Public Policy Associates, Inc. Vice President and co-owner Colleen E. Graber will become the firm’s new president on August 18, the company announced. She will succeed Dr. Paul Elam, who has led the Lansing-based national firm since 2014.
“We are grateful for Paul’s strong leadership and the passion he brought to work every day. Colleen is the ideal person to help Public Policy Associates continue to promote sound, data-driven policies and prosper as a small business,” said Virginia Orabone, who co-owns the company with Ms. Graber.
Dr. Elam has accepted a job as chief strategy officer for the Michigan Public Health Institute.
“It has been a privilege working with incredibly talented staff committed to excellence and good and equitable public policy,” Dr. Elam said. “I know Public Policy Associates’ future is bright under Colleen’s leadership.”
Board Chair Jeff Padden said Ms. Graber is an exceptional manager and a great leader as well as an example to other staff about the unlimited opportunities to grow at the firm.
“Colleen has 15 years of experience at Public Policy Associates and has held almost every role in the company,” he said. “She knows the organization at a level of depth and detail that no other president has ever had, including me. She will be able to help the staff at all levels succeed, which makes for a strong organization.”
She is a skilled facilitator, researcher, and systems thinker who has led state and national projects in the areas of workforce development and education.
Ms. Graber is currently managing evaluations of the Virginia Financial Success Network and the Great Start early childhood education system in Michigan. She has also led federal research projects related to career and entrepreneurial opportunities for women.
“Public Policy Associates is an excellent organization with great people and a solid history of delivering high-quality analyses and insights to our clients across the country,” Ms. Graber said. “I am looking forward to leveraging our strengths into new opportunities.”
The organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will continue to be a key priority, she said. “An equity lens is critical to understanding and addressing the deeply embedded biases in our systems.”
PPA officials wish Dr. Elam well in his new endeavors.
“MPHI is a terrific organization and important to the state of Michigan,” Mr. Padden said. “We know Paul will provide excellent leadership there, as he has for Public Policy Associates.”
You can read more about Ms. Graber here. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-485-4477.
Public Policy Associates was founded in 1991 and specializes in strategic consulting, research, and evaluation. Its mission is to provide clients with the information to make smart public policy decisions that improve lives, enrich communities, and strengthen institutions. Visit its website for more information.
The Graber file:Name: Colleen E. Graber
Title: President, Public Policy Associates, Inc.
Residence: East Lansing
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan; secondary teacher certification from Michigan State University; master’s degree in American social history from the University at Albany – SUNY
Also notable: She is a member of the American Evaluation Association and served as a board member of the Michigan Association for Evaluation 2014-2018.