Who We Are

Ebbie Parsons, EdD

Ebbie Parsons, EdD

Founder + Managing Partner

Dr. Ebbie Parsons, III is the Founder and Managing Partner of Yardstick Management. Ebbie, a seasoned business executive with a passion for education, has been applauded for his strategic thinking, engaging leadership and results orientation throughout his career. After working at Fortune 500 companies including Intel, Medtronic and American Express, Ebbie made the decision to transition from a promising career in business in 2007 to join the prestigious Broad Residency Program in Educational Leadership. The Broad Residency was his first introduction to the inner-workings of America’s public schools where he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools. Ebbie championed the overhaul of the district’s school funding methodology, negotiated the state’s first pay-for-performance teacher union contract and led the redistricting of the city to an “All-Choice” system of schools. Following his time in Hartford…
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Founder + Managing Partner

Ebbie Parsons, EdD

Dr. Ebbie Parsons, III is the Founder and Managing Partner of Yardstick Management. Ebbie, a seasoned business executive with a passion for education, has been applauded for his strategic thinking, engaging leadership and results orientation throughout his career. After working at Fortune 500 companies including Intel, Medtronic and American Express, Ebbie made the decision to transition from a promising career in business in 2007 to join the prestigious Broad Residency Program in Educational Leadership. The Broad Residency was his first introduction to the inner-workings of America’s public schools where he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools. Ebbie championed the overhaul of the district’s school funding methodology, negotiated the state’s first pay-for-performance teacher union contract and led the redistricting of the city to an “All-Choice” system of schools. Following his time in Hartford…
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Co-Founder + Senior Advisor

Ayana Parsons, MBA

Ayana Parsons is the Co-Founder of Yardstick Management and serves as Yardstick’s Senior Advisor. Ayana is a Principal in Heidrick & Struggles’ Atlanta office and a member of the Consumer Markets Practice. She is focused on placing Chief Marketing Officers, General Managers and other commercial C-suite executives into consumer-facing companies.

Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Ayana served as Global Head of Retail, Consumer & Lifestyle industries at the World Economic Forum where she regularly engaged leading chairmen, CEOs and other C-level executives in dialogues and initiatives that support the WEF mission. She also hosted forums in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America to address the many challenges facing today’s global business leaders.
Prior to the World Economic Forum, Ayana spent 17 years in commercial leadership roles. She was global marketing and strategy leader for Kimberly-Clark’s health and well-being division. At Procter & Gamble, Ayana held various leadership assignments, including general manager in the beauty division. She also led global business and brand-building efforts at Philips and Pfizer.

Ayana is active in numerous prominent organizations. She is an advisor to the World Retail Congress and a board member of the Retail Leader’s Circle and A Better Chance of Westport, CT.

Ayana graduated summa cum laude with a BS in management and her MBA in Marketing from the Sybil Mobley School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University. She has also completed leadership programs at Smith College, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Principal

Lisa Niles, PhD

Lisa Niles serves as Principal Consultant on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Lisa is a business process leader with a wealth of corporate and academic experience, offering a unique perspective on solving mission-critical issues. She is known for aligning people with the right processes and systems to enhance productivity, increase efficiency, improve bottom line performance and generate more effective analytics. Lisa has successfully driven complex change initiatives and worked with leadership teams during private equity sales.

She also brings a continuous improvement mindset to executive leadership teams, helping them grow in their effectiveness. Lisa has led numerous workshops with executive leaders, managers and their teams on driving strategic success through easy-to-implement behavioral change. She is a ProSci® certified change management practitioner who has successfully leveraged the ADKAR® model for individual change to scale for organizational change.

Alongside a commitment to building the internal capacity of her clients’ companies is a commitment to building a better world. Her passion for process management is deeply aligned with her passion for empowering mission-driven organizations to be better, to do better. She finds the right tools for each client, customizing her approach to ensure that each project’s outcome is both sustainable and scalable.

Lisa specializes in small- to mid-market companies in aggressive growth modes as well as higher education institutions. She holds a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and an MA and BA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Before moving into the private sector, Lisa taught at Spelman College. Lisa currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her family.

PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT / COO

Jena Burgess, BHR

Jena Burgess serves as Principal Consultant and COO on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Jena is a growth-minded strategist with nearly 10 years of experience helping companies source, train, develop, and retain top talent. Prior to joining Yardstick, Jena Founded a consulting firm focused on 21st century skill building and behavioral change for students and corporations. She has worked with Fortune 500’s, non-profits, education institutions and small to mid-sized growth companies. Her consulting included, talent building, performance management and aligning cultures with long-term strategic goals. She is also a knowledgeable trainer and facilitator, able to design content and programs that drive engagement and bottom line value. She is an influential communicator known for cultivating effective relationships will all levels of stakeholders and building consensus around complex cultural and generational diversity topics.

Jena is known in the collegiate space as the author of the college and career readiness book: Super Qualified: Maximizing Your College Experience To Get The Job You Want. She is often leveraged for her unique understanding of Millennials and Generation Z and serves as a guest speaker at top Universities and Colleges.

She holds a B.S. from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is a as a board member for HBCU Career Development Marketplace. Jena is certified in Human Resources (PHR) and the art of Gamification, the process of infusing fun game-like mechanics to motivate human behavior.

Senior Consultant

Jaclyn Carter, MILR

Jaclyn Carter is a Senior Consultant on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Jaclyn provides leadership and direction in all aspects of managing Human Capital. She brings over 15 years of experience in labor/employee relations, recruitment, training, compensation design, compliance audits, job analysis, process improvement, culture shifts and performance improvement interventions. She has served in leadership roles and provided HR support to a variety of clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, including DaimlerChrysler, United Technologies and Berkshire Hathaway, to small startups. Jaclyn can successfully re-engineer organizational Human Resource goals and practices to be in alignment with strategic business goals and objectives.

Jaclyn also serves as a trainer and coach for leadership and professional development programs and career transition services. Through her extensive experience with executives and professionals, she has developed a unique ability to help clients identify core values and motivators. She collaborates with clients in developing career management and performance plans to achieve progressive success. Jaclyn brings a broad base of industry experience, which helps her connect with each client and support advancement and success in their profession. Jaclyn customizes her approach to each client, as they build the skills required for the next stage in their career.

Jaclyn holds a BA in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and an MILR, with a concentration in Dispute Resolution via Mediation and Arbitration, from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations.  Jaclyn resides in Hartford, CT with her family.

Co-Founder + Senior Advisor

Ayana Parsons, MBA

Ayana Parsons is the Co-Founder of Yardstick Management and serves as Yardstick’s Senior Advisor. Ayana is a Principal in Heidrick & Struggles’ Atlanta office and a member of the Consumer Markets Practice. She is focused on placing Chief Marketing Officers, General Managers and other commercial C-suite executives into consumer-facing companies.

Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Ayana served as Global Head of Retail, Consumer & Lifestyle industries at the World Economic Forum where she regularly engaged leading chairmen, CEOs and other C-level executives in dialogues and initiatives that support the WEF mission. She also hosted forums in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America to address the many challenges facing today’s global business leaders.
Prior to the World Economic Forum, Ayana spent 17 years in commercial leadership roles. She was global marketing and strategy leader for Kimberly-Clark’s health and well-being division. At Procter & Gamble, Ayana held various leadership assignments, including general manager in the beauty division. She also led global business and brand-building efforts at Philips and Pfizer.

Ayana is active in numerous prominent organizations. She is an advisor to the World Retail Congress and a board member of the Retail Leader’s Circle and A Better Chance of Westport, CT.

Ayana graduated summa cum laude with a BS in management and her MBA in Marketing from the Sybil Mobley School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University. She has also completed leadership programs at Smith College, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Principal

Lisa Niles, PhD

Lisa Niles serves as Principal Consultant on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Lisa is a business process leader with a wealth of corporate and academic experience, offering a unique perspective on solving mission-critical issues. She is known for aligning people with the right processes and systems to enhance productivity, increase efficiency, improve bottom line performance and generate more effective analytics. Lisa has successfully driven complex change initiatives and worked with leadership teams during private equity sales.

She also brings a continuous improvement mindset to executive leadership teams, helping them grow in their effectiveness. Lisa has led numerous workshops with executive leaders, managers and their teams on driving strategic success through easy-to-implement behavioral change. She is a ProSci® certified change management practitioner who has successfully leveraged the ADKAR® model for individual change to scale for organizational change.

Alongside a commitment to building the internal capacity of her clients’ companies is a commitment to building a better world. Her passion for process management is deeply aligned with her passion for empowering mission-driven organizations to be better, to do better. She finds the right tools for each client, customizing her approach to ensure that each project’s outcome is both sustainable and scalable.

Lisa specializes in small- to mid-market companies in aggressive growth modes as well as higher education institutions. She holds a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and an MA and BA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Before moving into the private sector, Lisa taught at Spelman College. Lisa currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her family.

PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT / COO

Jena Burgess, BHR

Jena Burgess serves as Principal Consultant and COO on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Jena is a growth-minded strategist with nearly 10 years of experience helping companies source, train, develop, and retain top talent. Prior to joining Yardstick, Jena Founded a consulting firm focused on 21st century skill building and behavioral change for students and corporations. She has worked with Fortune 500’s, non-profits, education institutions and small to mid-sized growth companies. Her consulting included, talent building, performance management and aligning cultures with long-term strategic goals. She is also a knowledgeable trainer and facilitator, able to design content and programs that drive engagement and bottom line value. She is an influential communicator known for cultivating effective relationships will all levels of stakeholders and building consensus around complex cultural and generational diversity topics.

Jena is known in the collegiate space as the author of the college and career readiness book: Super Qualified: Maximizing Your College Experience To Get The Job You Want. She is often leveraged for her unique understanding of Millennials and Generation Z and serves as a guest speaker at top Universities and Colleges.

She holds a B.S. from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is a as a board member for HBCU Career Development Marketplace. Jena is certified in Human Resources (PHR) and the art of Gamification, the process of infusing fun game-like mechanics to motivate human behavior.

Senior Consultant

Jaclyn Carter, MILR

Jaclyn Carter is a Senior Consultant on Yardstick Management’s leadership team. Jaclyn provides leadership and direction in all aspects of managing Human Capital. She brings over 15 years of experience in labor/employee relations, recruitment, training, compensation design, compliance audits, job analysis, process improvement, culture shifts and performance improvement interventions. She has served in leadership roles and provided HR support to a variety of clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, including DaimlerChrysler, United Technologies and Berkshire Hathaway, to small startups. Jaclyn can successfully re-engineer organizational Human Resource goals and practices to be in alignment with strategic business goals and objectives.

Jaclyn also serves as a trainer and coach for leadership and professional development programs and career transition services. Through her extensive experience with executives and professionals, she has developed a unique ability to help clients identify core values and motivators. She collaborates with clients in developing career management and performance plans to achieve progressive success. Jaclyn brings a broad base of industry experience, which helps her connect with each client and support advancement and success in their profession. Jaclyn customizes her approach to each client, as they build the skills required for the next stage in their career.

Jaclyn holds a BA in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and an MILR, with a concentration in Dispute Resolution via Mediation and Arbitration, from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations.  Jaclyn resides in Hartford, CT with her family.

Who We Serve