Key Personnel Bios
Eric Graig is founder and Managing Director of Usable Knowledge. He holds a Doctorate in Psychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. With over ten years of experience designing, managing and implementing a wide range of research studies, Eric brings clients an approach that is both practical and informed by the needs of non-profit organizations seeking to improve their effectiveness and achieve their strategic goals.
Prior to establishing Usable Knowledge, Eric was the Director of Research at the Beacon of Hope House, an agency that provides residential services to people recovering from mental illness. In that capacity he led research studies on topics ranging from client outcomes to internal employee retention and satisfaction. In all this work, his focus was strategic and oriented towards developing the actionable knowledge necessary for long-term organizational improvement.
Prior to joining Beacon, Eric managed a range of research projects within the City University of New York system and taught research and evaluation in the Graduate Program in Applied Social Research at Queens College.
Eric is a native New Yorker and lives in the Riverdale section of The Bronx with his two children. His CV is available here.
Madeline brings more than twenty years of experience in organizational and community consulting to her work with Usable Knowledge. Building on her training as a cultural anthropologist, Madeline has been a pioneer in the field of Organizational Anthropology. Now focusing on non-profit and community-based organizations, she has served as both consultant and staff to commercial as well as not-for-profit ventures, including McKinsey & Company, Pfizer, Mercer Consulting, Verizon, as well as the UJA, the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Ford Foundation and other service organizations.
Madeline helps clients identify and understand how individual and group strengths already present in a community or organization can help them leverage economic, social, and cultural needs and opportunities. Trained in a diverse set of research-based approaches to community and organizational change—including Positive Deviance, Appreciative Inquiry, and Open Space Technology—she helps client communities envision, plan and implement deep and sustainable change.
She holds a M.Phil. (CUNY Graduate School), M.A., (Hunter College) and B.A., (Brooklyn College), all in cultural anthropology.
Alissa’s background, experience, and passion for non-profit organizational development and evaluation spans more than fifteen years. A skilled speaker, listener, and writer, her areas of expertise are in positive organizational psychology and behavior. Currently, she is the Director of Evaluation for a large multi-service agency primarily focused on substance abuse treatment and supportive housing. Over the past two years, she developed the evaluation department for this $50 million non-profit agency with 29 programs and nearly 500 employees. She manages, designs, and conducts participatory agency and program evaluations, using both quantitative and qualitative methods that make use of both centralized data systems and custom-designed instruments and data collection systems. Dr. Schwartz gives engaging presentation of findings (both written and oral) and facilitates discussions among many kinds of stakeholders, including funders, executive team members, program managers, and direct service providers.
Dr. Schwartz also teaches graduate-level courses in program evaluation, research methods, and management, and she provides team-building and group facilitation consultation for non-profit organizations. She is an active member of New York City’s Art of Participatory Leadership Community, and enjoys facilitating meetings using participatory methods, notably Open Space and World Café. Alissa has a background in theater and is an engaging evaluator, facilitator, and team leader.
She holds an M.S.W. (University of Washington) and Ph.D. (Columbia University), both in social work. Her B.A. (Wesleyan University) is in theater.
Ward Bell is a Senior Associate — Databases and Information Technology — with Usable Knowledge. In this capacity, Ward is responsible for the design, development, deployment, and maintenance of database systems for collecting and ultimately analyzing data collected for Usable Knowledge clients. These database systems are deployed both online via the Internet and locally on servers controlled by the clients. Ward has been associated with Usable Knowledge for the past six years. Prior to working with the firm, he held a variety of communications, marketing, and business development positions with a number of high tech and medical device companies – including Donaldson Company, Inc., Medtronic, and Micro Component Technology. In addition, he has developed internet-based data collection systems for The United Way of Minneapolis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, Senior Community Services, Elderberry Institute, and a number of smaller non-profit organizations in Minnesota.
Ward attended the University of Minnesota and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.