She believes that strong evaluation can not only build stronger organizations, but also more motivated leaders and staff.

Associate Consultant

Associate Consultant


Sukh Shergill

Sukh is a practicing civic leader that has led multi-sectoral responses to significantly improve outcomes for vulnerable populations. He has 15 years of leadership experience in education and community planning. His work alongside business, government and community received the Premier’s Award for Innovation for developing sustainable approaches to social programming.

Most recently, Sukh has led organizations to scale up their impact by utilizing a developmental approach to achieve higher levels of engagement. These organizations were characterized by purposeful activity and commitment to exceptional experiences for those that it served. Moreover, these organizations demonstrated measurable positive impact that led to exponential increase in funding and partnership opportunities. Sukh took a national lead by establishing pillars for staff professional development and presented key aspects at the US Coalition for Community Education conference. 

He has earned a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and adopted a solution-focused clinical approach. Sukh also holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Education and Science. His leadership development practices are guided by his educational pedagogy that builds from individual and organizational strengths while concentrating on the adoption of new adaptive approaches.

Assistant Consultant

Assistant Consultant


Emily Sterling

Emily’s love of evaluation and program impact has developed over the years through her insatiable curiosity about people and systems, her Bachelor’s of Comparative Sociology, 10+ years in the education sector and extensive youth development experience. While working with Camp Fire Columbia Middle School Programs, she first went through the Project Impact cohort and was incredibly impressed with the deep understanding of her program’s impact that came out of the process. Since then, she’s been a part of two more rounds of Project Impact work and still loves it!

Emily provides administrative and social media support for Dialogues in Action, to help share DIA’s story of impact with a broad audience.

She has earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Arizona State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Sociology from the University of Puget Sound. Emily is also a small business owner and former director of youth development programming in Portland, OR.