Julia Perkins is a masterful facilitator who combines great insight, humor, and organizational skills to help move organizational conversations and planning in the right direction. For the past two years, Mikva Challenge has hired Julia to help plan and facilitate our board retreats. Despite the complexity of our goals and ambitions for these retreats (and limited time), Julia is never deterred. She has confidently guided us through the pre-planning and agenda building for these sessions, and she has very skillfully guided the conversations during the retreat and pre-retreat planning through her deft facilitation. Our board has lots of different (and wonderful) personalities and working styles, and Julia is able to get the most out of everyone in the room and make everyone feel included in the dialogue and decision making. I hope to work with Julia on many more projects in the future. She has been a huge asset to our organization.
Vivian G. Harsh Society, a community-based 501c3 organization that raises funds to support, promote and provide access to the Vivian Harsh Collection, owned by the Chicago Public Library. This consulting company was hired, because of its principal’s reputation in the arts community. The consultant with whom we worked was characterized as one who “drives” an organization to pursue excellence. Accountability based on the organization clarity of mission and vision is at the forefront of her collaborative consulting style. The company provided follow up support to ensure that the organization understood how to achieved the agreed upon goals. Our projects included a final report with clear visuals that laid out timelines and measureable outcomes.
The Association of American Cultures (TAAC) worked with Julia Perkins three times over a period of years on strategic planning initiatives. Ms. Perkins grasped our mission of cultural equity and effectively addressed our needs as a largely volunteer lead organization. As very busy board members all with managerial “day jobs,” we appreciated Julia’s tactful ability to keep us on task and mindful of our time constraints. The Board of Directors was extremely satisfied with Ms. Perkins work and is happy to recommend her to others.
The Guild Literary Complex worked with MBMD Strategic Consultants in 2009 to develop a strategic plan and transition plan for its Executive Director (E.D.) position. The result was a comprehensive, ambitious, but action-able guide for the Guild’s operations and programming for the next three years, and a roadmap for the new E.D. When the Guild was ready to update its marketing strategy with a grant from the Arts Work Fund in 2011, it sought out MBMD again. We were confident that Julia Perkins could offer continuity from the strategic plan to the new project, expanding on the plan’s marketing goals using her thorough understanding of the Guild as an organization.
When the Community Steering Committee of the Southside Arts & Humanities Network began planning the Board Leadership Certificate Program, I asked the question to all of the members, “Who might be a good consultant to work with our member organizations as they prepare to bring on a new board member?” Each member of the committee began to rave about Julia Perkins at MBMD. After hearing five or six testimonials about her strengths, knowledge and expertise in the field, I was confident that she was the perfect consultant for the project! Our committee was right, she is a fantastic choice!
Julia Perkins is a fantastic consultant; she is smart, organized, efficient and effective. She is well respected in the cultural sector and her knowledge and experience of what makes a good board match helped us launch a successful Board Leadership Certificate program. I highly recommend Julia Perkins and look forward to working with her again.
Black Metropolis Research Consortium of the University of Chicago: After looking at a number of consultants, Julia Perkins of MBMD Strategic Consultants quickly emerged as a leader in facilitating among her peer group. She is a nationally recognized authority in the area of non-profit organization consulting. She is very pragmatic and utilizes proven applied research in the area of group facilitation. . Ms. Perkins is known for guiding groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential, while working with her over the past five years, she has lived up to and beyond her reputation. Ms. Perkins excellent communication and leadership skills transformed a stagnant and sometimes difficult Board of Directors into a highly functional team who accomplished a tremendous amount of quality work within a relatively short time.
Julia Perkins came highly recommended (from both public and private sources) to Revere Properties as a facilitator / community consultant for the Bronzeville Artist Lofts (BAL), an artist live-work space project currently under development. She proved to be a seasoned professional who is extremely thoughtful and thorough in her work.
Julia facilitated both community stakeholder charrettes, and charrettes to introduce the project to artists City-wide. Her facilitation style was amazing.. Julia used a variety of participatory techniques that stimulated the artists and stakeholders engagement during the charettees. She displayed keen listening ability which enabled her to synthesize the groups’ feedback. Also, she understood the different learning styles of individuals within the groups, which was evident in her facilitation style. Lastly, she was extremely inclusive in the process which was demonstrated not only by her facilitation, but by the post-charrette comments offered by the group.
As an organization, the South Side Community Art Center was in the midst of an institutional cultural change process that was necessitated by shifts in funding and audiences. Julia Perkins’ well known reputation as an effective consultant to arts organizations is the reason the board of directors engaged her services. We benefited from her ability to quickly identify and build on the strengths of the organization while guiding the leaders in the process of addressing challenges, threats and risks. A realistic work plan with well delineated timelines and responsibilities is a significant measureable outcome of her work with us.