Let's work together.

Through my consulting shop, First Quarter Strategies, 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 or P20 Councils, 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 love 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 opportunity 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 curriculum, or to reinvigorate and strengthen your community-school or educator-employer partnerships. We can  strategize and plan for education after the pandemic 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 learners or those who need 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 or reach out on Twitter with your idea and deadline: @stephanie_malia.

What's Happening at First Quarter Strategies?
  • Economic Well-Being Work Group of the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG). This work group focuses on the education, employment, cash, and housing needs of vulnerable young people ages 14-25 in the US. The work includes offering direct and collective support to funder members, delivering a learning agenda and events.

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

  • Landscape Analysis and Philanthropic Investment Mapping for the Raikes Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This multi-funder collaborative is being done with Maddy Day LLC and Associates to determine alignment in philanthropy, policy, research, and practice that supports educational outcomes and conditions for students who experience homelessness, foster care, and/or the criminal justice system.

  • State Strategy for "Build Forward Together." This Forum for Youth Investment project supports state and local youth development and education leaders to "build forward together" in pandemic recovery efforts.

  • State "Air" and "Ground" Campaign Focused on Resiliency and Healing. This engagement, with the National Governors' Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, provides direct support to states to become trauma-informed, including work to establish a cross-agency office focused on youth and family resiliency.

  • Concept Leadership for Regenerative Hospitality Initiative. This planning initiative with JFF and the Hilton Foundation explores regenerative approaches to hospitality and tourism to rebuild the industry to benefit residents, communities, and indigenous cultures.

  • Strategy Support on Opportunity Youth, Alternative Education, and Positive Youth Development Projects. I serve as a senior fellow at Education Northwest, assisting their team on efforts focused on opportunity youth, youth development, and alternative education.

Areas of experIENCE and interest

  • child and youth readiness & well-being

  • economic and education justice

  • educator and youth development workforce issues

  • interagency coordination, such as Children's Cabinets

  • education-human service partnerships

  • family engagement in education and human services

  • student-centered learning

  • competency-based education

  • social-emotional health and learning

  • youth mental health

  • alternative education and reengagement

  • opportunity youth

  • youth systems-involvement

  • youth homelessness

  • future of work and learning

  • tomorrow's workforce

  • regenerative economic development



Technical assistance
Leadership support


Landscape Analysis
Investment Mapping
Asset Mapping


Communities of Practice
PSO Networks
Fellowship Programs


Book Clubs & Talks
Topical Keynotes
Institutes and Workshops


Program Design
Tool Development
Resources and Reports


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