Meet the Vantage Team: Stacie Hanson
Seeing Connections to make our communities whole
Our team grew up in the nonprofit sector. Each and every one of us pair our evaluation expertise with a firsthand understanding of the world we live in. Our Meet the Vantage Team series is a way for you to get to know each member of the Vantage team, and why they love what they do.
Seeing connections to make our communities whole
By Stacie Hanson
I believe in connection. I was drawn to the field of social work because I believe we are all connected on this little blue and green ball floating in a big universe, and we have to find and see these connections in order to make our communities whole. The web of nonprofits, foundations, and government services are all working for social change...but without making the connections between programs and their impacts, we don’t know if social change is actually leading to improvements for real people. And that’s where evaluation comes in.
Stacie Hanson, MSW | Evaluator
Stacie brings social work to evaluation, specializing in navigating tense and sensitive topics gracefully within qualitative data methodologies.
The field of evaluation was a happy accident for me. I was graduating with my Master of Social Work, determined to charge headfirst into changing the world, when a professor and mentor offered me a job managing a national evaluation of an Americorps program. At first, this seemed like a somewhat interesting job to pay my bills (in fact, I had not even taken the program evaluation course in grad school because I thought I wanted to focus on advocacy and policy work). But soon I discovered that I loved all the connections inherent in evaluation work. I got to interview people about their work, understand all the themes that intersect and blend together to make a coherent picture, and use that knowledge to improve programs that have a direct impact on the lives
of real people.
I am now fifteen years into my accidental career in evaluation, and I love seeing these connections come alive every day in my work. Vantage has been a perfect fit for me, because we don’t just evaluate programs to fulfill a funder’s mandate or collect data for data’s sake; we’re all committed to truly improving the social fabric of our communities. There are so many Coloradans working hard to create positive social change through mission-driven organizations, and we’re here to help them build on their strengths.
I love that at Vantage, evaluation is not about numbers or judgment or jargon, it’s about learning. The word “passion” gets thrown about easily these days, but I love that we are truly so passionate about infusing mission-driven organizations with a culture of learning.
We have a vision of Colorado where nonprofits are excited about evaluation because it helps them connect the dots between programs and people; where numbers are not numbers, they are people who are impacted by life-changing programs and services. And as we all work together to improve our communities, we get to see the connections between us grow stronger and more visible.