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Let's work together.

Through my consulting shop, First Quarter Strategies LLC, we can work together to make sure young people are ready for the world and the world is ready for them.

Are you a state or community leader?

I work with gubernatorial and mayoral leadership, public agencies, interagency groups like Children's Cabinets and P20 Councils, statewide partnerships, and community collaboratives. We can work together to develop and drive an issue campaign, build an advocacy agenda, start or staff a coalition, or plan your next generation of work. I can support your team with technical assistance or facilitation. To see what this can look like, read this piece on my work with partners in Virginia or explore this Virginia education network.

Are you a funder, nonprofit, or intermediary?

I spend a lot of my time working with teams to co-design and facilitate networks (e.g., Connecting Credentials), funder groups (e.g., YTFG workgroup), learning communities (e.g., JFF Leadership Academy), and fellowship programs (e.g., Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows). I can help you with efforts that cut across disciplines, systems, and sectors. We can partner on special projects, field research, and any number of publications, tools, or resources. For examples, check out this report on youth readiness, funded by the Ford Foundation; this brief on competency-based education and equity, funded by Lumina Foundation; this ecosystem map of competency-based education in higher education, funded by the Gates Foundation; and this economic well-being investment framework, written for YTFG.

Are you a district or school leader?

I am an educator with a background in teaching, curriculum design, and school leadership. I taught elementary school, coached middle school sports, and led an education nonprofit that ran a high school for older youth (Shearwater) on a technical college campus. Let's work together to design alternative and student-centered learning models (e.g., EPIC Schools in NYC), build a competency-based or personalized learning curriculum, or to reinvigorate and strengthen your community-school or educator-employer partnerships. We can  strategize and plan for social emotional learning, healing-centered practices, or to develop and implement a profile/portrait of a graduate. I am available to work with your team to revamp professional development and plan for a more modern and equitable public school experience (e.g., Virginia is for Learners Profiles).

Are you An industry or Credentialing leader?

While my work started with youth, I spent the past decade partnering with industry, corporate, and credentialing leaders to serve and support the "untapped workforce" in college and at work. These are young adult workers and working parents who are in need of better work and wages. Let's work together to find ways to prepare for and support these workers. This can include customized workshops and resources, or working together to craft more inclusive and impactful policies, practices, and programs. Through JFF, I co-led untapped workforce efforts with several groups, including Hilton Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Are you another kind of leader?

Do you want to work together but don't fit into the groups above? No problem. Reach out! I want to hear from you and talk about what we can do together. If you are a news or media outlet and want to discuss a writing opportunity or interview, send me an email at or Direct Message on Twitter with your idea and deadline at @stephanie_malia.

RECENT projects + Partnerships
  • Pathways to Economic Well-Being Work Group of the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG). This funder workgroup focuses on the education, employment, and economic support needs of vulnerable young people ages 14-25 in the US. This consulting work includes offering direct and collective support to funder members, delivering a learning agenda, and planning events.

  • Landscape Analysis for the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions. This 2021-2022 project with Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions and Justice and Society teams focused on understanding youth justice reform efforts in their "Opportunity Youth Forum" communities and strategizing ways to best support those efforts moving forward.

  • Backbone Facilitation for a Multi-Funder Initiative Focused on Special Student Populations. This multi-funder collaborative is co-facilitated by Maddy Day LLC and Associates. It focuses on US field and funder knowledge- and base-building, research collaboration, and federal policy that supports the educational success of students who experience homelessness, foster care, and/or the criminal justice system.

  • State Strategy for Bringing Education + Youth Development Leadership Together. This Forum for Youth Investment consulting effort supports Virginia education and youth development leaders in establishing the Commonwealth Alliance for Thriving Youth and a Virginia Portrait of Thriving Youth.

  • Strategy Support on Implementing Personalized Learning Support. This KnowledgeWorks consulting project provides direct support to South Carolina in developing a playbook for district and school leadership on personalized learning.

  • State Support Focused on Child and Youth Resiliency, Mental Health, and Social Emotional Learning. This engagement, supported by the National Governors' Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, provides direct support to leaders in North Dakota in their efforts to support young people's learning, workforce development, and behavioral health.

  • Concept Leadership for Regenerative Hospitality Initiative. This initiative with JFF and the Hilton Foundation explored regenerative tourism as a way to benefit residents, communities, and indigenous cultures in places that are historically reliant on hospitality and travel.

  • Strategy Support for the Partnership for the Future of Learning. This partnership with KP Catalysts supports a national network of over 600 leaders from 300 education and social justice organizations, helping them to learn from their first five years to chart a course for the future.

  • Strategy Support on Youth Mental Health, Educator Wellness, and Positive Youth Development Projects. As a senior fellow for Education Northwest and the CERES Institute for Children and Youth, I assist their teams with efforts focused on youth development, youth mental health, social emotional learning, educator wellness, and alternative education.

Areas of experIENCE and interest

  • whole child and whole life education and development

  • youth thriving and mental health

  • child and youth well-being

  • transition into adulthood

  • economic and education justice

  • educator and youth development workforce

  • statewide partnerships focused on children and education

  • communitywide education-youth development partnerships

  • student-centered learning and human-centered design

  • competency-based and personalized education

  • social emotional learning

  • alternative education

  • marginalized youth populations

  • future of work and learning

  • regenerative economic development and education

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Technical Assistance
Leadership Support


Landscape Analysis
Root Cause Analysis
Investment Mapping
Asset Mapping


Communities of Practice
PSO Networks
Fellowship Programs
National Networks
State Partnerships
Community Coalitions


Book Clubs & Talks
Topical Keynotes
Institutes and Workshops


Program Design
Tool Development
Resources and Reports


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