A company’s services are only as good as the people providing them. Yardstick’s people are the best at what they do.

ABOUT US

 

Yardstick Management is a global strategic management consulting firm that provides comprehensive solutions to mission-driven organizations. Yardstick’s customized approach focuses heavily on building internal capability within the organizations we serve, helping our clients accomplish more with their existing resources over the long-term. Yardstick’s emphasis on improving organizational effectiveness has made us the Yardstick for success. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, municipalities, higher education institutions, public school districts, charter management organizations, small to mid-market companies and not-for-profit associations.

We currently operate in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Yardstick Management is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Alumnus.

Our History

Dr. Ebbie Parsons, III, founded Yardstick Management in 2012 in response to a call-to-action from his mother, a Detroit Public School educator, and his wife, a global brand executive. When he complained about the lamentable state of education in America, his mother said, “If you’re so upset about it, then DO something about it!” Parsons acted, enrolling in a doctoral program in education at the University of Pennsylvania and working in the charter school space. He soon grew frustrated with merely bringing others’ visions to fruition rather than being able to shape the visions themselves – particularly as he saw minority students being underserved. His wife said, “If you’re not happy with how they’re helping kids, then DO something about it!” Yardstick Management was the response to this latest challenge. As YSM has grown and evolved, one thing remains the same. Yardstick Management is, at its core, committed to the mission of helping organizations that serve underserved communities. And while being “mission driven” has become a buzzword that gets overused, for YSM that catchphrase is not just the latest trend. It is at the very heart of what we do.YSM began as a management consulting firm for public school districts, but has emerged in the last several years as a leader on several fronts. No matter the service solution we are engaging, Yardstick Management’s focus is always to help our clients do more by being their best.    

Our Team

With centuries of combined corporate and educational expertise, the Yardstick Management team can assist its clients in achieving extraordinary results. Our consultants create customized solutions for each engagement, moving Yardstick’s clients’ goals from conception to realization. 

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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Principal Consultant

Naima Greenwood, MBA

Naima Greenwood currently serves as Principal at Yardstick Management, responsible for growing the Yardstick Management portfolio and managing ongoing projects. Prior to joining Yardstick, Naima served as a Senior Manager on a government contract with the Office of Foreign Labor Certification. Naima has a diverse background in Sales and Marketing, Operations and Retail.

Naima holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Florida A&M University and an Executive MBA in Global Business from Georgia Institute of Technology. Naima started her career at Target Corporation as a Business Analyst in their entertainment division. There she collaborated with major movie studios and record labels in managing their releases. She later relocated to Atlanta, GA where she managed a $1 billion domestic landscape business for over 2,200 retail stores for The Home Depot. After completing her Executive MBA, Naima was recruited by Bank of America where she served as an Assistant Vice-President. She oversaw efforts to convert California accounts to a single platform for improved efficiency and reliability, and managed a multi-million-dollar project to develop global consumer risk assessment plans for call centers

Naima resides in Atlanta with her husband Andre, and their daughters, Ava and Aubree. In her spare time, she actively volunteers in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.

General Counsel

Kenya Pierre, Esq.

Kenya Pierre is a Partner at Yardstick Management leading Yardstick’s Legal Executive Search practice and also serves as the firm’s General Counsel.  Prior to joining Yardstick, Kenya served as General Counsel for Arauco North America, a $6 Billion leader in composite panel manufacturing, and oversaw the legal operations of 10 mills in the US & Canada with various operations for engineering particleboard, MDF, laminates and other types composite panels.

Kenya is a cum laude graduate in Chemistry/pre-med of Spelman College and a Law Review graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Following graduation, Kenya joined Teach for America and taught high school chemistry and biology in Watts, CA. She first started her law career as a patent attorney with the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio supporting the Beauty Care Division. She then moved to Atlanta to support global juice and nutritional research science with The Coca-Cola Company. While at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Roswell, Georgia, Kenya served in a variety of roles supporting corporate research and innovation, litigation, global compliance and as the lead business counsel for Global non-wovens.

Kenya has three daughters who keep the family busy with volleyball tournaments.  In her “spare time”, she is a certified 200 RYT yoga instructor who enjoys leading others in their journey to well being.

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.

Consultant

Courtney Henrich

Courtney Henrich is a Consultant at Yardstick Management where she serves as an Account Manager and Project Coordinator on various key accounts. Her interests and expertise combine DEI, education, tech, and project management. Before joining Yardstick, she spent time working at GEEARS: The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Emory University, and Great Northern Products. Courtney is originally from New Hampshire and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. She made the move to Atlanta to earn her BA in Human Health from Emory University where she was also a varsity athlete, member of Omega Delta Kappa, and research assistant. She also recently completed the Diversity & Inclusion Leadership program at Cornell University.

Today, Courtney resides in Atlanta and enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and cheering on her beloved New England Patriots.

Senior Consultant

Neil Van Leeuwen, Ph.D.

Dr. Neil Van Leeuwen serves as a Senior Consultant on the Yardstick team leading the Customer Value Creation process for Yardstick’s commercial client portfolio.  Neil’s interests and expertise combine education, arts, and entrepreneurship. He earned his BA summa cum laude in Classical Studies from University of Pennsylvania, where he was also a researcher at the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center, a percussionist in the Penn Symphony Orchestra, and an inductee of Phi Beta Kappa. Leveraging his Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurial expertise, Neil successfuly co-authored (with strategic consultant Paul Morin) the business plan for Penn’s Wharton West campus in San Francisco, now named Wharton San Francisco and is in its 18th year having awarded over 1,100 degrees.

After Penn, Neil went on to earn his M.St. with distinction in Classical Languages and Literature from Oxford University and his PhD in philosophy from Stanford University, where his research combined philosophy, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience. Neil’s understating of cognitive neuroscience has helped him to become an expert at understanding the psyche.  In addition to his academic pursuits at Stanford, Neil focused on creative writing, and he has since written the libretto for one full-length opera (Oxford Companions, with composer Giancarlo Aquilanti) and the lyrics for one full-length musical (Song of Solomon, with composer Andrew Beall).

Neil’s academic career includes fellowships and teaching at such diverse institutions as Rutgers University, Tufts University, and University of Johannesburg; he is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has published extensively in philosophy and cognitive science and is currently under contract for a book with Harvard University Press. Throughout his academic career, he has maintained his commitment to entrepreneurship, serving as Strategic Advisor to the HiPER Solutions Group (HSG) in San Francisco and as Sr. Consultant for Yardstick Management.

Senior Designer

Kae McGowan

Kae’s interests have always been split between sports and the arts, and she attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as an undergrad in order to be able to grow in both areas. She learned a lot about balance as a student-athlete as she earned a BFA in Advertising Design with a specialization in Graphic Design. After graduation, she made the move to the Atlanta campus and obtained her masters degree in Interactive Design and Game Development.

Kae brings over 7 years of Art Direction experience to the Yardstick team, while providing print and digital design solutions for the firm and its clients. Today, Kae maintains her balance by skating for the Atlanta Rollergirls.

Senior Consultant

Melanie Calhoun, MBA

Melanie Calhoun leads Yardstick’s Diversity and Inclusion line of business. As a senior consultant with expertise in marketing management and diversity and inclusion initiatives, Melanie helps organizations improve D&I strategies by conducting assessments, helping to establish clear and measurable D&I goals, and creating long-term roadmaps to address the structural inequality that may exist.

Before joining Yardstick, Melanie spent time as a researcher in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley Psychology Department. Under the leadership of Rodolfo MendozaDenton, Ph.D., Melanie developed an active research interest in stigma, intergroup relations, and stereotyping. Much of her racism and bias research is informed by her experience working as a marketing executive for over fifteen years.

Prior to her work at UC Berkeley, she was Head of New Customer Acquisition and Experience for Invisalign® clear aligners at Align Technology. Under her leadership, Melanie launched new advertising campaigns to recruit new dentists to become providers. Before working at Align, Melanie spent time as the Senior Marketing Manager of Product Marketing for Vocera Communications. In her role, she oversaw competitive strategy. As Marketing Manager at Ecolab, she managed the Surgical Patient Care products, increasing sales to $12MM. She also spent time at Medtronic supporting surgical procedures in endovascular aortic aneurysm stent graft repair, pediatric deformity spinal surgery, and neurostimulation for obesity and chronic stomach disorders. She received various awards for her leadership including the Medtronic Emerging Leaders and was one of the first participants in the Leadership Development Rotation Program.

Melanie is committed to her community and through her leadership has made a significant impact on women and children’s issues. She has held various positions in the Junior League of Atlanta and served on the Executive Board of the San Jose Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Currently, Melanie is a Board Member of the Atlanta Chapter of It’s My Birthday, Inc. and The Atlanta Birth Center.

Melanie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, two-year-old son and newborn daughter. She is an avid reader, loves cooking, traveling and yoga.

Senior Business Development Consultant

Ken Stewart, MSA

Ken is a Senior Business Development Consultant for Yardstick Management. In addition to 30+ years of sales and marketing experience with General Motors and other Fortune 500 companies, Ken excels in effective communication and professional collaboration. Ken notably brought three major automotive manufacturers together to develop a single standardized data transmittal process, that improved operations and performance for all industry participants. Kens primary mission is to establish the highest level of customer satisfaction by utilizing his skills in team building and developing high-yielding organizational cultures that exceed all expectations.

Ken also currently serves on the board as President of Bridge to Equity, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to create programs that promote and provide equitable workforce opportunities as well as wellness for all.

Consultant

Niya Wardlaw, MSIE, M.Ed

Niya Wardlaw is a consultant at Yardstick Management specializing in client operations, strategy & education. In conjunction with her work at Yardstick, Niya also serves as the Instructional Dean at a founding charter school. There, she utilizes data analytics, instructional theory and systems thinking to create and deliver a wide array of staff development programs, coaching protocols and process improvements. With an extensive background in education and engineering, Niya has accrued years of experience, combining progressive leadership and technical skills to effectively oversee the smooth and efficient operations of projects and programming in both the private and public sector. Prior to education, Niya led and managed both operations and production teams at companies such as Owens Corning, Coca Cola and Schlumberger Oilfield Services; delivering maximum returns through her strategic planning efforts, effective project management and intentional resource allocation. Niya holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological & Agricultural Systems Engineering, a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Florida A&M University. She also holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. Niya currently resides in Fort Worth, TX where she enjoys spending time with her daughter, cycling in her spin studio and embarking on Pinterest inspired DIY projects.

Designer

Jasmine Johnson

Jasmine is a 2019 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and
Technical State University. With her focus in multimedia journalism,
marketing, and public relations, she hopes to connect individuals with
the power of digital communication. Her passions and interests collide
with all things creative such as story development, brand management,
and creative direction. She has curated work for brands like BET
Networks, Linkedin, Wogrammer, and  Pace Communications. Her ultimate
goal is to use her talent for writing to ideate innovative ways to
bring brands and visions to life. In her free time, she enjoys
balancing work-life with yoga, dance, blogging, and cuddling her
German Shepard, Onyx.

General Counsel

Kenya Pierre, Esq.

Kenya Pierre is a Partner at Yardstick Management leading Yardstick’s Legal Executive Search practice and also serves as the firm’s General Counsel.  Prior to joining Yardstick, Kenya served as General Counsel for Arauco North America, a $6 Billion leader in composite panel manufacturing, and oversaw the legal operations of 10 mills in the US & Canada with various operations for engineering particleboard, MDF, laminates and other types composite panels.

Kenya is a cum laude graduate in Chemistry/pre-med of Spelman College and a Law Review graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Following graduation, Kenya joined Teach for America and taught high school chemistry and biology in Watts, CA. She first started her law career as a patent attorney with the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio supporting the Beauty Care Division. She then moved to Atlanta to support global juice and nutritional research science with The Coca-Cola Company. While at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Roswell, Georgia, Kenya served in a variety of roles supporting corporate research and innovation, litigation, global compliance and as the lead business counsel for Global non-wovens.

Kenya has three daughters who keep the family busy with volleyball tournaments.  In her “spare time”, she is a certified 200 RYT yoga instructor who enjoys leading others in their journey to well being.

Principal Consultant

Naima Greenwood, MBA

Naima Greenwood currently serves as Principal at Yardstick Management, responsible for growing the Yardstick Management portfolio and managing ongoing projects. Prior to joining Yardstick, Naima served as a Senior Manager on a government contract with the Office of Foreign Labor Certification. Naima has a diverse background in Sales and Marketing, Operations and Retail.

Naima holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Florida A&M University and an Executive MBA in Global Business from Georgia Institute of Technology. Naima started her career at Target Corporation as a Business Analyst in their entertainment division. There she collaborated with major movie studios and record labels in managing their releases. She later relocated to Atlanta, GA where she managed a $1 billion domestic landscape business for over 2,200 retail stores for The Home Depot. After completing her Executive MBA, Naima was recruited by Bank of America where she served as an Assistant Vice-President. She oversaw efforts to convert California accounts to a single platform for improved efficiency and reliability, and managed a multi-million-dollar project to develop global consumer risk assessment plans for call centers

Naima resides in Atlanta with her husband Andre, and their daughters, Ava and Aubree. In her spare time, she actively volunteers in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.

Principal Consultant

Shannon Hassler, J.D.

Shannon Hassler serves as a Principal Consultant with Yardstick Management where she leads our executive search practice and serves as a key member of our diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. 

Shannon brings 20 years of talent acquisition and advisory service experience. She most recently served as a Principal with Korn Ferry, driving the expansion and application of their Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored Women CEOs Speak research, and furthering the firm’s work with client organizations to realize the full power and potential of their female talent. She is outspoken about covering topics like women in leadership and determining ways bias impacts organizations’ effectiveness in recruiting and optimizing talent.

Shannon spent the early part of her career specializing in financial officer recruitment, then she broadened into talent consulting with a focus on assessment, board effectiveness, and inclusion and diversity with Heidrick & Struggles. She then applied her experience in both recruiting and management consulting to drive internal improvements with two primary objectives: winning in the market and delighting clients. Most recently as Practice Management Director for both the firm’s CFO and CEO & Board Practices, Shannon led change efforts in processes, training, branding, and engagement execution.

What has fiercely driven Shannon for the past ten years in the industry has been a passion for finding ways to do this important work better and  focusing more on the people vs the transaction. Her mission is to find ways to uncover talent too often overlooked or discounted and realizing the power of diverse leadership teams.

Shannon received her J.D. from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, and her B.S. from Northern Illinois University. She is an active member and a Class of 2012 alumna of Leadership Sandy Springs, and she is  on the advisory board of The Women’s Collective, bringing C-suite and other executive level women leaders together around a mission of promoting and enhancing leaders focused on the workplace, education, and mentorship.

Senior Diversity Consultant

Mansa Bilal Mark King, Ph.D.

Mansa Bilal Mark King currently serves as a Senior Diversity Consultant at Yardstick Management. He is responsible for key project work at Yardstick Management, and for growing the portfolio. Prior to joining Yardstick, Bilal served as an Associate Professor of Sociology at Morehouse College for 14 years, and as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University for 2 years. Before this, Bilal combined college and graduate school courses with his work on basic and applied social science research projects. In this capacity, he was a research assistant in the Career Opportunities in Research program, at The American Institutes for Research, and on the Three-City Study on Families, Children, and Welfare project. Since finishing school in 2006, he has conducted independent research projects on father-involvement in America’s inner-cities, religious conversion in Ghana, and Black America’s transnationalism. He published chapters/articles on the first two topics, but the third project is ongoing. His other publications, invited lectures, and project work has addressed Black-White racial reconciliation, Africana Muslims in liberal arts education, and diversifying the body of American college students who study abroad. In addition to the introductory sociology course, the classes that Bilal has taught most often are: Men in Society, Classical Social Theory, and Africana Families.

Bilal holds a Ph.D. and M.A in sociology from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in psychology (minor in mathematics) from Howard University. He graduated from Howard Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude.

Bilal resides in Atlanta with his wife Fikira, and their daughters, Sabila, Hafsatu, and Asmaoo. He is familiar with Wolof, Hausa, Kiswahili, Classical Arabic and Spanish. His community work includes educational engagements with local and regional faith organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta, Tayseer Seminary in Knoxville, and the Islamic Networks Group in San Jose. Outside of professional interests, he enjoys exercise, travel, art, and playing monopoly or chess with his children.

Senior Consultant

Julián Esteban Torres López, MA

Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/el) serves as a Senior Consultant at Yardstick Management. For two decades, Julián has studied systems of oppression, worked toward humanizing the Other, and has centered, elevated, and amplified the histories, voices, and experiences of the exploited, marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten.

Julián is a bilingual, Colombia-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, author, researcher, educator, editor, and cultural worker with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. Before founding the social justice storytelling organization The Nasionahe ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum.

Julián has created platforms and has built relationships and partnerships with similar social justice-focused individuals and communities to advocate for survivors of systems of oppression via print and digital publishing, podcasting, the stage, visual storytelling, research, education, and community building. He has also demonstrated success in holding leadership positions in production, people, and program management; program development; marketing; publishing; and business, research, and cultural institutions.

He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee, a McNair fellow, a winner of the Rudy Dusek Essay Prize in Philosophy of Art, a finalist for the Trilogy Award in Short Fiction, and the author of two social justice books and a poetry collection. Julián has received recognition and awards for his community work, and has founded, led, and/or been a guest speaker at dozens of initiatives on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. He has also been the recipient of numerous research grants and fellowships to conduct work on corporate social responsibility, human rights assessments, and conflict resolution, and has presented original research at conferences, such as the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association.

Julián has designed and taught university courses on comparative politics and political issues in Latin America at the University of British Columbia Okanagan; has led public workshops on issues ranging from student activism to armed conflict resolution to how memoir can be a political act; and has been a keynote speaker on events ranging from immigration and border crossing to the role of creative nonfiction in today’s divisive world. In 2008, he was inducted into the University of New Hampshire Diversity Hall of Fame. He’s also been a founder of or key member in different corporate and university committees, such as Human Rights and Equity; Equity Enhancement Fund; Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and Leadership and Development.

Julián holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.

Julián is an introverted bibliophile who takes the stairs to avoid awkward elevator small talk. He has lived in five countries and has had over 80 roommates, which has made it difficult to call one place home. He does, however, have a special place in his heart for his natal home in the Aburrá Valley of Colombia, the seacoast of New Hampshire, Canada’s Okanagan Valley, and the hills of San Francisco. He has three front teeth, swam in the Amazon River, likes to play the French Defense and the Colle System as chess openings, was almost born in Queens New York, finds the taste of alcohol disgusting, his wife is his favorite painter, he secretly desires to be a stand-up comic or a classical music composer, and feels at ease near mountains.

Senior Consultant

Neil Van Leeuwen, Ph.D.

Dr. Neil Van Leeuwen serves as a Senior Consultant on the Yardstick team leading the Customer Value Creation process for Yardstick’s commercial client portfolio.  Neil’s interests and expertise combine education, arts, and entrepreneurship. He earned his BA summa cum laude in Classical Studies from University of Pennsylvania, where he was also a researcher at the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center, a percussionist in the Penn Symphony Orchestra, and an inductee of Phi Beta Kappa. Leveraging his Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurial expertise, Neil successfuly co-authored (with strategic consultant Paul Morin) the business plan for Penn’s Wharton West campus in San Francisco, now named Wharton San Francisco and is in its 18th year having awarded over 1,100 degrees.

After Penn, Neil went on to earn his M.St. with distinction in Classical Languages and Literature from Oxford University and his PhD in philosophy from Stanford University, where his research combined philosophy, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience. Neil’s understating of cognitive neuroscience has helped him to become an expert at understanding the psyche.  In addition to his academic pursuits at Stanford, Neil focused on creative writing, and he has since written the libretto for one full-length opera (Oxford Companions, with composer Giancarlo Aquilanti) and the lyrics for one full-length musical (Song of Solomon, with composer Andrew Beall).

Neil’s academic career includes fellowships and teaching at such diverse institutions as Rutgers University, Tufts University, and University of Johannesburg; he is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has published extensively in philosophy and cognitive science and is currently under contract for a book with Harvard University Press. Throughout his academic career, he has maintained his commitment to entrepreneurship, serving as Strategic Advisor to the HiPER Solutions Group (HSG) in San Francisco and as Sr. Consultant for Yardstick Management.

Senior Consultant

Melanie Calhoun, MBA

Melanie Calhoun leads Yardstick’s Diversity and Inclusion line of business. As a senior consultant with expertise in marketing management and diversity and inclusion initiatives, Melanie helps organizations improve D&I strategies by conducting assessments, helping to establish clear and measurable D&I goals, and creating long-term roadmaps to address the structural inequality that may exist.

Before joining Yardstick, Melanie spent time as a researcher in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley Psychology Department. Under the leadership of Rodolfo MendozaDenton, Ph.D., Melanie developed an active research interest in stigma, intergroup relations, and stereotyping. Much of her racism and bias research is informed by her experience working as a marketing executive for over fifteen years.

Prior to her work at UC Berkeley, she was Head of New Customer Acquisition and Experience for Invisalign® clear aligners at Align Technology. Under her leadership, Melanie launched new advertising campaigns to recruit new dentists to become providers. Before working at Align, Melanie spent time as the Senior Marketing Manager of Product Marketing for Vocera Communications. In her role, she oversaw competitive strategy. As Marketing Manager at Ecolab, she managed the Surgical Patient Care products, increasing sales to $12MM. She also spent time at Medtronic supporting surgical procedures in endovascular aortic aneurysm stent graft repair, pediatric deformity spinal surgery, and neurostimulation for obesity and chronic stomach disorders. She received various awards for her leadership including the Medtronic Emerging Leaders and was one of the first participants in the Leadership Development Rotation Program.

Melanie is committed to her community and through her leadership has made a significant impact on women and children’s issues. She has held various positions in the Junior League of Atlanta and served on the Executive Board of the San Jose Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Currently, Melanie is a Board Member of the Atlanta Chapter of It’s My Birthday, Inc. and The Atlanta Birth Center.

Melanie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, two-year-old son and newborn daughter. She is an avid reader, loves cooking, traveling and yoga.

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.

Senior Business Development Consultant

Ken Stewart, MSA

Ken is a Senior Business Development Consultant for Yardstick Management. In addition to 30+ years of sales and marketing experience with General Motors and other Fortune 500 companies, Ken excels in effective communication and professional collaboration. Ken notably brought three major automotive manufacturers together to develop a single standardized data transmittal process, that improved operations and performance for all industry participants. Kens primary mission is to establish the highest level of customer satisfaction by utilizing his skills in team building and developing high-yielding organizational cultures that exceed all expectations.

Ken also currently serves on the board as President of Bridge to Equity, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to create programs that promote and provide equitable workforce opportunities as well as wellness for all.

Consultant

Linda Brito, MBA

Linda Brito serves as a consultant at Yardstick Management and has a keen insight on operations improvement. Before joining Yardstick, she worked for several years in customer operations in the manufacturing sector, and most recently in healthcare improvement. She brings cross-industry experience, facilitation and coaching improvement initiatives, and a vast knowledge of how to evaluate performance and promote data-informed decision making to drive sustainable change.

Linda is originally from the Dominican Republic where she completed her BS in Industrial Engineering. She obtained her MBA in Spain from EAE Business School and has a Lean Six Sigma Certification from the University of Georgia. She currently lives in Athens, GA with her husband and their two kids.

 

Consultant

Courtney Henrich

Courtney Henrich is a Consultant at Yardstick Management where she serves as an Account Manager and Project Coordinator on various key accounts. Her interests and expertise combine DEI, education, tech, and project management. Before joining Yardstick, she spent time working at GEEARS: The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Emory University, and Great Northern Products. Courtney is originally from New Hampshire and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. She made the move to Atlanta to earn her BA in Human Health from Emory University where she was also a varsity athlete, member of Omega Delta Kappa, and research assistant. She also recently completed the Diversity & Inclusion Leadership program at Cornell University.

Today, Courtney resides in Atlanta and enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and cheering on her beloved New England Patriots.

Consultant

Niya Wardlaw, MSIE, M.Ed

Niya Wardlaw is a consultant at Yardstick Management specializing in client operations, strategy & education. In conjunction with her work at Yardstick, Niya also serves as the Instructional Dean at a founding charter school. There, she utilizes data analytics, instructional theory and systems thinking to create and deliver a wide array of staff development programs, coaching protocols and process improvements. With an extensive background in education and engineering, Niya has accrued years of experience, combining progressive leadership and technical skills to effectively oversee the smooth and efficient operations of projects and programming in both the private and public sector. Prior to education, Niya led and managed both operations and production teams at companies such as Owens Corning, Coca Cola and Schlumberger Oilfield Services; delivering maximum returns through her strategic planning efforts, effective project management and intentional resource allocation. Niya holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological & Agricultural Systems Engineering, a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Florida A&M University. She also holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. Niya currently resides in Fort Worth, TX where she enjoys spending time with her daughter, cycling in her spin studio and embarking on Pinterest inspired DIY projects.

Associate Consultant

Gilberto Orozco

Gilberto Orozco is a 2020 graduate of the University of Michigan and serves as an Associate Consultant at Yardstick Management. Before joining Yardstick, Gilberto has been involved in the entrepreneurship space — being a part of a team that founded an educational non-profit dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship to kids — for over six years and worked in a lab as a coordinator for the Institute of Social Research where he analyzed global market trends through a multidisciplinary approach. Gilberto’s passions lie in global human development and bipartisan policies that improve the longevity of everyone.
Residing in Detroit as a Venture for America fellow, Gilberto aims to aid the city in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the next two years. In his free time, he enjoys to travel, trains for marathons, and creates elaborate meals for his friends and family.
Senior Designer

Kae McGowan

Kae’s interests have always been split between sports and the arts, and she attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as an undergrad in order to be able to grow in both areas. She learned a lot about balance as a student-athlete as she earned a BFA in Advertising Design with a specialization in Graphic Design. After graduation, she made the move to the Atlanta campus and obtained her masters degree in Interactive Design and Game Development.

Kae brings over 7 years of Art Direction experience to the Yardstick team, while providing print and digital design solutions for the firm and its clients. Today, Kae maintains her balance by skating for the Atlanta Rollergirls.

Designer

Jasmine Johnson

Jasmine is a 2019 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and
Technical State University. With her focus in multimedia journalism,
marketing, and public relations, she hopes to connect individuals with
the power of digital communication. Her passions and interests collide
with all things creative such as story development, brand management,
and creative direction. She has curated work for brands like BET
Networks, Linkedin, Wogrammer, and  Pace Communications. Her ultimate
goal is to use her talent for writing to ideate innovative ways to
bring brands and visions to life. In her free time, she enjoys
balancing work-life with yoga, dance, blogging, and cuddling her
German Shepard, Onyx.

Certifications