This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).
My name is Stan Capela and the Vice President for Quality Management and Corporate Compliance Officer for HeartShare Human Services of New York.
Why I chose to honor this evaluator:
I am honoring Michael Q. Patton because he defines what it means to be a mentor. A mentor is someone who tries to help you break into your field. MQP was there to help me early on in my career when I was still an inexperienced evaluator. At the time, I couldn’t understand why no one wanted to deal with me and why evaluation was intimidating to my colleagues. To address this issue, MQP suggested a book entitled Utilization Focused Evaluation. He said it would offer some suggestions on how to overcome resistance to evaluation and help stakeholders understand its value. With this new approach, stakeholders told me how useful evaluation was to them.
A mentor is someone who inspires you to move forward no matter what. When I was President of the Society for Applied Sociology (SAS), MQP gave the keynote at my conference one month after September 11th. Everyone was canceling their conferences because no one wanted to fly. MQP did not back down. Instead, he carried on to deliver his keynote speech on the relevance of program evaluation to the field of applied sociology.
A mentor is someone who helps you to make positive strides in your career. He reads evaltalk and saw a post that I did. MQP asked if he could include it in a revised edition of Utilization Focused Evaluation. This book was my bible on program evaluation from the very beginning.
A mentor is someone who gives you feedback that helps you produce your best work. MQP took the time to review a PQI Plan that I developed for my $150 million organization. Following that, he suggested that I offer an expert lecture on it at the AEA Conference to help strengthen the field.
A mentor is someone who has made a difference in this world. MQP has devoted his life to strengthening the field and who provided me with nearly 40 years of impactful evaluation experience that makes me feel like the richest person on the face of this earth.
As my mentor, MQP helped me understand the right questions to ask and how best to provide the information in a way that helps strengthen program performance. In the end, MQP helped me become the evaluator that I am today and to better serve the children, adults and families in HeartShare’s care.
As an evaluator, he has helped me understand the importance of utilization and how to communicate the value of program evaluation in strengthening program performance.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. 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.