We work with organizations to develop their "system capacities": the knowledge, skills, and processes to adapt creatively to complex environments.

Evan Bloom

Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Evan sets strategic direction for Root Change’s organizational strengthening initiatives and action research agenda. He loves to tinker in the Root Change “lab” on new capacity building technologies and to exchange ideas with local changemakers. Evan has worked in the field of international development and community development for over 30 years. Before founding Root Change, he served as the Vice President for Capacity Building at Pact. From 1996 to 2008, Evan authored one of the most widely used capacity diagnostic tools in international development, co-founded the global action network, Impact Alliance, researched localization strategies and introduced network analysis applications to the development sector. Today, he teaches innovation and strategic partnering at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California and leadership at Emory University. When the day is done, Evan is in the kitchen with the family slicing, dicing and dreaming.

Claudia Liebler

Co-founder and Managing Partner for Services

Claudia is passionate about social justice and she brings issues of radical equality, locally owned development and managing power differentials into her work at Root Change. She loves nothing more than co-designing and testing new capacity development approaches with local colleagues. Claudia left Pact to found Root Change after serving there as the Director of Training. From 1994 to 2002, Claudia was on the staff of Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management in the Doctoral Department of Organizational Behavior, where she conceived and co-directed the Global Excellence in Management (GEM) Initiative, a capacity development program for NGOs worldwide funded by a seven-year multimillion dollar USAID grant. Today, Claudia is one of a small number of professionals who specialize in positive approaches to change. After working in more than 40 countries across multiple sectors, Claudia still experiences pure joy when she is traversing new lands with her hiking stick and backpack in tow.

Alexis Banks

Program and Communications Manager

Alexis Banks works with our global partners to share learning and advocate for approaches to development that put power in the hands of local communities. She pioneered Root Change's “Thinking and Working in Systems” blended learning course and supports user testing and development for our online social network analysis and feedback platform, Pando.  Alexis helps partners design and launch network maps and Constituent Voice feedback loops and facilitate inclusive analysis of local systems. She also facilitates organizational transformation initiatives. Alexis got her start at GlobalGiving, where she managed virtual and in-person training and monitoring and evaluation for thousands of community-based organizations around the world. She has since consulted with numerous U.S. and South African non-profits. Alexis studied international development, political science, and leadership at American University and completed her MBA at the University of Cape Town. Off the clock, Alexis and her husband, Brian can be found at a brewery in their lovely hometown of Hyattsville, MD or scouring the globe for their next great adventure.

Rachel Dickinson

Learning and Product Design Manager

Rachel works with Root Change’s team to create effective monitoring, evaluation, research and learning processes. She is responsible for data analysis endeavors, as well as coding and programming support for Root Change’s online network visualization and feedback tool, Pando. Rachel holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in policy and program evaluation and research from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). Rachel got her start assisting with data collection and analysis at the META Lab. Before joining Root Change, she supported M&E and data projects in the United States, Nepal, and Morocco. When not in the office, Rachel can be found running, hiking, traveling, or exploring DC with her camera.

Myson Jambo

Field Manager, Local Works Malawi

Myson works with Malawian organizations and communities to launch Social Labs as part of the localworks initiative, to test alternative approaches to supporting, sustaining and measuring locally-owned and led development. Before joining Root Change, Myson worked as Malawi Country Director at Village X Org, a community-led organization, which has funded development programs in over forty rural communities in Malawi. Myson has five years of experience working with NGOs in programming at the community level, including vetting and facilitating projects, including youth engagement programming, peer mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, managing and administering finances, and responding to community concerns. He believes the key to success in development is giving people the power to decide their own future. Myson holds an advanced degree in public health. When he is not working, Myson enjoys traveling with his family.

Mauricio Miller

Executive Director, Community Independence Initiative

As the Executive Director of Community Independence Initiative (CII), Mauricio works closely with Root Change to implement CII around the world. CII is a peer-driven change model that invests in the talents, strengths, and ingenuity of people living in low-income communities. He authored The Alternative, a book which challenges the basic assumption that low-income families are lazy or victims in need of saving and lays out an evidenced-based alternative solution to poverty. Mauricio founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in 2001, with a mission to support and accelerate families’ own efforts to improve their social and economic mobility. In recognition of his unconventional approach to generating economic mobility, Mauricio was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2012, was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions, is an Ashoka Fellow, and more. A first-generation immigrant, Mauricio’s personal history deeply informs his life’s work.

Emas Potolani

Field Manager, Local Works Malawi

Emas is the “human face” Root Change’s Local Works project, facilitating Social Labs, where local and international actors can collaboratively identify and test new ideas that support, sustain, and measure locally owned and led development. Before joining Root Change, he served as a CorpsAfrica volunteer in southern Malawi where he facilitated and implemented community-led initiatives in Sanitation, Clean Water Provision, Education, Climate and Environment, and more. Emas is now the President of the CorpsAfrica Alumni Association in Malawi. He also worked as a Training Secretary in 6 districts in Eastern Region to provide leadership tools, training and mentorship to college and high school students. Emas holds a BA in Arts Humanities from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. When he’s not working, Emas enjoys listening to good music, blogging, and spending quality time with his adorable little Nicole and wife, Winnie.

Wadia Samadi

Finance and Operations Coordinator

Wadia works with Root Change’s staff and partners around the world to provide administrative, operational, and logistical support. She is also responsible for administering and improving the organization’s knowledge management. Wadia has experience working in management and communications in Afghanistan, where she worked for the public and private sectors and the Afghan media. She is the owner of Afghanistan’s first and only business news portal, and she writes stories on Afghan women’s rights for Afghan and international news agencies and blogs. Wadia studied Economics and German Studies at University of Richmond. Outside of the office she loves to play dress up, dance, and take photos with her daughter, and spend time with her husband.

Dinah Sandoval

Program Officer

Dinah supports organizations on their journey to becoming reflective learning institutions guided by the needs and the involvement of the communities they serve. Currently, Dinah works with Children International in facilitating a global organizational behavior change initiative and enjoys designing and facilitating community based interventions, workshops and communication strategies. Given her experience working on grassroots capacity building projects in Southern Africa and Latin America, Dinah brings a local perspective to the forefront of her work. Dinah holds BA in International Relations and Italian from San Francisco State University. Apart from speaking Italian, Spanish and French, Dinah is conversational in Setswana and Swedish. An avid tea drinker and lover of multifunctional furniture, Dinah strives to live a mindful and healthy life in pursuit of making every day count.

Alexis T. Shenfil Smart

Director of Programs

Alexis Smart works closely with partners and local change makers to co-design and facilitate system strengthening initiatives to address complex social problems. She leads Capacity 2.0 (C20) Local Works in Malawi and serves as the product manager for Pando, an online network visualization and feedback tool used to support system change. She has previous experience leading civil society strengthening initiatives in Serbia, Nepal, and Nigeria and in piloting the use of Community Links, a mobile phone alert system to support child protection in Uganda. Alexis got her start in development co-designing a training and mentorship program to support women entrepreneurs in rural india with a women-led microfinance bank. She has a MS in Development Management from American University and a BA in Anthropology from Skidmore College. Alexis works remotely for Root Change in Oakland, California, where she enjoys being outdoors, biking and dancing around the city, and cooking with family and friends.