OUR TEAM

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.

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.

Beryl Levinger

Chief Learning Officer

At Root Change, Beryl supports the co-development, testing, and refining of methodologies that contribute to a more just and equitable world. She also helps to design and facilitate theory-building, learning events and directs the Root Change Program in Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI). Beryl’s driving passion is helping individuals and organizations use learning for personal and societal transformation. She is co-founder of the acclaimed Escuela Nueva (New School) movement; founder of the Peace Corps (Coverdell) Fellows program; co-founder of InterAction; and, author or co-author of many widely used capacity assessment methodologies. Her DPMI contributions garnered an innovation award from the Fund for Post-secondary Education; her re-imagining of graduate education led to a Middlebury Innovation Fund grant; and, her work on Active Learning Capacity earned her the Martin J. Forman Prize. Beryl has also co-created frameworks used by international organizations to measure the state of the world’s mothers and children. Prior to joining Root Change, Beryl held executive leadership positions in several major international NGOs and served as Distinguished Professor and Program Chair at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. When not working, Beryl has adventures with her multi-generational family, engages in political action, and attempts to become a world class photographer.

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 Officer

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.

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.

Ángela Serrano González

Latin America Programs Learning Fellow

Ángela supports Root Change’s team and diverse partners with data collection and analysis, developing learning materials, and engaging with Root Change’s online network visualization and feedback tool, Pando. She has experience working in monitoring and evaluation for development programs, and other data collection and analysis projects in Mexico. Ángela believes in the importance of actively questioning the effectiveness of current views in development assistance and combining various areas of knowledge to tackle global situations. She holds Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and Business Management from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City. Off the clock, Ángela can be found enjoying a good novel on a beach (or any cool travel destination), spending time with her family, dancing, and playing the piano.