Team Member Spotlight: Dr. Kelly Hannum

Luminare Group is all about inspiring connections. How did you get connected with the team?

I met Jara at a Leadership Learning Community event a long time ago, and we’d run into each other at various evaluation events. When the opportunity came to work with Jara on an evaluation team, I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back. 

As someone who works on Evaluation and Capacity Building for Luminare Group, what “ah-ha” moments do you help people have? 

I help groups of people figure out what they are doing, why they are doing it and what difference they want to (and do) make. It sounds easy enough - but more often than not those three things are not aligned. For me the “value” in evaluation is both about understanding and measuring the value created as well as being clear about the values by which work is done. 

Luminare Group is unrelenting in its pursuit of an equitable and just world. What drives you to do this work? What is the special something you bring to Luminare Group? 

I refuse to believe that the majority of people want a world riddled with inequity and injustice, but we continue to propel both in subtle and not so subtle ways. While that harms some more than others, it harms all of us. I doubt we’ll see a big shift in that anytime soon, but I feel better working on the side of equity and justice. The terms get used a lot, but what “equitable” and “just” mean and what strategies people believe will bring them about are incredibly varied - and that’s where evaluation comes in. Evaluation helps people makes sense of what they believe and are doing by clarifying assumptions and theories and gathering data. I love how challenging the work is - both in terms of figuring out the methodological challenges as well as the personal challenge of rethinking assumptions and perspectives. 

Bright Ideas: What tip would you give to someone who is interested in learning more about your work? 

One place to learn more about my work is via my website or my LinkedIn Profile. Another is to read the book Evaluating the Impact of Leadership Development or the forthcoming book chapter I wrote with Holly Downs titled Evaluating Diversity Programmes that will appear in the book Research Methods on Diversity Management, Equality and Inclusion at Work.  If you are a member of the American Evaluation Association, then I’d love to connect at the annual conference. 

Get Lit: What are you reading right now?

I’m reading as much as I can about how to reflect values in evaluation. I like the increasing focus on defining and measuring impact (AKA the value produced), but I worry about approaches that neglect the hard conversations about who defines what ‘value’ looks like and who determines how value is measured, interpreted and how that information is used. Answering those questions, among others, helps move us towards determining the values by which we are doing our work. There’s a lot happening in the field of evaluation and there is more and more nuance, which is exciting and overwhelming at times. 

Lighten Up: What’s been the funniest moment you’ve experienced as part of Luminare Group? 

A few members of the group were meeting at a hotel lounge; for some of us it was our first time meeting face-to-face. A member of our party ended up getting trapped in the restroom because of a broken lock. It took awhile, but maintenance was able to free her. We were invited to witness a sabrage, and we all received a glass of champagne on the house. We laughed at the situation and some of us felt validated that taking our phones in the bathroom was, in fact, a safety issue. We’re clearly a team that can roll with it and look for the humor in every moment. 

How can people get in touch with you? 

When you are not working, what can people most likely find you doing? 

Watching Columbo, going on a walk with my family or cooking.