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We’re a community of creative and committed professionals.

Team

Robert Burack

Director

An experienced facilitator, Robert has led disconnected groups of stakeholders to identify creative new solutions. Most recently, he managed the launch of the nation’s first craft business accelerator. Previously, he was Programs Director for Break Away, a national nonprofit that provides strategic planning and project management services to 200 universities and more than 500 nonprofit partners. He maintains an appointment at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he works with urban Chief Data Officers to embed human-centered design approaches into municipal government.

Master of Public Management, Carnegie Mellon University

Shannon Morrissey

Research Associate

Shannon brings experience in facilitation, research design, data mapping, and analysis at the intersection of law, policy, and education. Her previous work includes an evaluation of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching the Movement initiative and a needs assessment for the Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition. She is currently at work on an analysis of news coverage on the 2016 homicide victims in Chicago. Trained in social science research, Shannon believes in combining quantitative and qualitative methods to answer complex questions and develop innovative solutions.

Ph.D, Sociology, University of Chicago (in progress)

Madge Bemiss

Director

Madge combines broad experience, an ability to manage complex projects, and a personal commitment to fostering inclusivity and collaboration through the design process. Trained as an architect, she is a creative strategist with a passion for developing solutions that respond to a project’s unique context and aspirations. Equally comfortable designing a new approach as she is managing the current one, she embodies a rare balance of vision and pragmatism and is at home in projects with headache-inducing complexity.

Master of Architecture, Columbia University

Matt Gayer

Senior Facilitator

With 9 years of facilitation experience, including 700+ workshops and retreats and 1,100+ facilitation hours, Matt is known for his ability to nimbly translate content for diverse audiences – in the service of collaboratively solving problems. Matt has served as a senior facilitator at The Catalogue for Philanthropy and the Advisory Board Company, and is the former Executive Director of Health Literacy Dallas—a nonprofit focused on health communication. 

Master of Public Administration, Syracuse University

Nic Marlton

Director

Having designed and managed systems in public education, finance, and legal services, Nic is adept at working across sectors to find and implement inventive solutions. He has created crisis-management programs in Pennsylvania’s lowest performing public schools, and is currently working on an extended engagement with Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He is a strong believer that the principles of design can be applied to any challenge, and meets client problems with the creativity and energy they demand.

Giles Garrison

Strategy Associate

An organizational thinker and adept project manager, Giles is the former Executive Director of Groundwork RVA, a non-profit focused on cultivating urban environmentalism, and the former leader of the Storefront for Community Design, Richmond’s pro-bono and community-focused design center. At Brocade, she brings these experiences – and a seasoned approach to navigating Board and stakeholder dynamics – to our strategic planning practice.

Master of Urban and Regional Planning, Virginia Commonwealth University