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2022 40 Under Forty: Kate Szczerbacki

Click here to return to HBJ’s 2022 40 Under Forty Award Honorees Age: 39
Company: The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Title: Director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation
Number of years with current company: 4
Town where I live: Hamden
Town where I work: Hartford
College: The Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University; University at Buffalo School of Law, Alfred University 
Highest degree: Ph.D. in social policy/JD
More Information

As the Hartford Foundation’s director of strategic learning and evaluation, Kate Szczerbacki leads the development and management of an organization-wide, coordinated learning and evaluation unit that supports strategic planning, practice improvement and ongoing decision-making. 

Her work focuses on collaborating with internal colleagues, grantees and other local partners to develop rigorous and equitable evaluative approaches to better understand the strengths and needs of the Greater Hartford region and improve the Foundation’s contribution to community. 

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far in your career? 

My most considerable achievement was collaborating with Foundation colleagues to sustain the momentum of learning efforts at the Foundation during the pandemic. We used lessons from this time to interrogate the assumptions we have about types of knowledge we value and make revisions to internal data gathering and decision-making processes. 

How are you involved in the community? 

I serve on DataHaven’s board of directors – a Connecticut nonprofit committed to empowering people to create thriving communities by ensuring access to data on wellbeing and equity. I have also volunteered at New England-area equestrian events and have participated in grassroots efforts to improve housing equity in my town.
What do you like to do outside of work? 

I’m an enthusiastic – if not particularly skilled – gardener. My partner and I have slowly expanded the vegetable, herb and flower gardens in our small yard – which means getting creative with space. I also enjoy cooking and baking, visiting New England breweries, doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles and reading novels.

Why do you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty?

  • Led two successful bids for the Hartford Foundation to serve as a practicum site for a Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity scholar who implemented equity-centered projects with the Foundation and partners.
  • Expanded the Foundation’s learning and evaluation function from a one-person unit in 2019 to a three-person team in 2022. 
  • Spearheaded the Foundation’s participation in the Equitable Evaluation Initiative’s Practice Partnership. 
  • Serves on the Hartford Data Collaborative’s executive board including its governance and data use priorities subcommittees. 

Fun Fact 

I’m an unparalleled parallel parker. 

Theme Song

“Learn to Fly” — Foo Fighters

Bucket List

What are two things that you would like to achieve before you turn 40?

I’d like to give an in-person presentation at a national conference before 2023. 

I also want to read a minimum of two non-work-related books each month. 

Click here to return to HBJ’s 2022 40 Under Forty Award Honorees

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