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Hear what our clients have to say:

Active Voice Lab


“Between 2011-2013, John [Newsome] supported Active Voice with organizational planning and ongoing advice that ultimately has culminated in our exciting shift from film-based engagement campaigns to ‘big picture’ creative media strategy. As a seasoned management consultant and non-profit leader, John has walked the walk—and his energy and compassion were evident in every step we took together.”

– Ellen Schneider, Founder & Executive Director, Active Voice Lab

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute (Nebraska)

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“Working with John Newsome and Jean Cooper has been extremely helpful to us a start-up with great ideas, high expectations, and talented people. John led us through a theory of change process that brought us together as a staff, helped us articulate our goals, and enabled us to clarify and focus our energies. Wherever John went and with everyone he met, he communicated his knowledge, skill, and professionalism. He has been a wonderful facilitator and an equally valuable ambassador for all we do. My staff and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with him.”

–  Dr. Sam Meisels, Founding Executive Director

The Buffett Early Childhood Fund (Nebraska)

“We needed help thinking through key strategic issues associated with one of our major investments that was struggling to find its footing. Through our association with the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, we learned that they had been working with PEG and were very complementary of the their work and approach. We engaged PEG to help us evaluate the situation and provide recommendations for moving forward. We were impressed with John and the rest of the PEG team’s thoughtful and data informed approach to our problem as well as their understanding of our unique culture and work style. Our initial work expanded to include strategic advice on evaluating our entire grant portfolio, asking probing questions about our priorities as a funder and providing strategic suggestions regarding organizational effectiveness that have helped to propel us forward. We are big fans of PEG and hope to work together in the future.”

–  Eric Buchanan, Director, Strategic Partnerships

Canal Alliance

“To be successful… we needed a strategic partner with the right combination of experience and skills in organizational cultural change, impact and a clear commitment to equity and justice. We chose to work with PEG after interviewing several consultants. PEG demonstrated… all the technical skills and human qualities necessary to embrace an organizational transformation. PEG was a fundamental part of our process and their contributions were invaluable to our success in developing and articulating our long term vision and plans.”

– Omar Carrera, CEO

Children’s Council San Francisco

At Children’s Council we embarked on a journey to improve our services—offering more touch points to low-income, high-need families—and we needed some external capacity to develop a game plan for change on an ambitious timeline. PEG impressed us with their expertise, thoughtfulness and involvement in the process. Their time management skills are exceptional!.”

–  Jennifer Brooks, Chief Program Officer

Community Housing Partnership


“Public Equity Group helped us develop a thorough and thoughtful plan to fully implement our theory of change and refined mission. [The PEG team members] were excellent process leaders, project managers, and thought partners. They were invaluable in ensuring that we were able to both realize our commitment to an inclusive process while simultaneously reaching concrete decisions and a clear, actionable plan. Perhaps of equal value, our work with PEG served to build our internal capacity to manage change, a long-reaching benefit to CHP as we move into implementation of our ambitious commitment to help homeless families and individuals not only secure housing, but reach long-term self-sufficiency and a greater quality of life.”

– Gail Gilman, Executive Director, Community Housing Partnership (CHP)

Concourse Education

“Before we started Concourse Education, we needed to do a landscape analysis of the post-secondary education field. From my prior work with John Newsome at SummerSearch, I knew he would be the ideal partner. What we got was a crack PEG team that was thorough, timely, and more impactful on the shaping of our program than I could have imagined. I am extremely comfortable recommending PEG to others in the sector.”

– Ted Williams

Education Through Music

“Our leadership and Board were immediately impressed with PEG’s broad and deep knowledge, succinct and direct communication style, and pragmatic approach to planning. They tailored their analytical approach to our questions and capacity, and budgeted time and money efficiently towards helping us develop the answers we needed. We especially praise the lead consultants on our project, John Newsome and Warner Fite, for their acumen, integrity, enthusiasm, leadership, and outstanding project management skills. They were able to develop extremely strong rapport with Board and staff very quickly. They deftly managed the balancing act of becoming trusted extensions of our team while maintaining proper professional boundaries. The result was an efficient staff and board driven diagnostic and planning effort that boosted morale and cohesion in and of itself.”

– Katherine Damkohler, Executive Director

Espacios Abiertos (Puerto Rico)

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“John Newsome’s work during our 9-month strategic plan process was extraordinary.  He had to craft the strategic plan for a new NGO that does collaborative work with other non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico.  He was able to understand the complex environment we are working in, learn about our partner organizations and reconcile differing visions to help us craft a plan that honored the mission of the organization while re-focusing our objectives and fine-tuning our strategies.  His commitment to the work was above and beyond what we expected—which is a clear testament to his professional abilities and his commitment to help organizations have a real impact on the social justice issues he cares deeply about…”

– Nuria Ortiz, Executive Director, Espacios Abiertos

First And Always Melanin (FAAM)

“PEG helped us develop our first strategic plan; this process allowed us to develop a more cohesive vision for FAAM while aligning it with the needs of our community. They offered consultation and did the work and research necessary to understand the unique experience of our city [enabling] them to be effective allies that advocated not only for the advancement of FAAM but for the advancement of our community through FAAM programming. We are grateful for their hard work and guidance.”

– Faheemah Salahud-Din

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)


“With extraordinary guidance from the Public Equity Group, GSA Network engaged in a participatory, rigorous and data-driven strategic planning process in order to detail the Safe & Healthy LGBT Youth Project’s five-year goals, programmatic priorities and sustainability plan. The strategic planning processes, plans and deliverables that John [Collins] and John [Newsome] provided us with were truly valuable and will allow us to positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of youth while also strengthening our internal operations. The team at the Public Equity Group was knowledgeable, went above and beyond expectations and became like family to our staff during their time with us. It was truly a pleasure and we hope other colleagues will utilize their terrific services.”

– Dave Renyolds, Project Director, Safe and Healthy LGBT Youth Project

GLIDE Memorial Church & Foundation


“The team at Public Equity Group (PEG) helped GLIDE create a new strategic framework to integrate the Church and Foundation visions.  [John Newsome, Rita Louh, and Tom Pyun] facilitated a process that was inclusive, broad, and expansive, yet focused enough for us to implement.  What made the work so effective was that the PEG team took the time to understand our culture – what makes us tick – and used that understanding to help create a plan that was consistent with who we are, what we are good at, and who we serve.  We highly recommend PEG for your strategic planning work.”

– Karen Oliveto, Senior Pastor; Rita Shimmin, Co-Executive Director; Kristen Growney Yamamoto, Co-Executive Director

Global Business Coalition on Health (Formerly Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria)


“Since starting on a consulting basis with GBC, John [Newsome] has done a wonderful job developing the strategy and laying the foundation for one of our most important initiatives. … Working with leaders at the national and local levels, from the White House to Capitol Hill, and from the CDC to the Mayor’s office in Oakland and beyond, John and his team led a core group of GBC member companies who stepped up to launch an impressive array of efforts that bring business sensibilities and assets to the fight against AIDS. … The program’s success has received wide media coverage, including by the Washington Post and the Economist.”

– Dr. John Tedstrom, PhD, President & CEO, Global Business Coalition

Greater Milwaukee Foundation

“The PEG team has a remarkable talent for articulating ideas with a clarity and focus that welcomes people into the conversation and drives the debate toward tangible solutions. Following an intensive
two-year learning journey with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Board and staff to explore how the Foundation could further advance racial equity and inclusion in our region, we sought guidance from
PEG on operationalizing our generational commitment to equity.
Using an approach that was thorough and well-defined without being prescriptive, John Newsome,
Stacey Smith, and their team engaged staff, Board and stakeholders in a process of discovery that built
ownership and understanding, leading to strategy development. The PEG team helped the Foundation
develop a deeper understanding and capacity to analyze data and community research, as well as our
own knowledge of the community, to set strategy for population-level change. They didn’t construct our
framework; rather, they fostered our competency to develop a framework we could embrace and
sustain. John and Stacey are both skilled facilitators of organizational change efforts of significant
breadth and magnitude. Equally important, they are wonderful to work with, offering guidance,
encouragement and insight along the way.”

– Ellen Gilligan, President and CEO, Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Jewish Vocational Service

“PEG helped JVS develop a strategic plan that capitalized on our organizational strengths, the research about best practices in workforce development, and our experience getting job seekers toward economic self-sufficiency. John’s [Newsome] skills are many; we most appreciated how he helped us think clearly about our approach and impact and how he facilitated many rich discussions throughout the process. He is equal parts dedication, brilliance and compassion. JVS’s Board of Directors and staff are fully invested in executing this ambitious and exciting plan, and we have John and PEG to thank.”

– Abby Snay, Executive Director

Larkin Street Youth Services

John Newsome was a game changer for Larkin Street. His leadership of our strategic planning process moved the agency forward in significant ways that will forever impact our work. He helped us through a very difficult process, and he did it with grace, humor, and intelligence. He connected authentically with our staff, board, and agency leadership, ensuring that we came out of the process stronger and with a unified vision. He and his team were diligent and met ambitious deliverables; on a personal level, he was an amazing coach and mentor. I am grateful to John for his guidance and support, and for the foundation he built for Larkin Street’s bright future.”

– Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director, Larkin Street Youth Services

Leadership Enterprise for African Development (LEAD)


“The Public Equity Group consistently provided invaluable strategic advice and produced exceptional project-related materials, contributing critical counsel & rigorous research to our core team of advisors throughout key stages of our organizational development process.”

– M. Kamari Clarke, Founding member, Leadership Enterprise for African Development Initiative; Chair, Yale University Council on African Studies

Memphis Music Inititiative

“PEG worked with one of our partner organizations to build a youth development framework that sought to promote high-quality programming across a city-wide system. As a funder and capacity-builder within Memphis, we are grateful for the persistence and diligence that the PEG team modeled. We also are grateful for the level of transparency and vulnerability that they demonstrated while working with our partners and our internal staff team. Making space for us, as a funder, to be present during a pivotal reflection and assessment meeting, for example, exemplifies the level of candidness that PEG embodies and one which we admire and applaud. John Newsome’s and Jean Cooper’s leadership served as a powerful reminder that although meaningful change management can be a rigorous and unpredictable process, creative and collaborative responsiveness are effective tools through which to navigate the challenge.”

– Grants and Capacity Building Team (Memphis Music Initiative (MMI))

The Mitchell Kapor Foundation

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“John [Newsome] uncovered germane data, and consistently provided high-quality and high-level information, enabling [the Foundation] to lead our trustees through discussions about our direction.”

– Cedric Brown, CEO, The Mitchell Kapor Foundation (recipient of the 2010 Association of Black Foundation Executives Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award)


“PEG completely redefined my expectations and… expanded them… The first thing PEG did… was help make visible the critical connection between vision, mission, and organizational infrastructure… PEG’s great strength is… their approach to organizational development…It’s right sized, staged, [and] accessible. Their stellar strength is not to deliver the report at the end; the strength and commitment is actually to stand up the organization in a new way.”

“[PEG’s] work style is just extremely collaborative and co-creative, really responsive to input, priorities, anxieties, and deep commitments. It’s really easy to trust PEG and to put your process in PEG’s hands and feel well supported.”

– Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director

Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative

“John was a confidential sounding board. He provided me with a safe space for exploration, a space where I could think through different ideas and concepts related to the organization. John provided me with very specific metrics that helped me manage the transition period and get the organization ready to bring on a new executive director. It was nice to have a third party who was connected enough to know what was going on, but not so engaged that they might color future relationships. There were times where I thought I’d come up against an area of concern, and he would help me understand that it was a symptom of culture, either regional or organizational. To me, this is the closest I’ve ever had to an external coach, which was another really positive opportunity. I’ve been doing nonprofit work for a long time, and he made it really valuable, even for me. John is absolutely trustworthy, knowledgeable, professional, and operates with a high level of integrity. John gets to know the organizations he’s working with deeply and isn’t afraid to be provocative – he encouraged me to explore and question my thinking in different directions all the time.”

–  Kathy Bell, Interim Executive Director

New American Leaders

We worked with PEG over a period of eight months, during which we benefited from their strategic thinking and practical approaches. The team is a great combination of tactical and big-picture, and adapted quickly to our changing needs… Working with them helped us to determine how to address small but time-consuming practices, as well as larger questions about growth and expansion with applications throughout the entire organization’s departments and programs… Warner and John are excellent listeners and balance being understanding about [an] organization’s challenges with being clear and firm about their recommendations for improvement… We whole-heartedly recommend PEG, especially to other [organizations] looking at strategic expansion.” 

– Sayu Bhojwani, Founder and President

New Profit (Boston)

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“PEG did an outstanding job helping New Profit gather and make sense of important feedback from our portfolio organizations.  PEG customized the tools and processes for our needs, and was incredibly responsive to adjustments as the work progressed.  Their analysis and synthesis gave us the data we needed to make improvements to our investment and support processes, as well as our communications and feedback channels.”

–  Bob Searle, Managing Partner

New York City Leadership Academy

“John’s [Newsome] support as a strategic thought partner to our senior team was an important contribution to our organizational planning efforts.  He effectively kept our senior team on track in terms of focusing on and addressing the right strategic issues, but at the same time remained flexible and responsive to what our team was grappling with at any given moment.  His voice in our strategy conversations was a critical addition and helped move us to resolutions efficiently and effectively.”

– Courtney Welsh, Past Chief Operating Officer, NYCLA

Nurse-Family Partnership (California)

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“The PEG team was a vital resource in developing our Bay Area strategic plan.  The level of thoughtfulness and commitment to our work was impressive and reassuring.  They really helped to broaden our perspectives and think outside the box. Thank you!”

–  Chris Krawczyk, State Director, and Maria Camargo, Business Development Manager

Peer Health Exchange

Peer Health Exchange

“John Newsome and PEG are a valuable resource to growing organizations, including helping them think about growth and impact and their relationship to each other. John helped us revise growth scenarios for an era focused on deepening impact on every teen we serve and brought clarity, openness, and collaboration to a critical series of conversations on our team. Our team loved working with him—he found a way to enroll as he worked with a diverse group of leaders—a hard but very important task!”

– Louise Langheier, CEO and Co-Founder, Peer Health Exchange

The Peter Kiewit Foundation

Peter Kiewit Foundation

“We engaged PEG to help us develop our foundation’s first strategic plan. They did an excellent job of gathering the data, asking the right questions, and guiding the process.  But what really distinguished their work was how apparent it was to our team, to our board, and to our community how invested they were in our success and how passionate they were in making sure our work would lead to real impact.  I also benefited tremendously from John Newsome’s coaching.  We emerged with a strong plan that aligned our board and staff and that we are now ‘living our way into.  Thanks PEG!”

– Jeff Kutash, Executive Director, The Peter Kiewit Foundation


“As PolicyLink approaches its 20th year at this peak moment for the equity movement, we needed a rigorous, strategic, and honest assessment of how the organization could maximize its value. We needed a firm with an equity DNA, respected leadership, and the ability to interpret a highly nuanced and rapid changing ecosystem. Public Equity Group exceeded our expectations across the board. Thanks to the team’s thorough landscape review and intuitive analysis, PolicyLink is prepared to enter its third decade stronger than ever.”

– Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO

San Francisco AIDS Foundation


“The Public Equity Group helped us to ask and answer the right strategic questions to address the problem of high HIV incidence among young Black gay men in San Francisco. Their thorough literature review of best practices, synthesis of extant data, and interviews with national leaders in the field were instrumental in the creation of a detailed, deeply informed, and readily implementable program design.  That they did so with incisive professionalism, humor, and compassion for the human subjects was icing on the cake.”

– Kyriell Noon, Director of Prevention Services, San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Stanford Graduate School of Business


John [Newsome] developed a valuable workshop for MBA students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business focused on communicating in high stakes, high pressure situations. Students appreciated John’s strategic insights and authentic teaching style, and immediately gained a set of tools to help them navigate difficult conversations in a wide range of business situations. Working with John I found him to be professional, creative, and enthusiastic. He was committed to the success of the session and to continual improvement for future iterations. John’s a joy to watch in front of the room and a pro to work with behind the scenes.”

– JD Schramm, EdD, Director, Mastery in Communication Initiative

Summer Search


“John Newsome’s support was invaluable to creating a clear, ambitious five-year strategy for our $15M youth development organization to nearly double in size. John helped guide planning at our national level and across multiple sites, bringing data and exceptional facilitation to bear, that allowed us to wrestle with and make several tough strategic decisions. Moreover, he and his team partnered seamlessly with us post strategy launch to execute initiatives to define governance and decision-making across our multi-site, multi-board network, and to identify programmatic innovation pilots. What John brings to the table is a whole package unlike anyone else I’ve worked with: a strategic mind, analytical chops, and exceptional people skills that I believe stem from his passion for social justice and natural empathy for others.”

– Amy Saxton, CEO, Summer Search (national)

Tipping Point Community


PEG helped us develop our partnership strategy, a plan that allows us to connect the best of the business sector to our portfolio of the 40 most effective poverty-fighting nonprofits in the Bay Area. John Collins and John Newsome are sharp, diligent collaborators who bring a mix of big picture thinking and a real understanding of on-the-ground challenges. They continue to provide invaluable support and guidance to our team as we use the strategy to better serve the 1.3 million people who struggle to meet their basic needs in our community.”

– Daniel Lurie, Founder + CEO, Tipping Point Community

Transgender Law Center


“TLC completed our first formal strategic planning process last year. … This process helped TLC determine that we need to proactively focus on two core areas—economic justice (including employment and access to social services) and health coverage and access.  While TLC will continue to prioritize [other areas], these decisions are meant to ensure that our work effectively supports institutional changes that will positively impact all members of our community, including the most vulnerable.”

– Masen Davis, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center, in the 2009 Annual Report overview