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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
1 Jun, 2016

Ask Nicole: Did You Ever Leave Your Day Job to Run Your Business Full-Time?

By | 2017-01-03T23:22:11+00:00 June 1st, 2016|Categories: Reviews & Reflection|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Blog Post

In 2014, I wrote the blog post “Am I On the Right Track? Evaluating Nicole Clark Consulting“.

I received several reactions, summed up in these ways:

“I didn’t know you were working full-time!”

or

“How are you running a business while working full-time?”

Since that time, I’ve been asked about my progress on the goals from that post, primarily on this goal:

Transition into Nicole Clark Consulting full-time by January 2016

Starting today, June 1, 2016, I am running Nicole Clark Consulting full-time. Yes, I’m behind on my goal by 6 months, but better late than never.

I set the wheels in motion on October 1, 2015, and on the morning of January 1, 2016, while overlooking New York City skyline on the observation deck of One World Trade Center, I knew I was ready. Honestly, I had forgotten that January 1, 2016 was my original full-time date, and decided that June 1, 2016 would be the day I would be full-time in my business.

I submitted my resignation letter to my supervisor on March 31, 2016, with my last day being May 31, 2016. I didn’t mind staying in my position for the extra 2 months as it ended up taking 2 months for my replacement to be hired and trained.

Outside of some family members, a few friends, and some colleagues (both entrepreneurs and my office co-workers), the only people who knew about my resignation were my Raise Your Voice newsletter subscribers. I also wanted to make sure that all of my client contracts were finalized before submitting my resignation as well.

Let’s go back over my progress:

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6 Apr, 2016

When You’re Clear on What You Need, It’s Easier to Measure Your Impact

By | 2017-01-03T23:25:47+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments

Blog Post Title

I talked with two potential clients this week, and both ended up being great conversations in how they plan to dive deeper into what makes their programming valuable to their audiences. There were lots of aha moments—on their end as well as mine—in how they conceptualize a potential evaluation project or training for their staff, the various evaluation theories thy can draw inspiration from, and how prepared their staff is to embark on a small or large-scale evaluation project.

A few of those aha moments centered on my process for conducting an evaluation, and in how I assist clients in incorporating evaluative thinking in their work. Oftentimes, discussions on evaluation don’t come into the very end of a project, so I encourage clients at the onset of a program to think more about what value their programming is expected to have on their audience.

While I typically have potential clients complete my client questionnaire prior to speaking with me, most of the time I’ll meet a potential client in person via a networking opportunity before setting up a time to discuss further.

During these recent calls, I found that we spent most of the time discussing how I go about conducting an evaluation or setting up a staff training on aspects of evaluation and how they can compliment their project. In those conversations, I touched on three key factors  an organization needs to consider, thus impacting how to measure the value of their program:

Clarity

A potential client questionnaire allows for a client to conceptualize a potential evaluation project, and an in-person meeting or a phone call allows for deeper understanding and relationship building. Regardless of which precedes the other, clarity on what you want to do is important. One of the benefits of being an independent evaluator is that I’m able to provide objective feedback on a client’s project and outline the factors that may impact the process of the evaluation project. Another role for developing clarity is in deciding if you really need an external evaluator to take a lead on this project or if there’s another way to add more value to this process. Which leads into my second key factor. (more…)

23 Mar, 2016

“But Does It Make A Difference?”

By | 2016-10-25T01:47:59+00:00 March 23rd, 2016|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation, Reproductive Justice|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Blog Post Title 3-23-16

I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline a few nights ago, and came across a tweet from the American Evaluation Association’s Twitter account, highlighting a blog post from program evaluator and research designer Dr. Molly Engle of Evaluation is an Everyday Activity. Dr. Engle focused on how she starts and ends her day with gratitude, and how that gratitude extends to her work in program evaluation. What stood out the most was this quote:

Doing evaluation just for the sake of evaluating, because it would be nice to know, is not the answer. Yes, it may be nice to know; [but] does it make a difference? Does the program (policy, performance, product, project, etc.) make a difference in the lives of the participants[?]

As I’ve mentioned before, conducting an evaluation can lead to insights into how well a program is performing and what can be improved. How valuable is this program in the lives of the individuals, families, and communities you work with?

I’ve been thinking of this a lot, and how it connects to the Reproductive Justice movement and its application of the framework. I try to incorporate a gender-focused, intersectional analysis in everything I do. However, I can’t figure out the onset, but I started to burn out from the RJ movement.

I don’t see myself leaving the RJ movement anytime soon, so I began searching for another entry point into the RJ movement of the traditional ways I’ve approached the work in the past. Program design and evaluation has been a way to reinvigorate my approach to RJ.

While it doesn’t sound as “sexy” or “trendy” as RJ has becomes more mainstream, evaluation  incorporates my engagement skills as a social worker, and I’ve found a way in my business to assist organizations in thinking more critically on how they design programs and services, as they relate to social justice work. While it may not be as exciting as a rally, I use my evaluation skills to gauge how an organization thinks of their program, what assistance may be needed  to realize their vision, what their perceived “wins” (expected outcomes) are, and what those actual outcomes are.

Going back to Dr. Engle’s quote, it got me to thinking: When an organization develops a program based on the RJ framework, what are the major similarities of RJ-based programs who receive funding from major donors or foundations? Do organizations evaluate RJ programs with the same criteria as other programs based on a completely different framework?  There are plenty of theories out their related to program design and evaluation, with lots of evaluation tools to choose from. Are there are separate set of evaluation tools that we can use to evaluate RJ-based programs by, and are we evaluating these programs based on what funders deem as important, or rather what makes sense to the organization applying the RJ framework? If the evaluation tools don’t exist, what could they potentially look like?

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6 Aug, 2014

Am I On The Right Track?: Evaluating Nicole Clark Consulting

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:02+00:00 August 6th, 2014|Categories: Reviews & Reflection|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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I started this blog in 2011 as a way for me to share my thoughts and feelings on feminism, women and girls of color, and various aspects of reproductive justice. What I expected was an increase of clarity on my position. What I got instead was the ability to position myself as a thought leader, connect with like-minded individuals and with people who want to know more about my position, the challenge of staying up-to-date on the constant happenings within the reproductive justice movement, and to make a difference in my own way.

Last year, I reflected on how my activism has been the foundation for my roles as a social worker and as a program evaluator, and this has been my main focus for Nicole Clark Consulting. This year, I chose to delve more deeply into finding creative ways to help individuals, communities, and organizations create or improve their communities, programs and services in order to make a lasting impact.

In the spirit of evaluating my own services, I want to share with you what I feel has gone reasonably well with Nicole Clark Consulting, areas that I’ve been struggling with, and where I see myself headed into 2015:

The 9-to-5 struggle: Along with running Nicole Clark Consulting, I’ve been employed as full-time job social worker for a New York City-based HIV organization since 2010. This has been the biggest struggle since I made the transition from being a casual blogger to developing my business. Anyone who is building a business while working full- or even part-time for an employer can attest to this: It’s hard! Hard due to managing your time between your obligations to your employer while putting in even more hours for your own business, hard because there are times where you’d rather be working on your business while at work, and more. At any given time, my weekly schedule consists on waking up, going to the gym, going directly to my job, leaving at 5pm, going home, and working on my business. Or sometimes I get up early, work on my business before getting ready for work and save the gym for after 5pm. I used to get to work a half hour early or even stay later, but I found that this takes away time from working on my business and for taking time out for self care. I also use part of my weekend and some vacation time to work on my business. Whether it’s drafting my blog post for next week, editing my consulting contract template, or responding to business emails, there’s always something that needs to get done. As difficult as this has been, I’m still amazed at how much I get done for my business and for my employer. And through it all, not only am I grateful that my full-time employment provides me with additional income, I’m also grateful that I’ve found a schedule that works for me for now until it’s time to step into my business full-time. I used to be concerned that sharing that I have a full-time job would make me appear as a fraud entrepreneur. Now I realize more how many people are living this experience, and we will all get to where we need to be in time. (And if you’re having problems with finding time for your business in the midst of working a full-time job, check out these tips from entrepreneur Rosetta Thurman.)

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31 Jul, 2013

Once You Decide to Become an Activist, You Never Leave It. It’s What You Do.

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:04+00:00 July 31st, 2013|Categories: Reviews & Reflection|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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(Top row: Left- Presenting a workshop at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists Conference in June 2013; Right- Being interviewed on Let Your Voice Be Heard Radio in March 2013. Bottom row: Left- Panelist on the Pro Choice & Millennials panel in February 2013; Right: Acceptance speech for the Excellence in Leadership award during the Choice USA Generation 2 Generation Awards in July 2013)

July 2013 marks 2 years since I began blogging my perspectives on sexual health reproductive justice and how various social justice issues (age, gender, race, safety, poverty, etc.) impact Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native/Indigenous women & girls. In fact, 2013 marks 10 years since I became involved in the reproductive justice and feminist movements, and throughout this year I’ve thought a lot about the various roles I serve in and how I’ve combined them to create a consulting business that’s in alignment with my vision and values.

This year has been a year of various transitions for me, both personally and professionally. Part of the transition has been recognizing the fact that I’m more comfortable labeling myself as an activist. It wasn’t until a year ago that I became comfortable with calling myself a social worker, and even recently I began referring to myself a program evaluator and a consultant. For a long time, I viewed my various roles as separate entities. However, they progressively build upon each other. My activism guided my decision to become a social worker. My social work studies led me to consider a career as a consultant, speaker, and program evaluator. My consulting business allows me to rely on the skills I developed as an activist and social worker to be as effective and engaging as possible.

However, if it weren’t for being an activist, I wouldn’t have been successful as a social worker, speaker, program evaluator and consultant.  (more…)