Headshot of Sara S. McGarraugh
Management Team – Consultant + Practice Relationships
Sara is a solutions-focused and action-oriented evaluator who brings to The Improve Group extensive experience in creating tools, collecting data, analyzing results, and reporting findings. Outside of work, Sara loves connecting with people over food (she is always looking for new recipes) and negotiating with her spouse about where to travel next.


Sara engages clients to think deeply and critically about how to design equitable evaluations with community at their heart. She leads projects with the perspective that her role is to provide evaluation expertise and create pathways for communities to contribute their lived expertise in ways that work for them. Sara is unafraid of asking critical questions, acknowledging tricky power dynamics, or otherwise raising up issues that may otherwise fester under the surface of the evaluation. This helps Sara consider multiple and divergent perspectives in a fair way. She shows vulnerability by being transparent about where she is learning, helping to build trust and acknowledge that evaluation is a journey that people experience in different ways. Her commitment to equity shows up in relationships with those affected by an evaluation and creative approaches to achieving shared goals in the work.
Sara’s project management expertise ensures she delivers projects on budget and on time, even when she is navigating complex and unknown systems with clients. Her clear and frequent communication skills help clients and partners trust in the quality of the work. She is skilled at supporting clients in considering the ways evaluation can help advance equity. Building relationships is important to Sara—she enjoys getting to know clients, partners, and the people they serve, cultivating authentic relationships that ensure project experiences are positive and everyone grows together. Sara is particularly skilled at acting as a negotiator between people affected by a project, bringing into and valuing different voices in the evaluation process.
Sara is a skilled facilitator who designs processes to enable groups to achieve their objectives. She is attentive to group dynamics and draws from a variety of techniques such as ToP® and Art of Hosting to ensure inclusion of different learning and engagement styles. Sara is a confident public speaker and facilitator with groups of all sizes.
Collective Impact facilitation, backbone support
Sara brings her combined expertise in evaluation, equity, and facilitation to Collective Impact models. Her deep understanding of how to apply the model framework to Collectives allows her to design tools that support evaluation of the Collective’s work while also building the knowledge of the model among partners. She recognizes the dynamics at play in bringing diverse groups alongside the process and the challenges of navigating between organizations who all have their own practices.

Professional Experience

The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Director of Consulting | 2023-present | Plan, direct, and provide coaching support on projects to make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure clients’ investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact.

The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Managing Consultant | 2016-2023 | Lead evaluation projects and phases. 

The Improve Group | St. Paul, MN | Associate Consultant | 2012-2016 | Worked collaboratively with project team to execute activities.

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities | Minneapolis, MN | Teaching Assistant | 2012-2013 | Designed and implemented weekly lab curriculum, worked through complex economic examples using classical theory, and assisted Visiting Professor with course planning for a graduate student class.

Bridges to Learning | Minneapolis, MN | Programs and Administrative Manager | 2010-2012 | Oversaw fundraising, marketing, strategic communications planning, and content development for an organization that provides resources for the educational, health, and social development of impoverished children in Vietnam.

École Primaire et Maternelle Bilingue Noula | Yaoundé, Cameroon | Head Administrator and Fundraiser | 2009-2010 | Gathered parent and staff input to guide primary school’s strategic planning and budgeting, increased school revenue by leveraging grant writing skills and French fluency to submit in-country grant proposals, and designed and executed an international fundraising effort to remodel building space and stock a new library and computer center for the school.


Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota | Master of Public Policy with a minor in Evaluation Studies

University of Wisconsin – Madison | Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in Global Cultures and African Studies

Want to learn more about Sara? Check out their full resume here!