About the Evidence in Practice Project

The Evidence in Practice Project was created by:

Jillian Anderson, an MBA-MA in Global Affairs candidate at Yale, is interested in ways to build more effective institutions, with a particular interest in building effective health systems and the role of NGOs in development. She previously worked for a women’s health biotech start up and NGOs focused on Global Health in Zambia and Ethiopia.

Shira Beery is passionate about how ecosystems of actors can effectively work together to achieve social and environmental goals. A Senior Consultant at Deloitte, Shira previously worked to promote civil and human rights in the Middle East and sustainable livelihood development in Central America, India, and West Africa. She received an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2017.

Rodrigo Canales is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management. He conducts research at the intersection of organizational theory and institutional theory, with a special interest in the role of institutions for economic development.

Charles Cannon is a designer and educator focused on bringing design and design thinking to bear on social, environmental and business innovation. He is the Head of the Industrial Design Department at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Hitoishi Chakma is a current MA candidate in Global Affaris at Yale, with a focus on emerging markets and applied statistics. He has previously worked in Microfinance in Bangladesh and most recently at a fintech accelerator in Seattle focused on supporting fintech startups in emerging markets.

Erika Drazen works on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly as they relate to climate change policy, sustainable livelihoods, tropical forests, and zero-deforestation supply chains. She has worked and conducted research mainly in South Asia (India and Sri Lanka), in addition to Thailand, Australia, South Africa and Panama. She graduated from Yale with a joint MBA and Master of Environmental Science (MESc) in 2017.

Jessica Gallegos is currently a Program Manager at Google, where she is working at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare. Prior to that, she worked as a Social Development Analyst for the Latin America and Caribbean region at the World Bank Group. She has experience working in the private, public and non-profit sectors, and is passionate about building bridges that connect those three worlds. She graduated with an MBA from Yale University in 2016.

Tory Grieves, an MBA-Master of Environmental Management candidate at Yale, explores ways to channel private investment into conservation efforts, both domestically and in developing countries. She previously worked on community-based conservation with IUCN in Nepal and on urban ecology pilot projects in New York City as an Environmental Scientist with Biohabitats, an ecological design firm.

María del Mar Gutiérrez works in Mexico City on corporate sustainability, helping companies achieve their business goals by integrating sustainability principles into their business strategies and day to day operations. She graduated from Yale University with a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) in 2016.

Jessica Helfand is a designer, educator and writer. A founding editor of Design Observer, she teaches at Yale School of Art and Yale School of Management.

Elizabeth Karron is a senior at Yale University studying History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.

Emilie Leforestier focuses on the intersection between public and private sectors: how public institutions and university systems maximize their impact on their communities, and how the public sector can support private sector growth and job creation. She previously worked for the European Union, and spent time exploring private sector development in Jordan and the Middle East. She graduated in 2017 from Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Brendan Lehan, an MBA candidate at the Yale School of Management, focuses on how diverse stakeholders can work together to address complex social issues. Prior to Yale, Brendan worked for Deloitte Consulting LLP, where he helped social impact clients develop and integrate robust strategies for increasing impact. He has also worked for Omidyar Network and Third Sector Capital Partners, helping those firms to develop and execute strategies for using impact investing to create change.

Scott Lensing, an MBA candidate at the Yale School of Management, explores the intersection of design, innovation, and social impact. Prior to Yale, Scott worked in project management and operations for Chrysalis, a workforce development social enterprise assisting people with high barriers to employment across Los Angeles. Recently, Scott has been a student consultant for nonprofits in New Haven and South Africa, and interned at Social Finance, a nonprofit driving public and private capital toward evidence-based social programs.

Tony Sheldon is executive director of the Program on Social Enterprise and a lecturer in the practice of management at the Yale School of Management. His most recent publication is From Extreme Poverty to Sustainable Livelihoods: A Technical Guide to the Graduation Approach (World Bank, second edition 2018). He has an AB degree from Princeton and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale.

Kiersten Abate Sweeney is a Social Innovation Specialist at the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, where she helps organizations explore and utilize sustainable financing models for evidence-based programs that address the social determinants of health. She is passionate about unlocking efficient and sustainable financing for proven services that create value, both socially and economically. Kiersten received her MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2016 and has worked in the innovative financing space both in the US and abroad.

Ewelina Swierad, PhD, MA, EdM, Dr. Swierad has earned her degrees at Columbia University in New York City and University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her areas of expertise involve a hybrid of psychology, culture, obesity, public health, and innovation. As a research scientist, Dr. Swierad currently examines the relationship between neighborhood environment and community health and well-being at CUNY, and she also works on building a multidisciplinary model of health promotion at Columbia Medical Center.

Betsy Vardell is the executive producer at Design Observer.

Katherine Wong is currently a data analyst at Amazon working on counterfeit reduction, and previously worked at Yale as a researcher focused on environmental and development economics. Prior to that, she worked for an economic consulting firm focused on public-private partnerships with clients such as the World Bank and UN.

Lauren Wyman is a joint degree candidate with the Yale School of Management and Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the UN World Food Programme in Panama and Colombia. At Yale, she focuses on mechanisms to promote employment in areas affected by conflict.


Special thanks to Heather Amero, Stacy Awe, Lacey D’Amato, and Lindsay Mongillo for their crucial administrative support.