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Rich Harwood

President & Founder, The Harwood Institute
Author, Speaker, Coach

Rich Harwood teaches and inspires people to solve our pressing problems and change how communities work together. The Institute’s impact is a result of his decades-long effort to develop a toolset for empowering self-guided community change and increasing civic engagement. His work is actively used across the globe and has helped transform communities here in the United States.

t: @RichHarwood 
f: Rich Harwood



Habiba Belguedj

Project Coordinator

Habiba Belguedj recently joined The Harwood Institute as a Project Coordinator following her most recent position as an Executive Program Assistant at The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading where she worked for two years. In her professional career, she has worked in administration, customer service, child development, education, the non-profit and social sector. She holds a master’s degree in Psychoanalysis from Paris 8: The University of Vincennes-Saint Denis and a master’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Paris with a focus on social integration for child refugees. 

At the American University of Paris, Habiba co-founded Baytna à Vous (BVSyria), translated as “Our Home for You,” a student-led initiative to help the transition of refugees, primarily Syrian, as Europe became their new home. She and her colleagues took it upon themselves to collaborate in this humanitarian duty. Of particular note, Habiba created a “Workshop Program” to help the Syrian children overcome the effects of trauma faced in their war-torn country. The program offered an informal setting where the Syrian children could participate in interventional activities that would help them overcome social-emotional challenges as well as build resilience. Drawing upon her experience and research in building these programs, Habiba focused her master’s thesis on this topic, “No Lost Generation: The Psychosocial Intervention and its Impact on Syrian Refugee Children, with a focus on Social Integration, Resiliency, and Social Ecology.” 

Over the years, Habiba has accumulated valuable experience in working directly with people in diverse communities, in academic as well as professional settings. As a complement to the many skills she has acquired, she is now responsible for tracking and guiding the execution of work across multiple projects at The Harwood Institute. She will also serve as a key liaison for staff and partners. Habiba's true passion is learning about other cultures through traveling, language, dancing, and trying different cuisines. Born in Algeria, her favorite culture is her own and she visits every chance she gets. In her spare time, you'll find her babysitting or binge-watching Turkish soap operas.

Phone: 301-656-3669, ext. 1002


Colleen Bowman

Director of Network Engagement

Colleen joins The Harwood Institute after serving as the Northeast Regional Outreach Director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.  In this role, Colleen expanded and strengthened the the USGLC's network of businesses, political, civic, faith-based, academic, and military leaders.  She also advocated to protect U.S. development and diplomacy programs.  Prior to joining the USGLC, Colleen worked as the Manager of Field Operations at the Business-Industry Political Action Committee where she built and fostered strategic relationships with leading state business organizations and supported their advocacy efforts. 

Colleen also worked as a legislative intern in the Capitol Hill office of then-Senator John Kerry and in the district office of former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul. A proud native of Buffalo, N.Y., Colleen graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in Political Science.

Phone: 301-656-3669, ext. 1004

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Damien Conners

Vice President, Promise and Impact

Damien is a passionate advocate and thought-leader committed to strengthening communities and building a fairer, more equitable society. He is a former executive director and COO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., where, among other issues, he focused on matters of scale across the organization's national network. At the local level, he served as executive director of an education equity effort which sought to engage and empower parents, youth, and residents to improve Bridgeport, Connecticut, public schools through campaigns, advocacy and diverse forms of direct actions. Damien has a strong understanding of how change unfolds in communities and what it takes to deliver programs, services and supports in a way that delivers results and allows for scaling. 

In 2013, Damien was honored with the Emancipation of Capital Award for his strategic and programmatic work around building coalitions to address socio-economic inequity in the United States. Damien's civil rights and intellectual commitments have guided his leadership of, and participation in, change efforts at the intersection of education, politics, gender equity, race and religion. For nearly five years, Damien served as a teaching associate and instructor at Emory University where he led courses in African American Studies, Religion and Theology.

Damien is a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minored in Africana Studies and Music. He earned a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving a Certificate in Women’s Studies and a Certificate in Black Church. Damien earned a Master of Theology from Emory University in 2010 -- where his work focused on womanist politics and religious expression. In 2014, Damien received a Certificate in Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Reconciliation from the University of Rhode Island, Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. 

Phone: 301-656-3669, ext. 1005


Paige DeLoach

Digital Engagement Specialist

Paige supports The Harwood Institute’s Network Engagement team by providing expertise on the organization’s digital communication platforms. She commands the Institute’s social media platforms while also helping guide the framing and narrative of Rich Harwood and The Harwood Institute.

Paige is a graduate of Cornell University, where she majored in Linguistics and completed minors in Law & Society, Inequality Studies, and Policy Analysis & Management. She played on the Women’s Varsity Soccer team at Cornell and was a member of several student athlete leadership organizations on campus. She comes to The Harwood Institute having worked for several local non-profit organizations based around economic equity and housing rights.

Paige is a Maryland native and enjoys reading, movies, and live music. 

Phone: 301-656-3669, ext. 1010

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Casey Hayes-Deats

Studio Associate, Fall 2018

Casey Hayes-Deats is an administrator, facilitator, and theater-maker whose driving interests include nurturing individuals, strengthening communities, and fostering connections across difference. Originally from southern West Virginia, she lived in New York City for over a decade before relocating to D.C.  She has supported the experience of constituencies of artists, audiences, and families at organizations rooted in their communities, including the Contemporary American Theater Festival and the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Her artistic work includes producing the New York Premiere of Pains of Youth by Ferdinand Bruckner; developing a process for devising and performing original theater in collaboration with seniors with dementia; performing alongside incarcerated men; and assisting with professional development workshops and a community play with a cast of 90 in Kigali, Rwanda.

She holds a BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, an MA in applied theater from the City University of New York, and is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting's conservatory. 


Miranda Klugesherz

Special Assistant to the President & Founder

Miranda possesses a diverse background in public engagement and community development. She is committed to helping communities find common ground and enduring policy and programming solutions to issues of marginality and socioeconomic disenfranchisement. She is a former co-founder and director of communications at Live Well Geary County, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating the health and social detriments of rural poverty. In 2016. she was appointed by the City Commission of Junction City, Kansas to chair the Junction City Food Policy Council. In this role, she helped the city examine opportunities to make the food system more accessible to all citizens.

A 2018 Mitchell Scholar, Miranda joins The Harwood Institute after a year in Ireland studying international community-based responses to hunger and food insecurity. Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Miranda graduated from Hastings College (Hastings, Nebraska) in 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology and Communication Studies. While at Hastings, she competed for the college’s nationally-ranked speech and debate team and served as Director of Food4Thought - a nonprofit providing weekend meals to local low-income families of elementary students. Miranda then pursued an M.A. in Communication Studies and a graduate certificate in Dialogue,
Deliberation, and Public Engagement at Kansas State University while working as a public speaking instructor and research assistant for Kansas State’s Center for Engagement and Community Development. She will graduate with an MS in Social Policy from the University College Cork (Cork, Ireland) in October 2018.

In her spare time, you can find Miranda boxing or running, participating in community theater productions, or binge-watching Parks and Recreation.

Phone: 301-656-3669, ext. 1006

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Mel Stubbins

Studio Associate, Fall 2018

Mel Stubbins is a Studio Associate at The Harwood Institute where she works to advance new ideas for strengthening communities and society.  Prior to her role at The Harwood Institute, she was the Content Strategy Specialist at the American Press Institute (API).  At API she drove change in newsrooms around the country by helping them listen more deeply to their communities through data and audience research. Prior to API she worked in the social sector as a development officer, editor, and communications specialist.  Still a working journalist, Mel's work has been published in The Washington Monthly and The Atlantic, among others. She's also contributed to investigations for both the Investigative Reporting Workshop and The Washington Post.  She holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MA in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University. 

Throughout her career, Mel's been a fierce advocate for urban entrepreneurship and has lent her writing and business skills to local startups and nonprofits. Outside of the Harwood Institute, Mel is the Community Manager at The Broad, a modern community space for women based in Richmond, VA. She is active in numerous civic organizations and in her spare time enjoys traveling, speculative fiction, and Afternoon Tea any time of the day.