Our Team

Elizabeth Scott PhD, CEO/President

Elizabeth Scott, PhD, founder of Brighter Strategies, provides thought leadership and high value organizational development consulting to help clients build internal capacity so they can thrive.

Liz has provided training and consulting services in strategic planning, process-improvement, and human capital development for over 200 nonprofits, associations, and socially minded organizations. She has also facilitated over 40 Board of Director retreats and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of governance. She has served on executive leadership teams in the non-profit industry and has overseen the areas of strategy, organizational development and performance. Prior to her non-profit career, Liz worked for Maximus, a large consulting firm, where she provided business process services to government health and human services agencies across the United States. She has extensive experience in developing and managing all aspects of an organization’s quality and business improvement efforts; such as developing and administering programs, training and coaching employees, and facilitating organization-wide change. She has been a Baldrige examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a certified Standard of Excellence consultant.

She is trained and experienced in delivering the Grove Consultants’ Strategic Visioning, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the Organizational Culture Inventory, the Leadership Impact, the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model, the Strength Deployment Inventory, DiSC, the ASSESS 360 system, and Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

In addition to managing the practice, Liz holds a faculty position at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and George Mason University.

Liz holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Organizational Sciences from The George Washington University, as well as a second master’s and Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

Payal Martin, MPH, Managing Director, Evaluation & Strategy

Payal Martin, MPH provides strategic planning, evaluation, and communications services to organizations who share her passion for advancing social change. Payal combines her experience serving and working as a leader with her deep knowledge of the intersection of strategic planning, coalition building, program planning and evaluation, communicating data, and government relations to advance a non-profit, organization or foundations’ mission.

As an expert facilitator, Payal focuses on developing a practical strategy with key stakeholder buy-in to ensure smooth implementation. Payal’s services to clients result not only in organizational or project clarity but are also instrumental in securing board of director approvals and increased funding from partners. As a communicator and advocate for policy change, Payal has produced and executed comprehensive communications strategies in addition to evidence-based messages and case stories as an instrumental component of advancing clients’ objectives.

For over a decade before becoming a consultant, Payal drove domestic and international progress in public health, tobacco control, and cancer prevention with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and a multi-sector organization of leaders in cancer treatment and prevention. Payal holds an MPH from the Boston University School of Public health, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland.

Payal spends her free time playing with her two kids and advocating for changes to foster a healthier environment.

Swafia Ames, Managing Director, People Strategy & Inclusion

Swafia Ames, a Managing Director at Brighter Strategies, is an expert at designing and implementing organizational development and human capital management programs with over 20 years of experience. In her capacity as a diversity and inclusion manager, she has designed and managed initiatives aimed at attracting, developing and advancing diverse members of the workforce. Key initiatives included recruiting, mentoring, leadership and professional development programs.

Throughout her career Swafia has supported a wide range of organizational development and human capital management initiatives including: talent acquisition and development programs, succession planning, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, team building workshops, and instructional design. Swafia is adept at identifying challenge areas within an organization and working collaboratively to develop and implement equitable and effective solutions.

Swafia earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD and her M.A. degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC. She has also been certified by the Society of Human Resources Management as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Mary Walter Arthur, Senior Consultant

Mary Walter Arthur has been providing human resources consulting services to business for over 30 years. Her experience in global human resources operations, talent management, leadership coaching, and organizational development provide her with the tools needed to deliver HR results to both earlier stage organizations and organizations in transition. Additionally, she provides expert guidance on establishing the HR functions as a strategic business partner, building customer centric HR infrastructure for companies, operational assessment and HR audits of existing HR functions. As an HR Consultant, she brings the perspectives and lessons learned from the positions she has held throughout her career in global HR leadership roles in manufacturing, public relations, technology, and non-profit organizations.

Mary Walter has a Master’s in Human Resources Development from The George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Centre College. She holds a Certificate, Global Human Resources Management, from Villanova University and was a Leadership Philadelphia Fellow. She is certified as a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR).


Barbra Kavanaugh, a Senior Consultant with Brighter Strategies, has deep expertise in managing and leading organizations going through change. Barbra has served both large and small mission-driven organizations as an interim executive director and interim chief of operations. Before moving to the metro DC area, she lived and worked in Buffalo NY where she managed the regional office of the New York State Attorney General and worked as a legal services attorney. Barbra also served on the City Council as well as the boards of the City Arts Commission and the Gay and Lesbian Youth Services.

With decades of experience in both non-profit and public sectors, she uses an organization’s mission as a focal point to guide staff and board through leadership transitions, Board reorganization and program implementation. Barbra’s transparent and engaging management style reassures staff, community partners and other stakeholders who may feel insecure in the face of change. Barbra takes a broad inventory of an organization’s policies, practices and procedures before making recommendations to improve the organization’s performance. She excels in supporting non-profit boards and other managers in building mission-driven and sustainable structures and policies for performance evaluation, management and accountability, risk management and staff development.

Barbra has a undergraduate degree in Communications from Seton Hall and a J.D. from the State University of New York Buffalo. In addition to her work with Brighter Strategies, she is affiliated with the Interim Executive Network.

Jennifer Till, Senior Consultant & Executive Coach

Jennifer Till, an Executive Coach and Facilitator with Brighter Strategies, has demonstrated abilities and experience in leadership development, coaching, and facilitation for business, government, and non-profit sectors. She has successfully developed planning, marketing and operating programs for many industries including health care, manufacturing, and publishing. She managed the turn-around of an electronics manufacturing plant, including ISO 9000 Certification utilizing the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and TQI process management. Jennifer brings her business acumen and strong training and development skills to clients to create an environment of excellence and to help them maintain focus and direction while increasing productivity and efficiency

Using humor with her high-energy yet caring approach, to get results, Jennifer has been coaching and training for over ten years. She is certified in various assessment and developmental tools including DISC, Belbin Team Profiles, Attribute Index, Values, Index and RAC Leadership development curriculum. She is a highly effective facilitator and is highly effective in working with group dynamics. She has developed curriculum for team chartering, high performance teams, conflict resolution, and highly effective communication for all organizational levels.

Brenda Harington

Brenda Harrington, Consultant & Executive Coach

Brenda Harrington is an experienced leadership coach and leadership development facilitator who helps clients cultivate professional qualities and habits that are most critical to their individual and organizational success. She works with individuals and teams within organizations, and as part of sector-specific learning cohorts. Her experience includes working with leaders in private, public, government (Federal and local), non-profit, intergovernmental, and humanitarian organizations. A certified Global Mindset facilitator, Brenda works effectively with leaders in diverse international settings and who lead culturally diverse teams to help them maximize their capacity for influence with people who are different from themselves.

At the core of Brenda’s approach to coaching is an allegiance to authenticity for clients and for herself. She helps clients find their way to their personal leadership style, premised on their unique characteristics and capabilities. Brenda believes that when clients become more self-aware and develop confidence in who they are, they expand their capacity to develop sustainable habits that inform their ability to achieve individual and organizational success.

Brenda received her leadership coaching certification from Georgetown University and is credentialed by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). She holds a Master of Science degree in Business from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adelphi University. Brenda has also received Global Mindset certification from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the Certified Global Business Professional designation (CGBP) from the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE). She holds several certifications for administering psychometric assessments and surveys, including the Hogan Leadership Forecast Series, Wiley Checkpoint 360 and PXT Select series and Global DISC.

Kaye Monroe

Kaye Monroe, Consultant & Executive Coach

Kaye Monroe has been providing professional coaching, consulting and program creation services for over 25 years.  She is known by her ability to consistently demonstrate passion and proficiency in coaching within the marketplace. Among her greatest attributes is her ability to understand the multitude of challenges faced by professional and emerging leaders and to offer practical solutions that are pivotal to successful performance.
As a proven strategist, Kaye’s professional clientele and experience includes service provision to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University Institute Social Services training activities, University of Virginia School of professional studies, Virginia Community College Office of Continuing Education and local Office of Economic development. In civic engagement she serves as Executive Vice Chair for the Charlottesville Chamber Minority Business Alliance and Board member for the Charlottesville Minority Business Commission.
She is a graduate of Old Dominion University Communication and Humans Services programs, Life forming Coaching Institute, University of Virginia Graduate Workforce development programs, along with credentialing from the Virginia Governor’s Workforce Council.

Alexandra Suchman, Consultant

Alex helps small, mission-driven organizations overcome the struggles, clutter, and tediousness of day-to-day operations through practical, sustainable processes, stronger project management practices, and needs; and better organizing systems to improve team efficiency, communications, and work quality. Alex understands that small workplaces are capable of accomplishing amazing feats through dedication, flexibility, and ingenuity. Her mission is to help clients become as successful as possible by identifying the root of the problems in order to provide customized, time-saving, and sustainable solutions that ensure all work is performed as efficiently and effectively way.

Alex’s background includes both research and operations management, which provides her with an unusual blend of skills and perspective that sets her apart from other consultants. She understands that every workplace is unique in terms of its needs, history, people, and culture, and her job is to ask all the right questions, and suggest solutions that address the operational challenges within that specific context.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College, a Master in Public Policy from the George Washington University, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.


Randall Thacker is an experienced leadership and team coach.He has worked with hundreds of leaders of businesses, government, and non-profit organizations throughout the world.

Randall previously worked for BearingPoint, Inc. (formerly KPMG Consulting) and Deloitte Consulting LLP. He received his MBA in Strategic Management and Organization Development from The George Washington University School of Business and his Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University. He is also a Certified Leadership Coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Randall currently works with clients from dozens of organizations, including Hyatt, PhRMA, the World Bank, Exelon, H&R Block, the Inter-American Development Bank, Banyan Global, Goodwill-Easter Seals, and many non-profit and federal government agencies. He works with leaders at all different levels, including those moving into higher leadership positions and those looking for ways to increase their effectiveness in delivering business results and engaging their teams.


Liyo Yu believes that the solution to any problem lies in understanding the underlying cause of the problem. This belief has been confirmed by  her work in diagnostic research, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, logic modeling, process mapping and content development. She is happy for the opportunity to help clients and other consultants with strategic planning, leadership development, and business performance engagements.

Having grown up in Dubai, Liyo’s international experience provides her with a culturally diverse perspective on organizations and the problems they face. She holds a BSc in Psychology with Management from Heriot-Watt University in Dubai and a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC.


David is a skilled facilitator with over six-years’ experience in team development and experiential education. He has worked effectively with teams spanning public and private sectors, higher education, local government, and non-profit organizations.

At Brighter Strategies, David supports a wide range of projects including organizational assessments, strategic planning, leadership development programs, and business performance improvement engagements. Taking his work beyond facilitation, David also helps teams collect and process data to help understand organizational decision points in new ways.

David holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University, a background he draws upon when working with data and analytics. He is also pursuing his Master’s in Organization Development and Knowledge Management (ODKM) at George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

Marta Segal Block, Director of Marketing & Communications

Marta Segal Block has always loved words and writing. She began her career in publishing and educational technology and later moved to grant writing, then marketing and communications. She has worked for several nonprofit and for profit organizations. She’s delighted to help Brighter Strategies and clients find each other, knowing that doing so helps everyone.

Marta has a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Philosophy and a Master’s Degree in English.

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