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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Sarah Goodman Thiel

Studio Associate

Sarah Goodwin Thiel is the Head of Community Engagement for University of Kansas Libraries and Coordinator of the Libraries Exhibition Program. She works collaboratively to foster an environment of engagement within the KU Libraries and to cultivate relationships with the wider community. 

Her interests include community engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, library exhibitions and Design Thinking. Thiel received the inaugural Anschutz/Budig Outstanding Librarian award in 2010 for her work with collaborative and interdisciplinary library exhibition development.

She holds a BA in Art from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and an MA in Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Thiel received training at the ALA-Harwood Public Innovators Lab in 2013

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Zach Holland

Project Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

Zach believes that social change occurs from within the community by one's desire to listen and learn how societies and individuals are connected by the similarities they share, also while celebrating the things that makes them unique and special. He is excited to support the staff of the Institute as the organization grows and develops to serve an extended range of partners nationally and abroad.

Zach joins the Institute with a background in national service and community outreach through AmeriCorps VISTA,  a federal program dedicated to addressing and fighting poverty around the nation. He has served in various roles focused on capacity building, communications, and organizational development with a nonprofit in Salt Lake City, UT as well as West Virginia. He received his B.A. in Cross-Cultural Sociology from Carson-Newman University, a community service-minded school.

An avid traveler and adventurer, Zach loves to explore new places and meet new people from different cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life. When not in the office, you'll find him hiking mountains, enjoying new foods, and going to local music venues.


Christine Kim

Studio Associate

Christine joins The Harwood Institute with a background in political philosophy, social change research, and sustainable farming.

To pursue her interest in place-based democratic principles, Christine started and managed a farm in the Napa Valley where she practiced shared leadership and collective agency. Farm work provided Christine with many important insights into equity, self-determination, and commitment, all of which continue to inform her approach to community changemaking. As a Harwood Studio Associate, Christine’s research focuses on how to engage and sustain individuals in collective civic efforts. She also works as a part-time research assistant for a value-driven research firm in Oakland, CA.

When she’s not working, Christine enjoys learning to make things with her hands, exploring the outdoors, and watching old movies.


Grady Lenkin

Special Assistant to the President & Founder

Grady supports The Harwood Institute’s mission through business development and network cultivation.

He is a graduate of Duke University where he majored in Public Policy and co-founded Peer for You, a student-based mental health resource for undergraduates. After college, Grady spent a year in Bangalore, India researching low income neighborhoods and slums. His efforts were part of a team that pioneered several techniques for identifying and classifying slum neighborhoods. Prior to The Harwood Institute, he also worked in the commercial real estate industry.

When not indulging in DC’s vast offering of museums, Grady spends his free time rock climbing, road biking, and hiking. 

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Cory Wilson

Interim Marketing Director

Cory has spent the last decade working with social innovators and entrepreneurs around the world, largely through storytelling and systems strategy. In addition to acting at Interim Marketing Director at The Harwood Institute, he is Director of The Collaborative – an award-winning creative team focused primarily on innovation; and formerly Board President of Townhomes on Capitol Hill – a mixed-income housing cooperative in Washington, DC.

These days, he's been pretty focused on supporting the Institute's rapid growth and a few of his other amazing clients.


Mike Wood

Executive Vice President

Mike Wood, executive vice president, provides executive oversight of The Harwood Institute's coaching and training initiatives, marketing and communications, finance and internal operations. He brings to the Institute deep experience in community and political organizing, organizational change, customer relationship management, fundraising and community engagement. Wood, a former Harwood staffer who returned in September 2013, is a well-respected leader in the social and civic change sector and has a strong track record of leveraging The Harwood Institute’s frameworks and approaches to drive large-scale change.

Most recently, Wood worked at United Way Worldwide, where he developed and led the execution of a network engagement strategy for the 1,200 local United Ways in the U.S. During his seven-year tenure, he also developed a strategy rooted in the Harwood approach to transform United Ways and supported organizational change efforts at United Ways in the U.S., Latin America, East Asia, Eastern Europe, India, Africa and Australia. Prior to joining United Way, Wood was a communications director and project associate for The Harwood Institute, an associate of the Kettering Foundation, a community organizer in the U.S. Appalachian Coal Country region, a Congressional staffer and a field representative on a U.S. Congressional race. He is an experienced writer for newspapers and magazines and has authored and co-authored a number of national reports.

Wood, a Harry S Truman Scholar, one of 20 annual members of USA Today’s Collegiate All-Academic First Team and Rhodes Scholar semi-finalist, holds two bachelor’s degrees from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.