Case Study: America Succeeds

Case Study: America Succeeds


America Succeeds

The Challenge

America Succeeds is a national nonprofit that engages business leaders to improve public education. With seven state-level chapters, America Succeeds is constantly working to improve its direct service to affiliates and to provide the resources they need to thrive.

Our Scope
  • Organizational Evaluation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Executive Coaching
  • Team Development, including Personality Assessment

America Succeeds established an enduring relationship with Insignia Partners, including year-over-year evaluation for the national organization. Based on those evaluation results, Insignia also provides executive coaching and strategic consultation on leadership and team development to state-level affiliates.

"We believe strongly in the growth and development of our team. That’s why we turn to Insignia Partners again and again."
Tim Taylor, President, America Succeeds

America Succeeds was founded in Colorado on the idea that our economy thrives when public schools work for all kids, and quickly grew to serve seven states. Like any membership organization, America Succeeds sometimes struggled to articulate its value proposition to affiliates. The nonprofit originally tapped Insignia Partners to conduct an organizational evaluation, led by Marisol Rodriguez, to assess its effectiveness as a national team as well as its direct service to affiliates.

“Like the business leaders we engage, we’re working to get better every week, every day,” says President Tim Taylor. “We need candid feedback from our state-level partners about how we can improve. And Marisol brings that information back to us in a way we can use.”

Armed with insights from the evaluation, Insignia facilitated a strategic process that helped America Succeeds refine the structure and capacity of its national team, hone its priorities, and provide more meaningful technical assistance and capacity-building support to its affiliates. As a result, America Succeeds clarified its value proposition and strengthened its relationships with members.

Today, America Succeeds trusts Insignia to continue that evaluation process each year, surfacing growth areas for affiliates and for the national organization. In addition to sharing the results with his Board and team members, Taylor engages Insignia Partners to respond to many of the needs affiliates identify.

Just one example of direct support following evaluation work began in North Carolina with affiliate organization BEST NC. Insignia Partners worked with CEO Brenda Berg to stabilize and strengthen her team after significant staff transitions. That work included executive coaching and team development, and specifically personality assessment, that helped ensure a new leader and new team could hit the ground running from day one.

Berg highlights the importance of discovering and sharing each person’s leadership and work styles. “As a team, we thought we knew each other,” Berg says. “Going through the process with Insignia made us realize we had a lot to learn about how best to work together.”

"Insignia Partners not only helped us understand each other, but gave us a language to work better together. I know it’s something we’ll be taking with us for a long time."
Brenda Berg, CEO, BEST NC

Based on those rave reviews, Taylor engaged Insignia Partners to lead similar personality-assessment work with the national team. “My style with my own team is pretty hands-off: I believe in finding talented people, and letting them do their job,” Taylor says. “Marisol fits with that culture very well… We turn to her repeatedly because she’s demonstrated such success.”

What our Clients Say

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"“I really enjoy working with the Insignia Partners team. Lisa and Marisol consistently produce high-quality work, and are a pleasure to work with. They know the education reform space, and therefore provide thoughtful guidance. I expect to work with them again and again."
Eric Paisner
Chief of Staff, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
"Insignia Partners did a masterful job leading our board through a strategic planning exercise. They balanced our need for flexibility with our desire to achieve ambitious goals in a short period. They expertly managed a diverse array of voices and opinions in a way that resulted in a clear set of strategies that will accelerate the impact of our organization."
Van Schoales
Chief Executive Officer, A+ Denver
"Insignia Partners helped identify and convene key stakeholders in our region and use their input to craft a program start-up plan. Their connections, expertise, and execution were vital to getting our program off to a great start."
Gregory Handel
Senior Director, Detroit Regional Chamber
"I feel like the time and energy put forth has already had a positive impact on the school and the task work hasn't even happened yet!"
Angela Romanowski
Principal, Trillium Academy
"Marisol and Lisa go above and beyond their call of duty. Their working style is such that we were not only confident in their strategic planning work, but we were even more confident in their dedication to the mission of MCSA and the sincere concern they showed for Mississippi’s unique political environment."
Erika Berry
Executive Director, Mississippi Charter Schools Association
"Insignia partners have been critical in supporting Bluum’s efforts in Idaho to manage our $17.1 million federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant. As one of the country’s first non-profit organizations to receive federal CSP funding the stakes for our work are very high, and our efforts to help open, expand and replicate public charter schools faces scrutiny. I sleep better at night because I know Insignia Partners have worked closely with us to build our processes, procedures and play book for managing the responsibility of directing and overseeing a significant federal grant. Their support and expertise have been critical to our efforts. I would highly recommend them to others working in the public charter school space. They are true pros."
Terry Ryan
CEO, Bluum
"We could not have been more pleased with our partnership with Insignia Partners. They were able to form relationships and analyze both data and people to help us, as funders, know which levers to pull and areas to invest. They make this work, which is difficult in nature, interesting, fun, and real. We look forward to partnering with them again and would recommend them to all."
Noah Devine
Director of Educational Investments, School Smart Kansas City
"Thank you again for what you did for AAE and how you did it. You were patient, confident, helpful, and supportive, but you also coaxed and lovingly nudged us through a comprehensive and involved process that on our own we wouldn’t have been able to do. It was a very pleasant experience and left us better suited to overcome the challenges and maximize the opportunities ahead."
Colin Sharkey
Executive Vice President, Association of American Educators
"Lisa did a fantastic job with our entire strategic planning team. Her process was beyond organized. As a new administrator, I was able to lean on Lisa for her expertise and her knowledge of strategic planning. She did everything from meeting organization, facilitated subgroups, focus groups, surveys, and staff culture surveys. Her work with the school board and the administrative team was respectful, while also filled with appropriate advice and constructive feedback. I could not imagine going through this process without Lisa. I am looking forward to our future and I believe that Lisa will continue to be a trusted resource for the years to come."
Jamie DeWitt
School Leader, NexTech High School
"Insignia Partners is the hottest strategy planning team in the country. And they’re damn funny too!"
Caroline Roemer Shirley
Executive Director, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools
"Our new organization needed the steady direction of Insignia to help turn our thoughts and ideas into a strategic plan. Lisa and Marisol guided us through the process, which allowed us to be true to our objectives as an organization. They were always available, and we are grateful for their guidance and professionalism."
Julie Collier
Founder and Executive Director, Parents Advocate League
"Lisa Diaz and Insignia-Partners provided invaluable support to Colorado Charter Facility Solutions during our start-up phase. As the new non-profit organization’s Executive Director (and only employee at the time), Lisa knew answers to questions that I did not know to ask. She made sure that the board of directors was set up correctly and that the organizational documents were in place. Lisa helped me establish the organization’s goals and ways to track progress toward meeting those goals. Lisa is organized, patient and kind, and worked quickly, thoroughly and collaboratively throughout the process. She is a good listener and sort of acted as an executive coach/therapist at times. When necessary, Lisa can be direct, but always focused on the goals of the organization and its success. I highly recommend Lisa Diaz and Insignia-Partners."
Jane Ellis
Executive Director, Colorado Charter Facility Solutions
"I just wanted to thank…Lisa and Marisol for their hard work on this! It turned out really great! I’m excited and looking forward to the excellence this will bring to Trillium as well as rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done! I feel like the time and energy put forth has already had a positive impact on the school and the task work hasn’t even happened yet!"
Angela Romanowski
Superintendent, Trillium Academy
"Please know that today's session for DEA's leadership team was one of the most productive we've had in a while. The level of discussion and engagement helped shape the thoughts, and hopefully, meaningful actions for immediate practice. You and Lisa kept the momentum going"
Sylvia Green
School Leaders, David Ellis Academy
"You were patient, confident, helpful, and supportive, but you also coaxed and lovingly nudged us through a process that on our own we wouldn’t have been able to do. It was a very pleasant experience and even though we still have a lot of challenges ahead of us, we are better suited to meet them as a result."
Colin Sharkey
Executive Vice President, Association of American Educators
"As a family owned and operated company, it became clear we needed to preserve our culture, and define our mission, vision, and values better as we grew. Insignia Partners helped capture a variety of diverse perspectives and hopes for the future in a way that was relatable to all involved. Insignia Partners helped us create a clear focus for our future that drives our strategy, stabilized our culture and coached our leadership to support implementation. "
Mark Smith
President, Krapohl Ford & Lincoln
"Marisol has been the facilitator, partner and coach I needed to move several challenging projects and situations forward. She doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear, but she always tells me what I NEED to hear."
Greg Richmond
President, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
"I have worked with Insignia Partners both at the individual and organizational level. As a coach, Lisa has a natural ability to get to the heart of the matter quickly and to ask questions that help her clients translate insight into action. Each of our team members who has worked with Lisa in a coaching capacity has demonstrated visible growth that has positively impacted individual and team performance. As an organization, we are trying to be much more purposeful about the culture we are creating to best fulfill our mission. Insignia Partners has been a tremendous thought partner along the way and has facilitated critical steps in the process in a way that is collaborative yet efficient (and fun!). Our team was in awe at how much we accomplished collectively in a short period of time. We are moving toward our ideal culture much more quickly than I would have thought possible and I have no doubt that it is because of Insignia Partners guidance in this work. "
Kasey Miller
Chief of Staff, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
"Insignia Partners responded to an RFP with thoughtful and detailed ideas. Once they were chosen for the project, we found them to be responsive, flexible, and timely. We were very pleased with their report and it has provided the backbone for our funding strategy. I look forward to working with Marisol and Lisa again in the future."
Elise Eplan
Facilitator, The Education Philanthropic Collaborative Fund
"I feel like you hit it out of the park with Insignia Partners. Those ladies were amazing. They brought out all of our best qualities."
Alicia Jenkins
Principal, Summit Academy North Middle School
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