First Freedom Foundation (2018-present)
Branding, Capacity Building, Coalition Building, Collaboration, Communications, Event Planning, Facilitation, Fundraising, Government Relations, Grassroots Mobilization, Innovation, Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Messaging, Networking, Philanthropic Advising, Program Evaluation, Project Management, Public Relations, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Media, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Training, Volunteer Recruiting & Management
Situation: The religious freedom movement lacks a strategy for success. It consists mostly of attorneys, academics, and advocates, with no grassroots or public relations effort. “Religious freedom” is becoming branded as anti-LGBT bigotry.
Action: I founded the First Freedom Foundation to incubate and accelerate a global movement for freedom of expression and belief.
Results: While this initiative is very new, thus far it has received an enthusiastic response from donors and activists alike.
Creation Capital International (2015-present)
Situation: Seven out of ten people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. Power is necessary to improve education, health care, and economic development.
Action: I have leveraged the relationships of trust I have built through years of pro-family advocacy with African governments and churches to develop power plant projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Zambia.
Results: Progress is slow but significant. The churches help decrease transaction costs by providing clear-titled land and by reducing the influence of corruption. The governments help facilitate loans by providing power purchase agreements. But political instability makes it difficult to raise development capital.
The Family Caucus International (1998-2008)
Situation: There was minimal accountability in international negotiations. Delegations would go along with the UN secretariat’s anti-family agenda, even when that agenda violated their own sovereign nations’ laws. At the same time, parliamentarians around the world kept re-inventing the wheel when crafting family policy and enacted laws without awareness of 30 years of social science data on the family.
Action: I founded the Family Caucus International to identify, network, and train pro-family lawmakers around the globe, to bring accountability to the UN and other international treaty bodies by monitoring negotiations and reporting to national capitals, and to serve as a clearinghouse for family policy ideas. As President of the Family Caucus I did the following:
- Directed all aspects of the organization including strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, communications, and managing four employees, multiple subcontractors, and dozens of volunteers
- Participated in many UN and Human Rights Council negotiations affecting the family and religious freedom, and evaluated policy proposals according to the best social science research available
- Communicated information about best practices and potential threats to UN delegates and parliamentarians around the world
- When the debate shifted toward regional bodies, I recruited and trained local pro-life and pro-family organizations to engage in international treaty negotiations at the African Union, Organization of American States, and European Union.
Results: Unfortunately, most of our effort was spent defeating anti-family policies rather than proactively strengthening the family unit, but some important successes include:
- Convincing both the U.S. and Mexican governments to replace their entire delegations when they were supporting policies contrary to national laws.
- Uncovering evidence of USAID violating the Mexico City Policy in Nigeria, and presenting that evidence to the US Congress which resulted in a decrease of their funding
- Persuading the U.S. Congress to defund the UNFPA for supporting China’s coercive one-child policy
- Adding abstinence education to the outcome document of the International Conference on Population and Development +5
- Persuading governments to add pro-life and pro-family reservations to several international treaties, including the Maputo Protocol
- Getting the pro-family Doha Declaration noted by the General Assembly
- Inserting language into the Disabilities Treaty recognizing, “the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”
NGO Coalition for Women, Children, and the Family (1998-present)
Situation: The pro-life/pro-family effort at the UN was fragmented. Representatives of pro-life/pro-family NGOs were unaware of other groups attending the same negotiations, and when they did know about one another they often resisted coordination due to fear that organizing would impose a hierarchy. Individual organizations lacked the strength to substantially influence UN resolutions.
Action: During negotiations, I gathered together Catholics, Protestants, Latter-day Saints, Muslims, and Jews from multiple different organizations for nightly prayer meetings. Participants built trust in one another, and conversations evolved to include strategy and coordination. Eventually, the UN Coalition for Women, Children, and the Family
Results: The coalition has continued to meet regularly for 20 years. Some of the group’s collective successes include:
- Blocking constant efforts to enshrine abortion and gay marriage into customary international law
- Passing the cloning ban
- Producing an independent, coalition newspaper during the ICPD + 5 negotiations (1999)
World Congress of Families IX (2014-2015)
Branding, Coalition Building, Collaboration, Communications, Dialogue, Event Planning, Facilitation, Fundraising, Innovation, International Relations, Leadership, Management, Messaging, Networking, Project Management, Public Relations, Putting Academic Research into Practice, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Volunteer Recruiting & Management
Situation: The World Congress of Families brand was badly damaged after the WCF VIII in Moscow was canceled due to the annexation of Crimea and resulting sanctions against much of the planning committee. Additionally, they were targets of a smear campaign by the Human Rights Campaign, and the host organization for the WCF IX was undergoing a protracted leadership transition.
Action: I was hired as Executive Director to turn around the situation just two weeks before 76 leaders of organizations from 17 countries were scheduled to gather for a planning meeting.
Results: Unfortunately I was not given the leeway to turn around the organization as I had hoped, and eventually resigned. But first I was able to accomplish the following:
- Pulled off an extraordinarily successful planning meeting using Future Search methodology. I was able to disrupt social hierarchies and power dynamics through leveling activities such as skits, and the planning committee jointly created a truly innovative plan.
- I diffused tensions between the World Congress of Families IX and multiple LGBTQI groups which had previously considered protesting and publicly denouncing the event
- I built the framework for a fantastically successful youth track which was held in conjunction with the WCF IX
Circling the Wagons (2015-2016)
Coalition Building, Dialogue, Facilitation
Situation: Tensions between the LGBTQI community and conservative Latter-day Saints in Utah was high due to a Sexual Orientation and Gender Discrimination bill being debated at the Utah State Legislature and also the arrival of the World Congress of Families IX
Action: I accepted a gracious invitation to first participate in a dialogue between members of the clashing communities and then the following year to facilitate a planning session for future action.
Results: While disagreements remain, genuine feelings of warmth and trust were built. Also, during the session I facilitated, concrete plans for future collaboration were made.
Utah Eagle Forum (2014-2016)
Situation: The most powerful pro-family organization in Utah needed to recruit new leaders and was struggling to adopt new technologies which could facilitate their grassroots mobilization.
Action: I accepted a position on their board and worked to attract a younger demographic by creating social media pages, conducting social media trainings for the existing leaders, and facilitating large-group strategic planning sessions at their annual conventions to increase members’ engagement with the leadership and direction of the organization.
Results: Utah Eagle Forum now has a significant social media following with high engagement, and has shifted to a more decentralized management approach to enable broader participation from a younger and busier audience.
Chinese Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (2013-2014)
Action: Together with Dr. Christopher Worley, MSOD professor at Pepperdine University, I helped design and oversaw the execution of a 2.5 day leadership development training which was held simultaneously in Beijing and Jinan for a total of 30 NGO leaders.
Results: Overall the participants’ feedback was positive, and CANGO staff said that it was “an excellent start for intercultural exchange and practice, helpful in activating leadership awareness and further action steps.”
Costa Rica United States Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) (2013)
Situation: Changing priorities was creating tension between the board of directors and administrative staff, as the focus shifted toward renewable energy and economic development.
Action: I co-led a team of consultants to conduct leadership coaching for executive staff on board alignment; I also advised them on the emerging field of social enterprise and program-related investments.
Results: CRUSA created a programs committee to evaluate programmatic results and communicate those results to the board. They also leveraged their $98 million fund by providing bridge capital for a rural solar power pilot program, building nine prototypes of solar-powered schools, and funding research to support other social enterprises for economic development.
Institut de Socio-Économie des Entreprises et des Organizations (The Institute of Research and Expertise in Socioeconomic Management) (2013)
Situation: The founder and president of ISEOR wanted to increase awareness about their unique expertise to increase their influence in the organization development community.
Action: I led a team to perform an international market analysis of the organization development space including conducting a focus group and interviews with leaders in the field.
Results: We delivered a strategic PR plan to increase engagement with multiple stakeholder groups.
U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (2013)
Leadership Development, Program Evaluation
Situation: The Western Regional Headquarters of USCIS had recently conducted a total quality management program and wanted to evaluate its effectiveness
Action: Together with a team of consultants I conducted focus groups with a diverse sample of stakeholders and 1:1 interviews with executive management to determine how well the program was being received and implemented.
Results: We provided USCIS executives with a summary of our findings and recommended next steps to improve quality management processes across the organization.
Get to Know Mitt (2012)
Situation: Mitt Romney was seen as cold and unsympathetic, and his official campaign did not seem to prioritize closing his empathy gap.
Action: I started an independent expenditure to improve Romney’s likability and recruited Mitt’s colleague and brother-in-law; Produced 24 videos with interviews of Mitt’s friends, neighbors, and colleagues to highlight traits like empathy and generosity; Developed and executed a social media campaign to distribute the videos.
Results: Although our efforts proved to be too little too late, exit polls confirmed my assessment that “cares about people like me” was the key factor in deciding the election.
Situation: In addition to the empathy gap, Mitt also had zero cool factor. Young Republican urbanites felt isolated, and again the official campaign made no apparent effort to reach this demographic. Also we needed some cash to fund the Get to Know Mitt videos.
Action: Together with my sister-in-law who was a PR professional in Manhattan we sold “MITT’S THE SH*T” merchandise at New York’s Fashion Week and online at mittsthebomb.com.
Results: Both money and eyebrows were raised. Some chic conservatives came out of the closet.
Samake 2012 (2011-2012)
Situation: Mali was one of the longest continuous democracies in Africa, having held free & fair elections for over 20 years.
Action: I agreed to be Yeah’s campaign manager and did the following:
- Designed and executed the campaign strategy, messaging, and branding
- Raised money from high dollar donors, small donors, and through the sale of merchandise
- Managed subcontractors and dozens of volunteers
- Planned campaign rallies and fundraising events for up to 450 people
- Generated stories in CNN, PRI’s The World, Slate Magazine, Le Republican, and dozens of outlets in Mali
- Created an innovative voter canvassing system wherein volunteers would go from village to village with solar-powered tablets loaded with videos of the candidate explaining his platform and create the first-ever database of Malian voters
Results: Although the election was canceled due to a coup d’etat, Mr. Samake’s popularity and reputation for honesty enabled him to help negotiate a peaceful resolution to the coup.
Michel Martelly for President (of Haiti) (2010)
Situation: Haiti was literally a disaster zone. The leading presidential candidate represented the status quo, and Michel Martelly promised transparency and fiscal discipline.
Action: I worked with Pras Michel and other campaign supporters to craft a detailed campaign strategy including a budget, timeline, and assigned roles and responsibilities; an ambitious plan to mobilize young supporters, recruit volunteers, and organize neighborhood canvassing; and a security plan to safeguard voting boxes on election day. However, I discontinued my work with the campaign when it became clear that Martelly was not a desirable candidate.
Results: Martelly implemented the strategy I crafted and won the election. He went on to become a total disappointment as president, and I continue to hope for a better future for Haiti.
Sustain Haiti (2010)
Situation: While I was enrolled in a Social Entrepreneurship class at Brigham Young University’s MBA program, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing millions.
Action: Several classmates and I co-founded Sustain Haiti. We conducted a market analysis and identified square foot gardening, hygiene/sanitation education, and water filtration microenterprise as achievable projects with high impact, and recruited student volunteers to spend their summer in Haiti. As the lead on PR and fundraising, I designed media kits for our volunteers to send to their hometown newspapers and conducted fundraising training seminars to help fund this and future humanitarian endeavors.
Results: Within weeks of the earthquake we had the organization up and running, recruited 32 volunteers to spend their summer in Haiti, placed dozens of articles in local newspapers, and raised over $128k to cover our costs. To this day, Sustain Haiti continues to send student volunteers to Haiti.
John Adams Center Duck Beach Symposium 2010-2011
Action: I jokingly suggested co-opting an annual beach trip when LDS singles gathered from graduate schools around the country. We actually did it, and recruited speakers who could engage a young audience.
Results: I persuaded a standing room only, 140+ person crowd to spend Memorial Day at an academic symposium rather than the beach. We also broadcasted the symposium live on the internet and attracted 500+ additional viewers. Momentum from the initial event carried the organization for multiple years.
Choice Humanitarian (2010)
Situation: When a plane crash killed several members of their staff, CHOICE Humanitarian commissioned an organizational assessment to help determine a path forward.
Action: Together with a team of consultants, we conducted 1:1 interviews with members of the board, the staff, and donors, and designed a stakeholder survey for volunteers.
Results: CHOICE Humanitarian has become a model for international development, working to eradicate extreme poverty from the grassroots up, and holding themselves to the highest standards of measurement and accountability.
Reach the Children (2009)
International Development, Program Evaluation
Situation: After months of negotiations over the Maputo Protocol in capitals and conference rooms in countries where the rule of law meant little, I needed some time with the people. A friend asked if, while I was on the continent, I could visit Ghana to perform site evaluations for his organization’s “Stay Alive” HIV/AIDS prevention program.
Action: I traveled hundreds of miles down dusty roads to school after school where I met kids who knew more about HIV/AIDS than I did at the time (like the fact that children often contract HIV by picking up used razor blades to sharpen their pencils). I interviewed students, teachers, and administrators to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum.
Results: My heart was filled with hope. I determined to spend more of my time and talents on international development so that I could help more people to help themselves.
World Family Policy Center (1999-2009)
Situation: Policymakers were making decisions based on radical ideology rather than empirical data, and it was difficult to communicate solid social science to UN delegates and ambassadors in the high-stress environment of international negotiations.
Action: As President of the Family Caucus International and also a member of the board of the WFPC, I invited lawmakers to World Family Policy Forums where diplomats could learn from top family policy experts and socialize with one another and with pro-family NGOs in a relaxed setting.
Results: Diplomats were able to use academic research in their policy-making and relationships were strengthened so that we could serve as an ongoing resource.
The Leadership Institute (1997)
Event Planning, Leadership Development, Project Management, Training, Volunteer Recruiting and Management
Situation: Fresh out of high school, when I arrived for my internship at the Leadership Institute I was told that the Director of Schools, who was supposed to have been my boss, had resigned. The Vice-President of Programs informed me that after my four-year history with the institute they had full confidence in me and had no intention of filling the position until the end of the summer when I could train my replacement (which I did). Thus, all of the training of a $6MM organization which existed solely to conduct training fell under my purview.
Action: I organized multiple Youth Leadership Schools and also created and executed an eight-day program for a Candidate Development School, including recruiting many of the best campaign professionals in DC as speakers.
Results: That year we trained the most students in Leadership Institute history, and the relationships I built with the speakers have served me throughout my career. I stayed on as volunteer faculty for the Youth Leadership School and International Leadership Training