Hello, my name is Kate Clavijo. I earned my degree in Educational Program Evaluation from the University of Louisville in 2002, and have been working as an evaluator ever since. Over the years, I have held full time evaluator positions and worked for non-profits while doing evaluation consulting on the side. About eight years ago, I left a “traditional” evaluation job and became a full-time consultant. In the early days of full time consulting, I budgeted most of my time for drumming up business and networking with potential clients. This was time well spent, but quite isolating and lonely. My breakthrough moment came after attending an AEA conference and realizing what I missed the most was sharing with evaluators. I like to collaborate and talk about evaluation. The first place I turned to when I returned from the conference was the AEA website. Through the AEA “Find an Evaluator” link, I found two people living in my area and sent them an email asking if they wanted to meet for coffee.
The first lived right around the corner. After several coffees and good conversations about evaluation, she asked for help with one of her projects.
I said yes…and when she moved away to greener pastures she passed on what, to this day, is my favorite client.
I reached out to the second person after admiring her website. We have met for coffee and lunch over the years. During our first meeting, she provided me with inspiration, friendship and some excellent resources related to evaluation consulting.
Recently, she asked “Can you help with conducting an interview?”
I said yes…and was exposed first hand to an evaluation of a complex initiative where networks of people and organizations are changing systems in local communities and I saw a very innovative use of graphic presentation.
Reach out to other evaluators. There is no need for an agenda – friendship and talking about evaluation are the immediate rewards.
Say yes. When an evaluator asks for help, just say yes. You never know what you will learn, who you will meet and how it will shape your own evaluation practice.
Find an Evaluator is a free searchable online resource provided by the American Evaluation Association. It includes the contact information and area of expertise of hundreds of evaluators across the country and the world. Most people might want to start by searching for evaluators close to home, but you can also search for evaluators working in a specific niche.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating IC TIG Week with our colleagues in the Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our IC TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.