The Improve Group staff held our annual office retreat on December 18th at the Como Conservatory. To a backdrop of bird song and gigantic ferns the staff gathered to celebrate, regroup and plan. And there was much to celebrate with the company expanding in size and scope in 2012. Particular highlights were a sense of pride around the new countries we worked in, innovative tools created, strong returns from our marketing and procurement efforts, and sharing our knowledge and learning new ideas at the annual American Evaluation Association conference.
Staff quickly set to work defining focus for the new year and models that would be followed to achieve new goals. We also reviewed some instruments we use, both new and past, for clarity and relevance. It was not all work though, as we managed a white elephant gift exchange and a beautiful walk through the flowers and plant-filled rooms of the Conservatory. It was just the atmosphere to refresh us on a dreary winter day. We particularly enjoyed the sloth who hung out on the tree just below our conference room balcony.
As we wrapped up we had our holiday party to look forward to that evening. Staff and their families took over the bowling alley beneath The Nook in Saint Paul. Food, bowling and lots of kids made it a joyful event for everyone.
Watch for more photos of the day to be posted soon on our IG Facebook page.
Posted: December 19th, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About planning, Around the office, Staff Activities | Tags: AEA, American Evaluaiton Association, Como Conservatory, evaluation, families, IG retreat, IG staff, Improve Group, Improve Group Facebook, Leah Goldstein Moses, photos, retreat, sloth, The Nook | No Comments »
The Improve Group is currently accepting applications for a full time Research Assistant. To view the job requirements and how to apply, please click here. Applicants must submit materials by November 28, 2012 to be considered. The Improve Group recently received a Best Places to Work Award form the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal. We would love to add another talented and engaged member to our staff. Is it you?
Posted: November 9th, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About evaluation, Staff Activities | Tags: application, full time position, Improve Group, job posting, jobs, Reserach Assistant, Samantha Hagel, work for the Improve Group | No Comments »
The American Evaluation Association 2012 Conference’s local arrangements committee identified fun activities to keep attendees energized and excited throughout the conference. When the group came up with the idea of a fun run, Improve Group employees jumped at the chance to volunteer to help coordinate. Jill Lipski Cain, Cami Connell and Leah Goldstein Moses brainstormed scenic routes, will wear a recognizable t-shirt and head gear, and will each lead a group at a different running pace. It’s a come-as-you-are, meet at a certain door, and run for fun event. You can sign up for this heart-healthy activity at the Minnesota Table at the convention. The run will occur at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24th. Please join us to enjoy the beautiful Fall colors in Minnesota. You can download a map of the running route here.
- Cami Jill & Leah – Our running guides
Posted: October 22nd, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About evaluation, Staff Activities | Tags: AEA Convention, American Evaluation Association, Cami Connell, Convention event, Fun Run, Improve Group, Jill Lipski Cain, Leah Goldstein Moses | No Comments »
The 2012 Conference of the American Evaluation Association will be in Minneosta next week. Leah Goldstein Moses, Improve Group President and current Board Chair of the Minnesota Evaluation Association, shares her list of 5 reasons she is excited to be a part of this event:
- I love learning. That’s the #1 reason I am in this field – the opportunity to uncover and learn new things every day. The conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn the lessons of other evaluators!
- I’ll pick up new skills. Each time I go to the annual conference, I gain something that I use for years to come. For example, in Orlando (2009), I went to a session that perfectly distilled for me what hierarchical linear modeling is, and when it is used (in a nutshell: when you have a program that is likely affected by setting – for example, you want to find out whether the classroom or school a student is in makes any difference on student outcomes from a new math curriculum)—I’ve referenced those notes dozens of times since then.
- I’ll get to spend four full days with other people who love evaluation as much as I do. They will represent a full arc of an evaluation career – from students just interpreting and understanding theories to professionals with decades of experience.
- I will gather examples to bring to my clients, so they can place their findings in a broader context. One year, I went to a fantastic session on systems change that I brought back to a client who was working to establish a network in their community.
- My home will be showcased. I love Minnesota, and am so excited for evaluators from across the world to see our beautiful community.
Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About evaluation, Leah's lessons from her sabbatical, Learning opportunities, Staff Activities | Tags: 5 reasons, AEA conference 2012, American Evaluation Association, Improve Group, Leah Goldstein Moses, love learning, Minnesota | No Comments »
Below is a list of our Improve Group Staff members and links to the sessions they will be presenting at the Evaluation in Complex Ecologies Relationships, Responsibilities, Relevance, 26th Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association in Minneapolis next month.
Jill Lipski Cain – Ignite Your Data and Data Collection Methods: Ignite Presentations on Better Data and Best Practices
Danielle Dryke, Deborah Mattila & Stacy Johnson – Longitudinal Studies: Getting the Data You Need and Working With the Data You’ve Got
Elizabeth Radel Freeman – Moving Beyond the Standard Bar Graph: Data Visualization Basics for Evaluators
Stacy Johnson – Reception and Poster Exhibition
Leah Goldstein Moses & Samantha Hagel – Improving Evaluation Practice Management During Chaotic Economic Times: Three CEOs Reflect on Strategic and Innovative Diversification, Budgeting, and Employee Support and Development
Susan Murphy & Leah Goldstein Moses – To Bid or Not to Bid…that is just ONE of the Questions: Practical Tips and Tactics to a Successful Approach With Requests for Proposals
Elizabeth Radel Freeman & Stacy Johnson- Managing Evaluation Projects From a Distance: Strategies, Tips and Tools
Rebecca Stewart – Evaluation in Foundations: Why is it Sometimes Harder to Give than Receive?
Rebecca Stewart – Image Grouping: A New Pictorial, Participatory Method for Data Collection
Posted: September 26th, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About evaluation, Knowledge exchange, Staff Activities, Where are they now? | Tags: AEA conference 2012, conference presentations, Danielle Dryke, Deborah Mattila, Elizabeth Radel Freeman, Evaluation conference, IG staff presenting, Improve Group, Leah Goldstein Moses, Minnepapolis Convention Cnter, Rebecca Stewart, research, Samantha Hagel, sessions, Stacy Johnson, Susan Murphy | No Comments »
Leah holding 2012 plaque
Danielle, Jessica and Susan
The Improve Group was honored to receive a 2012 Best Places to Work Award from the Twin Cities Business Journal at a luncheon in the Minneapolis Hilton yesterday. President and CEO Leah Goldstein Moses and staff members Samantha Hagel, Susan Murphy, Danielle Dryke, Jill Lipski-Cain and Jessica Olson were present to represent the company and receive the plaque. To be considered for the award, organizations are nominated and then staff receives individual online surveys from Quantum Workplace. The confidential survey asks questions about their jobs in areas such as, teamwork, trust with co-workers and senior leaders, feeling valued, benefits and job satisfaction, to name a few. The Improve Group received an overall ranking of 94.72 and were pleasantly surprised to rank at number 13 out of the 30 small business winners in our first year entering.
At the luncheon, keynote speaker Ryan Estis, CEO of Ryan Estis & Associates, spoke of the fact that every business in the room was obviously doing something right. He also emphasized the important characteristics of having a higher, shared purpose, all staff knowing and understanding the core values of the company, and driving everything they do in alignment to those values.
Each winner in the small, medium and large business categories was asked to come on stage while photos of the company and information on some of the reason’s they ranked
Samantha, Leah and Jill
as best were shared with the crowd.
Reflecting on the day, staff talked about what made our company a great place to work. Number 1 – our work is interesting – we are learning and being creative every day. Following that first item, however, are a number of other workplace qualities:
“We have a great team and enjoy being together. Every single person in the office contributes to making a great workplace – they help and support each other, have fun, and constantly bring new ideas forward.” – Leah
Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: igmain | Filed under: Around the office, Field notes, Staff Activities | Tags: Award, Best Places to Work, Danielle Dryke, Improve Group, Jessica Olson, Jill Lipski Cain, Leah Goldstein Moses, Quantum Workplace, Ryan Estes, Samantha Hagel, Susan Murphy, TC Business Journal, Twin Cities Business Journal | No Comments »