MPS Assists Local Nonprofit

Posted in Pro Bono Program on March 27, 2017

pearls-logoM Powered Strategies recently finished a pro bono engagement with The P.E.A.R.L.S. Inc. (Purposefully Empowering and Reaching Little Sisters), a nonprofit based at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which serves girls in grades 3 through 6. In existence since 2011, P.E.A.R.L.S. was experiencing some common nonprofit growing pains, so they came to MPS for help.

Arezu Hadjialiloo, Mariana Enriquez, and Karli Kloss of MPS all share a passion for empowering young women. “I wanted to work on this project because I was very excited about their mission,” said Arezu Hadjialiloo, the team’s Project Lead. “They perform work that I am passionate about, and as a former teacher it was wonderful to reconnect with educators and see the great work they do on the ground.”

The MPS team provided strategic communications, graphic design, and messaging support for P.E.A.R.L.S. According to MPS Communications Manager Karli Kloss, “The project was just plain fun. I was able to play around with some graphic design and branding work that I don’t usually do with my government clients. We provided ready-to-use communications tools for an organization in need, with a fantastic mission that I was proud to support.”

Over the course of three months, our consultants performed stakeholder interviews, created a stakeholder register, and redrafted the organization’s vision, mission, and long-term goals. This all rolled into a strategic communications plan that will help P.E.A.R.L.S. communicate effectively and consistently with its audiences as it continues to grow and expand.

“This project reminded me how under-resourced most nonprofits are,” Arezu added. “The will is there, the drive to achieve their mission is there, but the resources aren’t. Our deliverables might not seem like a lot, but hopefully we have given them just a little edge, for reaching out to donors and volunteers and other nonprofits.”

Being in service to others is a founding principle of MPS, and our staffers put substantial time and energy into pro bono projects for nonprofits. If you are interested in learning more about MPS Assists, contact our Community Engagement Manager, Kat McDonald, at

MPS Fosters Project Management Professionals

Posted in Professional Development / Project Management on March 24, 2017

PMPMPS is proud to announce the recent certification of four new Project Management Professionals (PMPs): Brian Wenzler, Lee Levy, Ashley Rezai and Allison Primack. That makes twelve PMPs at MPS, and more to come. At MPS, we actively encourage our consultants to avail themselves of the tools of Project Management and to master the rigorous skills and knowledge areas required to attain PMP certification.

Kendall Lott, President of M Powered Strategies, has been a PMP for over a decade. He was President of the Washington DC Project Management Institute (PMIWDC) in 2015, where he was recognized for excellence in leadership for a large chapter.  He also teaches a series of Project Management classes for the MPS Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence (PACE) program, and hosts monthly audio podcasts, “PM Point of View”, which are available for download on iTunes. According to Kendall, “The PMBOK [Project Management Book of Knowledge] offers hardcore practical tools and systems for real life consultants. But it’s not set in stone; it’s updated on a yearly basis. And swirling around that is a cadre of thinkers and professionals, writing books and blogs, delving deeply into the key areas of Project Management – Risk, Stakeholder Management, Scope, etc. They keep coming up with fascinating and radical new approaches. That’s the stuff I enjoy hashing out in my podcasts.”

Lee, who has always had an interest in project management, learned about Project Management shortly after coming into the company as a PACE apprentice. “I asked about it during my coaching sessions and asked other colleagues about their experience with the PMP. That sparked my interest …” One thing she likes about Project Management is that, besides the tools, “it provides a common language across the consulting sphere with colleagues and clients.”

According to Brian, “Project Management principles help me break down broad, ambitious initiatives that clients talk about into discrete milestones and objectives. This is key in translating ideas into action and eventually results.”

Allison is appreciative of MPS’ support. “I think it is great that MPS encourages us as professionals to engage in PMI/project management, since it is something that is relevant to any professional career, not just consulting.”

Kendall is proud of his staff’s push to certification, “Project Management is how we drive change, it’s an act of transformation and so it’s in the very DNA of MPS. We are happy that our team sees the need to develop these skills. Whether we are formal project managers or not, this way of thinking helps us get more done for our clients and for our company.”

Welcome, Maria Perez!

Posted in Human Resources on March 17, 2017
Maria Perez

Maria Perez

Before coming to MPS, Maria served as a political appointee in President Obama’s Administration.  She started out at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

From there she went on to work in a variety of positions at the U.S. Department of State. As Deputy White House Liaison, she supported the Secretary’s leadership, helping manage the relationships of all political appointees.  In the office of Commercial and Business Affairs, Maria provided strategic planning support to the Special Representative.  She also served as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States, where she represented U.S. interests on a multilateral stage.

Maria started her professional career as a Geometry teacher with Teach for America in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is admitted to the Texas Bar.  She also holds a B.B.A. in Finance and B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin.


Welcome, James Feinstein!

Posted in Human Resources on February 24, 2017
James Feinstein

James Feinstein

James Feinstein comes to MPS after serving at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution. As a Special Assistant in the Office of the President he helped advance American foreign policy and increase global economic stability by encouraging private sector investment into emerging markets. Prior to this he worked on Energy, Environment and Transportation policy for Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

James earned a B.A. from Luther College in Decorah, IA and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand where he conducted research on voter motivation and taught English. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Policy at Georgetown University. In his spare time James enjoys outdoor activities, reading and traveling.​


Consultants Learn From The Bard

Posted in Professional Development on February 08, 2017
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Last week four intrepid MPS staffers – Zully Barrientos, Ira Casteel, Davin Hattaway, and Sarah Miles – took part in an unusual class at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC.  “Acting for Business Professionals,” taught by Dan Crane, the Resident Teaching Artist, is designed to help participants articulate and deliver their message with maximum effectiveness.

Pauses, gestures, eye contact, physical presence in the room, intonation, and word choice are just some of the elements they dissected and practiced. Ira’s big takeaway was the presentation preparation. “Breaking up the text in logical beats and practicing out loud while walking around the room will be my new go-to method. Each punctuation mark warrants a physical turn, which forces you to slow down and truly notice pauses in your text.” For Davin, it was the realization that consultants and actors are essentially striving for the same thing. “Both professions need to faithfully represent complex information in a way that’s meaningful and impactful. The tools they provided will give me a new perspective as I consider my own presentations.”

MPS has been a proud sponsor of the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2009.

MPS’s Quality Management System is ISO-9001-2008 Certified

Posted in Corporate Updates on February 02, 2017

ANAB-ASRMPS’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recently certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – internationally recognized as the gold standard for quality management. ISO-9001-2008 certification means that MPS maintains a QMS that adheres to the best practices as prescribed by ISO.

The requirements for ISO certification are stringent, and the process arduous, culminating in an intense 3-day audit. According to MPS staffer Wes Cronkite, who, along with Hoor Jangda, worked for over a year to prepare for the certification, “Many firms bring in external resources to obtain an ISO certification. At MPS we did it in-house, working with our internal management team. Our firm’s commitment to a quality, process-based corporate structure has long been in place so we decided to document and translate what we were already doing in a manner which enabled us to gain the certification. We simply built on our existing strategy and structure.”

The ISO certification ensures that quality permeates our organization at all levels: from hiring and performance management, to business development and service offerings, all the way through to client delivery and follow-through. At MPS we are proud of our Quality Management System, which is designed to fulfill our firm’s commitment to public service.

Welcome, Shannon McGuire!

Posted in Human Resources on January 10, 2017
Shannon McGuire

Shannon McGuire

Shannon McGuire recently received her Master’s in Public Administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management, from The George Washington University (GWU). For her capstone project, she conducted research on women in the U.S. Coast Guard, specifically around the issue of low retention and attrition.

Prior to MPS, she was a graduate intern at Capitol Hill Partners, a consulting firm where she worked to provide effective services and targeted advocacy on behalf of nonprofit clients. In addition, Shannon volunteered at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a holistic cancer healing nonprofit that provides yoga, cooking, and art classes for individuals affected by cancer.

During her undergraduate years (she has a B.A. in Human Services, also from GWU), Shannon worked at several nonprofits in the Washington, DC area, taking on development and management roles. Her professional interests include health issues, poverty alleviation, social enterprises, and nonprofit development. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys playing rugby, painting pottery, and volunteering in her local community.

Welcome, Brad McCandless!

Posted in Human Resources / PACE Program on January 06, 2017
Brad McCandless

Brad McCandless

Brad McCandless, the newest member of MPS’ PACE Cohort 11, got his initial consulting experience at the grassroots consulting firm, 270 Strategies, in Chicago, where he worked on strategy for political and nonprofit groups.

After earning his B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University, Brad came to DC to work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic advisory firm, where he specialized in commercial diplomacy, and at the National Democratic Institute, focusing on elections. Previously, he worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, doing research geared toward political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

At MPS, Brad is looking forward to developing strategies for clients and partners to bring about meaningful organizational change. Outside the firm, he enjoys playing squash, baseball, and all things outdoors, along with keeping up with contemporary film.

Welcome, Sarah Dawn Miller!

Posted in Human Resources on January 05, 2017
Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller

Sarah Dawn Miller holds an M.A. in International Relations with concentrations in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies. For her graduate thesis, she examined Golda Meir’s manipulation of the gender binary during her tenure as Prime Minister of Israel. Sarah also completed a B.A. in French, with minors in Arabic, intelligence and security studies, and theatre, from the University of Mississippi, where she studied the perceptions of Muslims, Christians, and the non-religious in Mississippi, France, and Jordan.

Prior to joining MPS, Sarah was a research analyst with CEB, where she conducted extensive research on the management of corporate accounting functions in Fortune 500 companies. Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, and playing with her two cats, Nina and Professor Pip.


M Powered Strategies Joins GSA’s IT-70 Schedule

Posted in Contracting on December 30, 2016

GSA logoM Powered Strategies was awarded a contract for the General Service Administration’s (GSA) IT Schedule 70, also known as “IT-70”. IT-70 provides federal, state, and local customer agencies with the tools and expertise needed to shorten procurement cycles, ensure compliance, and obtain the best value for innovative technology products, services, and solutions. MPS is one of the newest of the 4,600 pre-vetted vendors that have access to bid government work through this vehicle.

While IT-70 offers a wide variety of products and services to the government, MPS has been approved to offer our IT Professional Services, Agile Delivery Services, as well as our Health IT Services as a prime contractor. Our experience providing these services both as prime and subcontractors across the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Health and Human Services, the International Trade Administration, and Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board for the past twelve years has aligned MPS to the services procured through IT-70.

“The government has demonstrated the viability and success these federal schedules have in creating fair competition and competitive prices,” says MPS President Kendall Lott. “For a small company, this schedule provides essential access to our clients and future clients for the services we provide.  We look forward to continuing to empower our clients at IT organizations to drive organizational effectiveness, structure efficient development processes, and enable the rapid deployment of technology solutions.”

MPS is always looking for partners aligned to our mission of serving, changing, and empowering the government. If you are interested in learning more about our services offered on IT-70 or partnering with MPS, please email Allison Primack, Sales Operations Manager (


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