What People Are Saying

What Partners Say

We value collaboration because we believe in the power of collective knowledge and action to dismantle systems of oppression and create our collective liberation. This means that we prefer to work in partnership with people rather than work alone, including both those who may be traditionally referred to as clients (we prefer the language “partner”), fellow consultants, and community members.

More than a year ago, we launched a learning/unlearning relationship with Dr. Rios to test and explore assumptions that underpin our learning and evaluation practice. Our hope was Dr Rios would help us to reflect and play with re-patterning dominant ways of working to be more equitable and aligned with our values. Time with Dr Rios has been honest, generative, pragmatic and joyous. Our conversations have ranged from getting direct feedback on key components of our work and working through decisions we faced, to digging into learning topics ranging from organizational transformation, to power analysis, to cultivating cultures of care. Without a doubt our time with Dr Rios is helping us better align who we want to be and what we actually do. We continue to iterate and adapt, and could not be more thankful to be on this journey with her.

Jessica Kiessel

Senior Director

Learning & Impact at Omidyar Network

During our two-year partnership, I came to truly admire Dr. Rios for her professional qualitative expertise, and for her passionate commitment to non-profit and public-sector missions. Our work together on a federal evaluation consulting project focused on the grassroots impact of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). As our evaluation lead, the outstanding interview protocols she created, the critical data analysis she conducted, and the superb report she authored were the very core and substance of the project. Dr. Rios gained the trust and respect of her CDC funder clients in the Prevention Evaluation Branch (who were strong task monitors every step of the way), and she gained the trust of the dozens of health department and community-based executives she interviewed to obtain their perspectives on NHAS. Having worked many years as a CDC contractor myself, and as a member of the HIV community, I can tell you that was no easy feat! In spite of the decades difference in our ages and experience, Dr. Rios was in every respect a peer. She taught me the phrase, “cultural humility.” I use it to this day in my presentations. I was humbled by how gentle she was in teaching me something so important and so transformative. I have worked with many evaluators and many evaluation firms over the years. If given the chance, I would be thrilled to engage or employ Dr. Aisha Rios. I urge you to do so.

Jesse Milan, Jr., JD

President & CEO

AIDS United

How can I sum up my thoughts about Dr. Aisha Rios? Professional, knowledgeable, passionate, data-driven, empathetic, detail-oriented, and easy to talk to and work with. I worked with Dr. Rios for 2 1/2 years across several government consulting evaluation projects. As a senior evaluation lead on my team, she was integral to the strategies and efforts in shaping and writing proposals, designing and implementing evaluation plans, collaborating with clients, conducting complex data analysis (complete with analytical memos), reporting and disseminating information and actionable recommendations, and mentoring junior level public health staff. Dr. Rios was often the go-to monitoring and evaluation resource for the team and the company. I had not had the pleasure of working with an anthropology-trained evaluation specialist before, and it is now my preference. The lens with which Dr. Rios views and executes her work incorporates a broad understanding of the many different aspects of the human experience. Dr. Rios’ style and methods have been adopted by several of our federal clients for their continued projects. I look forward to working with her again soon on more impactful projects. I encourage you to do the same!

Erika Copeland, PhD, MPH, MBA

Director, Corporate Strategy, Growth, and Operations

Williams Consulting, LLC

Working with Aisha Rios was a very rewarding experience. She assisted our team in evaluating complex national level HIV prevention initiatives and their impact on various public health organizations. She played an instrumental role in ensuring that evaluation project we were planning on, encompassed health equity aspects, and that key voices from the field were heard. As an anthropologist, she was very reflective during the field interviews and the data analysis process, which reflected in the success of the project. Our team is now using similar approach for other evaluation studies.

Ekaterine Shapatava

Health Scientist

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When Rise Above decided to take a hard look at its justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion practices and policies, it turned to Aisha and Kai. Together, they facilitated a process that simultaneously provided knowledgeable and thoughtful guidance while empowering Rise Above to choose the path that fit best with the organization’s mission and stakeholder interests. We would highly recommend both Aisha and Kai for any organization considering a similar journey and analysis.

Gina Tincher

Chair of the Board for Rise Above Colorado and Kent MacLennan

Executive Director for Rise Above Colorado

I had the pleasure of working with Aisha and receiving her insightful high quality evaluation reports for a critical two year project that helped design, strengthen and implement workflow strategies within our small but highly specialized mental health clinic for older adults and their caregivers. Aisha’s reflective, participatory and non-biased analytical expertise was a significant component of her evaluation process. It unequivocally aided our efforts in altering the standard of practice for delivering capacity assessments to vulnerable high risk seniors to be more aligned with the national standard, thus better serving local agencies and clients in need. Our work with Aisha helped to broaden our visibility and strengthen our multi-disciplined community partnerships with social service, legal service and other health care providers. Given this evaluator’s technical skills and interest in health equity and other social justice issues, I would not hesitate to enlist the services of Coactive Change.

Lori Rossi

Project Director

University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Aging Center

My experiences in working with Aisha in planning and executing a state-wide process evaluation for the Aging Mastery Program® have been wonderful. Aisha brings her expertise and insights to develop a thoughtful evaluation plan. The reports she prepares are crisp, clear, and useful. Also, Aisha’s professionalism and dedication to work is refreshing and truly inspiring. I’m happy to recommend the services of Coactive Change.

Hayoung Kye

Senior Program Manager, Project Management and Evaluation

Aging Mastery Program at the National Council on Aging

What Presentation/Panel Attendees Say

We contribute to the abolition of unjust systems and the co-creation of liberatory narratives, knowledge production, and practices, and through community engagement and leadership by speaking on and moderating panels, being a guest on podcasts, writing blogs, and speaking at conferences.

Dr. Rios was an invited speaker at the Eastern Evaluation Research Society annual conference. When attendees were asked to provide feedback on their conference experience, Dr. Rios and her presentation came up.

When asked what is one thing they would do differently based on what they learned at the conference, attendees said:

  • Per Dr. Rios’ presentation, I have been trying to reflect more critically on how the capitalist model of billable hours encourages workplaces to extract as much billable time from workers as possible and how that may not fully align with my own values and priorities.
  • Read more books on abolition to discover how that informs the equity incorporation i’m doing
  • Seek to apply Aisha Rios’ abolitionist practices via the following: 1. Reclaim your time & energy; 2. Trouble the status quo; 3. “Practice science fiction.”

When asked what they liked most about the conference, an attendee said Dr. Rios’ practicing abolition session.

When asked if they had suggestions for next year’s conference, an attendee recommended Dr. Rios’ session as a plenary.

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