Partners

Sarah Graizbord

sarahg@bennettmidland.com

Sarah is a skilled strategist with over a decade of experience working in the public sector. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, operations and business process analysis, program development, and performance measurement. At Bennett Midland, Sarah has directed our work in New York City with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration in areas of behavioral health, homeless services, child welfare, and public safety. In particular, she managed our work on the Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System, contributing to the development of concrete, actionable recommendations aimed at reducing the number of individuals with behavioral health needs who enter the criminal justice system. Additionally, Sarah has guided strategic planning for major social service organizations, including Sanctuary for Families, a leading service provider for victims of gender violence. Sarah also leads the project team that is delivering technical assistance and program support to the 25 Innovation Teams funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Prior to joining the firm, Sarah directed policy and planning activities for the New York City Department of Correction, working closely with other health and human services agencies and organizations. Prior to that, she played a similar role in child welfare and juvenile justice agencies. She began her career in public service in New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board, first investigating and later supervising investigations into allegations of police misconduct made by the public. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School and a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Political Philosophy from Sarah Lawrence College.

Sara Mogulescu

sara@bennettmidland.com

Sara is a leading advisor who provides strategic and implementation support to leaders in the civic sector. She is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile and criminal justice program design, management, and policy reform.

At Bennett Midland, Sara has collaborated on management strategy and organizational development with leaders of public agencies and community organizations. She is currently partnering with Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to design and deliver, Invest Health, a new national grant program that will help 50 mid-sized cities plan community development projects with the aim of improving health outcomes in distressed neighborhoods.

Prior to joining the firm, Sara served as the Director of the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she led multiple efforts to improve and reform juvenile justice systems at the state and local level through technical assistance, research, and strategic planning. In over seven years at Vera, working in close collaboration with policy-makers, government partners, and the philanthropic community, Sara managed a varied portfolio of initiatives. Sara and her team helped New York City stakeholders develop and validate a detention risk assessment instrument that gauges the level of risk a youth presents in re-offending or failing to appear in court, and provided expertise and support to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative.

Before joining Vera, Sara was an associate at Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer P.C., a New York law firm, where she represented clients in federal criminal matters. Previously, she was a litigator in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis. She holds a JD from the New York University School of Law and a BA from Wesleyan University.

Principals

Eric Rector

erector@bennettmidland.com

Eric directs the IT planning practice at Bennett Midland. He has guided the design of information systems for a range of clients, including law enforcement agencies, economic development agencies, and not-for-profits. An accomplished data architect, Eric has designed information systems that drive operations and help executives monitor and analyze the performance of their organizations. Before joining Bennett Midland, Eric worked as a business systems architect in the private sector. Eric trained as a marine biologist at Duke University. He is an award winning cheese maker and an avid organic farmer.

Civic Innovation Fellow

Charles West

charles@bennettmidland.com

Charles led the inaugural Innovation Team in the New Orleans Mayor’s Office, working to improve public safety by reducing the murder rate, increase economic opportunity for disadvantaged job-seekers, and reduce mass incarceration. Charles also served as Director of the Office of Criminal Justice Coordination and Chair of the Criminal Justice Council, advising Mayor Mitchell Landrieu and the City Council on criminal and juvenile justice policy matters.

Previously, Charles worked as a business analysis and technology consultant on projects in the public and private sectors, examining performance management issues for the State of Minnesota; re-designing processes for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and improving organizational effectiveness in industries ranging from health care and insurance to publishing. A New Orleans native, Charles returned home in 2011 to help transform city government.

Charles holds a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Managers

Shelby Kohn

shelby@bennettmidland.com

Shelby is a skilled strategist and operations manager with a decade of experience leading the implementation of new business processes in the public sector. At Bennett Midland Shelby has facilitated strategic planning for major social service organizations, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. She also advises multiple Innovation Teams in mayor’s offices across the country to help them make a measurable impact on major challenges in their cities.

Prior to joining the firm, Shelby redesigned and directed property tax benefit programs for the New York City Department of Finance. Prior to that, she was a policy advisor and project manager for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, where she worked on initiatives that improved the efficiency and effectiveness of public services. Specifically, she focused on real estate optimization, public building safety, and customer service. She also led a business and job retention program at the New York City Department of Small Business Services. Shelby holds a Master's in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA from Haverford College.

Michelle Lau

michelle@bennettmidland.com

Michelle is a Manager with expertise in supporting strategic planning engagements with not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations and the City of New York. At Bennett Midland, Michelle has collaborated on the development of strategic plans for multiple not-for-profit organizations, including Sanctuary for Families, Friends of the High Line, and the New York City Criminal Justice Agency. She has also worked with Cities of Service to solidify an organizational narrative and implement management strategies to drive long-term impact and sustainability. As a skilled operations analyst, she has collaborated on the firm’s economic impact study of bicycle lanes and street improvements for the New York City Department of Transportation. Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Michelle worked at the Environmental Defense Fund, where she conducted extensive research around the implementation of new energy generation technologies. Michelle graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a minor in Environmental Studies.

Dalia Mechanic

dalia@bennettmidland.com

Dalia is a Manager with expertise in financial management and program development for government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. She has a strong record of leading engagements focused on helping civic sector organizations elevate operational effectiveness. At Bennett Midland, Dalia has had extensive experience working on complex business process analysis projects, including the analysis of New York City’s arrest-to-arraignment process and the development of staffing models for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. Prior to joining the firm, Dalia worked for the Chief Financial Officer of a large not-for-profit. She holds an MPA from New York University and undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Bates College.

Strategic Communications Specialist

Samuel Knowles

Sam is a Strategic Communications Specialist with extensive experience helping civic sector organizations advance their missions through communications, strategy, and messaging. At Bennett Midland, Sam serves as the communications lead for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams Program, which helps cities solve problems in new ways to deliver better results for residents.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Sam served as an Account Director in the national practice of BerlinRosen Public Affairs, where he advised leading foundations and not-for-profits including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Voices for Civil Justice. He has overseen national media strategy for the release of agenda-setting research, including the Public Justice Center’s report on the evictions crisis in Baltimore, as well as the public announcement of major initiatives in the criminal and civil justice space. He has also worked with elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, activists, and academics to craft opinion pieces for the nation's top outlets, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Sam previously worked at the Advertising Council, where he developed multimedia communications campaigns for major national not-for-profits and government partners. Sam is a graduate of Brown University.

Associates and Analysts

Frieda Adu-Brempong, Associate

frieda@bennettmidland.com

Frieda is an Associate with a background in public policy and experience working with the public and not-for-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. At Bennett Midland, Frieda has supported strategic planning for the Center for Court Innovation’s Harlem Community Justice Center, conducting research about the East Harlem community, its housing challenges, and new and valuable opportunities for the Center. Frieda also works with the Innovation Teams grant program, providing coordinated support to city teams across the country and internationally.

Before joining Bennett Midland, Frieda conducted research for a global health firm in Washington D.C., where her assignments included research on farming productivity indicators in rural Nigeria and developing literature reviews to inform case studies on replicable public health practices. As an undergraduate, Frieda worked alongside the Fuller Center for Housing in Macon, Georgia, to build and renovate houses for families in need, and traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador, where she learned about Ecuadorian cities and social issues, including the integration of indigenous students in urban schools. Frieda graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in Policy Management.

Ben Hoynes, Associate

ben@bennettmidland.com

Ben is an Associate with a background in government, public policy, and finance. At Bennett Midland, Ben has supported the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in administering the Safety and Justice Challenge—a $100 million investment to change the way America thinks about and uses jails. He has also worked with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City to develop a dataset that catalogs and describes investments in contracted criminal justice services across multiple City agencies.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Ben worked in the financial services industry, as part of a client team at U.S. Trust in Boston. Previously, Ben interned for the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where he aided investigations of fraudulent business activities through research and analysis. He has also worked as a freelance sports writer. Ben graduated from Wesleyan University with a dual degree in Government and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures.

Xiuhui Lim, Senior Associate

xiuhui@bennettmidland.com

Xiuhui is an accomplished Senior Associate with a background in policy and public administration. At Bennett Midland, Xiuhui has supported cities across the United States in tackling diverse challenges, through programs such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Invest Health initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams grant program, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Xiuhui worked on education, finance, labor, and social welfare policy in the Singapore government. At the Ministry of Education, as head of planning and research in a major division of the agency, she put in place cultural and process changes to ensure a stronger partnership between policy and communications divisions when developing, announcing, and implementing new policies. She also coordinated the strategic planning function of the agency. At the Ministry of Manpower, she established and led a unit that oversaw migrant worker welfare policy. In this role, she coordinated government efforts to implement effective responses to the mistreatment of migrant workers by employers, including stronger enforcement actions against illegal or substandard housing and better communication with migrant workers on their employment rights. Xiuhui holds an AB from Princeton University and an MA from New York University, both in Philosophy.

Alexis Medina, Senior Associate

alexis@bennettmidland.com

Alexis is a Senior Associate with an academic background in social and economic inequality. At Bennett Midland, Alexis has supported the design and implementation of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $100 million investment by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to reform how local jails are used. Alexis also supported the design and roll-out of What Works Cities, a national initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help 100 mid-sized American cities accelerate their use of data and evidence to engage citizens, make government more effective, and improve people’s lives. Recently, Alexis contributed to the development of the New York City Digital Playbook, which leveraged human-centered design techniques to build a description of how the City’s digital strategy will increase equity and help all New Yorkers participate in the political, civic, and cultural life of the city. Alexis holds a BA with honors in Social Studies from Harvard.

Ahmed Muneeb, Associate

ahmed@bennettmidland.com

Ahmed is an Associate with a background in public policy and management, and has worked internationally in the not-for-profit and public sectors. At Bennett Midland, Ahmed has supported the implementation of new intake business processes for Sanctuary for Families, a leading service provider for victims of gender violence in New York City. He also provides coordinated support to multiple cities tackling diverse issues as part of the Innovation Team grant program.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Ahmed worked as a grant consultant for a consortium of ten European partners, including policy think tanks, not-for-profits, and university research centers across Europe. In this role, he worked on proposals focused on increasing youth cultural literacy. Ahmed has also worked with public and not-for-profit sector partners in Pakistan, including the British Council, Society for Advancement of Education (SAHE), and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on education, youth, and minority issues. At SAHE, he conducted a nationwide study to identify the challenges facing public and private school teachers in Pakistan, and contributed to recommendations for educational reforms. Ahmed holds a BS in Political Science from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and an MA in Public Policy from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Germany.

Elyse Oliver, Associate

Elyse is an Associate with a background in public policy, social entrepreneurship, and community development. Before joining Bennett Midland, Elyse worked with the Southeast Community Development Corporation in Baltimore, MD engaging residents and business owners in creating a more vibrant downtown corridor. In addition, she provided research assistance to the Public Justice Center for a study on tenant experiences in Baltimore Rent Court. Elyse is the founder of a social startup called Project Charmify, which uses public space activation and hands-on workshops to teach high school students leadership and community development skills. Elyse graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in International Studies and Sociology.

Jesse Weiss, Senior Associate

jesse@bennettmidland.com

Jesse is a Senior Associate with expertise in municipal innovation and strategic planning. At Bennett Midland, Jesse has collaborated on the development of a strategic plan for the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank that catalyzes policies that grow and diversify New York City’s economy and expand economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. He also supported the development, launch and administration of Results for America’s Local Government Fellowship, an initiative designed to help senior city officials advance data-driven and evidence-based policymaking.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Jesse worked with Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing not-for-profit organization. Jesse graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science.

Bjorn Whitmore, Senior Associate

bjorn@bennettmidland.com

Bjorn is a Senior Associate with substantial experience in not-for-profit management, program design, and community-based development. At Bennett Midland, Bjorn works with the Innovation Teams grant program, providing coordinated support to city teams across the country and internationally. Bjorn has also worked on an analysis of Medicaid enrollment in New York City jails for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, providing strategic recommendations to improve enrollment services for justice-involved individuals.

Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Bjorn led the Burundi Country Program for Spark MicroGrants, where he managed a team that promoted local solutions to socioeconomic challenges in rural communities and developed partnerships with government agencies and private organizations. Bjorn had previously worked in Burundi as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. Bjorn holds a BA in Human Evolutionary Biology with a certificate in French Language from Harvard.

Asher Young, Associate

asher@bennettmidland.com

Asher is an Associate with a background in government and public history. At Bennett Midland, Asher supports cities involved in the Invest Health program, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Reinvestment Fund that helps mid-sized cities across the United States engage city leaders to work together to help low-income communities thrive and improve their health outcomes. As an undergraduate, Asher worked as a research assistant for the Government department, reviewing works of classical political theory for an upcoming book on radical enfranchisement, civil disobedience, and jury service. He also worked in the Exhibitions Department at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and as a contributing writer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, MA. Asher graduated from Wesleyan University with a dual degree in Government and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures.

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