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, most recently for Sanctuary for Families, a leading service provider for victims of gender violence. She also directed an analysis of the service needs of young people in the residential care system, to inform program planning decisions by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services.

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 has led the project team that is delivering technical assistance and program support to the 18 Innovation Teams funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. 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 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. 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 nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and the City of New York. At Bennett Midland, Michelle has collaborated on the development of a strategic plan for Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organization responsible for park operations of the High Line. A skilled operations analyst, Michelle has also supported programming decisions by New York City’s child welfare agency and 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 non-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 non-profit. She holds an MPA from New York University and undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Bates College.

Associates and Analysts

Frieda Adu-Brempong, Associate

frieda@bennettmidland.com

Frieda is an analyst with a background in public policy and experience working with the public and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. Before joining Bennett Midland, Frieda conducted research for the Futures Group, a global health firm in Washington D.C., where her assignments included research on farming productivity indicators in rural Nigeria and 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 studied 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 analyst with a background in government, public policy, and finance. Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Ben worked at U.S. Trust in Boston and contributed to a client team that delivered personalized wealth management solutions for individuals and families. 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. He was a four-year member and co-captain of Wesleyan’s baseball team.

Xiuhui Lim, Senior Associate

xiuhui@bennettmidland.com

Xiuhui is an accomplished senior associate with a background in policy and public administration. 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. 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. At the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, she worked closely with operational agencies to develop and implement a new social welfare program for low-income and long-term unemployed citizens. 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 $75 million investment by the 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 non-profit and public sectors. At Bennett Midland, Ahmed supports cities in the Innovation Teams Grant program, an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies that helps mayors across cities develop and deliver powerful solutions to major urban challenges. Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Ahmed worked as a grant consultant for a consortium of ten European partners, including policy think tanks, non-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 non-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.

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 non-profit. 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 non-profit management and community-based development. At Bennett Midland, Bjorn is the lead associate on 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 other NGOs, 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.

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