Listen and Learn from Clients to Advance DEI

Setpember 4, 2019 – Robin Horner is the evaluation manager at Korwin Consulting, a woman-owned firm that conducts evaluations, planning, and evaluation capacity building in support of social justice organizations, funders, and initiatives. The firm was established with DEI values at its core. Utilizing a relational style, team members listen to and learn from their clients and articulate and address DEI topics during each phase of the evaluation process. They have worked closely on DEI issues with an intermediary funder supporting organizations at the forefront of the women of color and transgender-led reproductive justice (RJ) movement, helping collect meaningful data and facilitating open communication. Horner believes that advancing DEI takes creative thinking, tenacity, and intentionality to keep DEI issues front and center.


Since 2003, Robin Horner has worked as the evaluation manager with Korwin Consulting, a woman-owned firm that provides evaluation, planning, and evaluation capacity building support for social justice organizations, funders, and initiatives. 

Korwin Consulting was designed with DEI values at its core. Team members use a relational style that involves listening to clients and their stakeholders to learn how race and other identities and conditions factor into their work and experiences. Sometimes this requires bringing a DEI perspective into conversations with a client who may have room to grow in this area. Sometimes team members need to raise awareness with each other about potential biases or lack of understanding as well.

With Korwin Consulting, Horner has worked closely on DEI issues with several philanthropic and community-based nonprofit clients. One of these is an intermediary funder that employs grantmaking, capacity building, and funder and donor engagement to build an organized grassroots base of support for the U.S.-based women of color and transgender-led reproductive justice (RJ) movement. Korwin Consulting helps collect meaningful data and facilitate open communication with the client and its stakeholders. They helped develop a theory of change for the client’s flagship RJ funding initiative and helped them select and refine the first evaluation tool grantee partners used to record their outputs and impacts. 

Several years ago, Korwin Consulting engaged the grantee partners, funders, donors and the client’s staff and leadership in a process to reflect on their experiences with the evaluation tool. Korwin Consulting acted as a liaison between the grantee partners and the funder’s staff and leadership. The process centered cisgender women of color and transgender people leading the RJ movement in assessing the original tool and, ultimately, in creating a new online impact survey that better met the needs of stakeholders in the RJ movement and was less burdensome for grantees. Horner and her team use the survey data to elevate stories of the people who make up the base constituencies of the RJ movement, putting what is important to them at the forefront of the annual evaluation process and report. 

Throughout their work, Korwin Consulting constantly strives to balance the need for data with the limited resources of clients and community-based grantee partners and activists, while learning from their clients about new ways to advance DEI. They believe in bringing community members’ lived experiences to the center of their evaluation analysis and reporting. 

Horner believes you should always be intentional about keeping concepts of DEI at the forefront of your work and that advancing DEI takes creative thinking and tenacity, especially when there is a strong urge for expediency in a project or a client’s resources and time are limited. 

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