About Us

We are people‑centered, data‑driven, action‑oriented, and passion‑fueled.

Our Background

Harnessing our experience and passion to help others

Catalyze is a woman-owned consulting firm providing client-centered evaluation and facilitation consulting services to organizations across the United States. Our dedicated team members aim to bring unique training, perspectives, and passions together to foster positive change.

What Motivates Us

We believe positive change comes through engaging communities.

We recognize that our research can be an important catalyst for communities. A passion for social justice drives each of our team members, and we fuel that passion through our support of continuous learning and improvement. Involving communities in research is the right way to do it, and it is the best way to create beneficial and sustainable change.

Our Core

Our Mission

To support organizations and communities learning together

Our Vision

To drive equitable community transformation

Our Commitments


We believe that being inclusive of different voices and perspectives creates space where great things can happen. We commit to encouraging respectful collaboration.


We believe that all people have value, all ideas are worth hearing, and differing perspectives are an asset. We commit to treating every person with dignity and integrity.


We believe in listening deeply, engaging meaningfully, approaching our work with sensitivity, and always striving to make ourselves aware of the social, cultural, and historical circumstances in which people live their lives. We commit to seeing people for who they see themselves.


We believe that conventional thinking can sometimes fall short of desired outcomes, and that critical, innovative approaches to social problems are needed to move forward. We commit to being open to the possibility of all ideas.


We believe that social change takes place at the community level. We commit to conducting authentic research that is grounded in and emerging from the community.


We believe that the evaluation process creates learning for our clients, and that being responsive to shifts in direction is the best way to be truly impactful. We commit to approaching each project as a journey to be discovered.


Project Team

Our core team draws on a vast array of educational and personal backgrounds coupled with a strong passion for the work we do to meet our client’s needs in compelling ways.

Additional Support

Project Partners

Our partners work closely with our team on a wide variety of projects, bringing content expertise ranging from healthcare to energy to social welfare.

Celeste Janssen was the director of the Center for Strengthening Education Systems at Education Northwest. In this role, she oversaw the technical assistance efforts of a team of 12 expert practitioners, as well as the Region 17 Comprehensive Center, a federal grant that provides consulting services to the Montana and Idaho state departments of education. Celeste brings twenty years of experience of leadership in the nonprofit sector. She is a facilitator, coach, and trainer specializing in supporting complex initiatives that improve outcomes for young people. Celeste has designed and implemented learning communities for funders in Oregon, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Celeste also provides technical assistance to hundreds of youth programs that serve students in the Pacific Northwest in the areas of Social Emotional Learning, Trauma Informed Practice, Youth Development, and continuous improvement.

Melissa has more than 15 years of experience conducting research and evaluation projects and has a doctorate in Human Development & Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. She specializes in consulting with organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate initiatives that focus on improving child, adolescent, and community health. Melissa currently is an Associate Professor in the Health Promotion Department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health. She also serves as Vice Chair and Graduate Program Director for the department, where she helps lead the departments’ Health Promotion and Maternal and Child Health academic programs.

Sheryl L. Carter (AKA Sheryl Carter Negash) is the daughter of Thomas (Factory Worker/Construction Worker who traveled north from the South during the second wave of the Great Migration), granddaughter of Frederick (Pullman Porter who died young because the local White hospital refused him treatment), great granddaughter of Floyd (a Barber who was enslaved during childhood). Sheryl is the principal consultant of the Carter Leadership Collaborative LLC. Her expertise includes devising and leading innovative skills enhancement, teambuilding, organizational development, change management, and cultural awareness/cultural competence initiatives. Her clients have included private foundations, public sector organizations, government agencies, K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions, private non-profit companies, faith-based entities and other companies. Before establishing the Carter Leadership Collaborative, Sheryl held executive management positions with Negash and Associates L.L.C., the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Lynwood Unified School District, and Los Angeles Unified School District. Sheryl has also held leadership positions with and served on numerous volunteer boards, including the Yale Black Alumni Association, YaleWomen, YaleLA, and the Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors. Sheryl holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a professional mediation certificate from the Straus School of Law at Pepperdine University.


Heidi Hrowal is the daughter of Franz and granddaughter of Katharina, German immigrants who fled post-WWII Europe. Katharina supported herself as a housekeeper (even working for a family of one of Heidi’s classmates) and Franz was trained as a machinist, and with the additional benefit of being white, they were able to achieve the American dream for their family. Heidi has over 30 years of experience in the public sector, primarily in human resources-related functions. Her last several years were as the manager of a department responsible for training and performance management for over 20,000 employees. She specializes in leadership, communication, and implicit bias training. She is currently an adjunct professor, teaching organizational behavior. Heidi is a major Collaborator with The Carter Leadership Collaborative. She joined Negash and Associates LLC in 2019 and has known and worked with Sheryl on a number of projects since 1984.

Nayeli is a senior consultant with 17 years of experience in community centered research and public sector evaluation. She is a dedicated thought partner with community-based programs, government agencies, and funders for social good. She has demonstrated experience in engaging authentically and openly with racially and culturally diverse communities. Nayeli uses innovative and creative techniques and collecting, analyzing, and communicating qualitative and quantitative data with stakeholders. She has lived experience as an undocumented community member and has a deep understanding of diversity, equity, and belonging. Nayeli has a strong commitment to honoring communities as the best researchers of our own challenges and solutions.