Veronica Olazabal
The Rockefeller Foundation

Veronica Olazabal joined the Rockefeller Foundation in 2015. As senior associate director, evaluation, Ms. Olazabal works to develop and manage the Foundation-wide evaluation function at the strategy, initiative, and grant portfolio levels, including the assessment of the impact of the Foundation’s work.

Ms. Olazabal comes to the Foundation with more than 15 years of program and research management experience. Her professional portfolio spans four continents and includes working with the MasterCard and Rockefeller Foundation’s international programs on topics ranging from youth learning and financial inclusion through to climate change and global health. She has also led the monitoring, evaluation, and research efforts of Nuru International, UMCOR (The United Methodists Committee on Relief), and the Food Bank for New York City. A strong believer in the systematic role evaluation can play in addressing global poverty, Ms. Olazabal has co-chaired InterAction’s (the largest U.S. network of international NGOs) Working Group for Evaluation and Program Effectiveness and represented civil society as the North American representative for the ACT Alliance at the United Nations Fourth High Level Forum on Development Effectiveness.

Ms. Olazabal holds a B.A. in Communications focused on international agricultural and environmental studies, a master’s degree in Urban Policy and Planning (with an applied agriculture economics focus) from Rutgers University, and is acquiring her M.A. in SocioCultural Anthropology from Columbia University. She is also the recipient of the 2014 American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award, presented to an evaluator who exemplifies outstanding evaluation practice and who has made substantial cumulative contributions to the field of evaluation.

Xiaoxia Newton
University of Massachusetts Lowell


Xiaoxia Newton is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Research Methods and Evaluation). She is the principal investigator (PI) of a multi-year evaluation of the collaborative effort between Lowell Public Schools (LPS) and multiple community partners at transforming LPS Career Academy into a community hub that provides a range of on-site academic, occupational, social, and health services. Newton is the incoming co-chair elect of the American Evaluation Association's International and Cross-Cultural Topical Interest Group. She will serve a 3-year term beginning January, 2017.


Shawna Hoffman
Rockefeller Foundation

Shawna Hoffman is a Measurement and Evaluation Specialist with The Rockefeller Foundation’s Evaluation Office. In this role, she works with staff, grantees, and partners to assess the Foundation’s programmatic work, capture lessons about what works, and contribute to the global evidence base for the Foundation’s priority programmatic areas.

Passionate about using data and evidence for social good, Shawna has experience supporting monitoring and evaluation within various government, bi/multilateral and non-governmental organizations, including the Canadian International Development Agency (now Global Affairs Canada) and World Food Programme. Prior to joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Shawna worked at The MasterCard Foundation, where she supported monitoring, evaluation, and strategic learning for a large portfolio of complex programs across Africa.

Shawna is originally from Toronto, Canada. She holds a B.A. in Political Studies from Queen’s University and a Masters of International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.


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Rahel Kahlert
European Centre for Welfare Policy and Research

Rahel Kahlert currently coordinates evaluation and research projects at the European Centre for Welfare Policy and Research in the areas of health, care and social services. Prior she directed the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Health Promotion Research in Vienna, Austria, focusing on evaluating public health programs and collaborating internationally on health research studies. Before moving to Austria in 2013, Rahel worked as a research and evaluation associate in various positions at the University of Texas at Austin from 2001 to 2013, where she specialized in evaluating education programs with respect to their implementation and outcomes. Rahel also was an ethics fellow with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she investigated barriers to participating in medical trials and assisted in ethical decision-making.

Rahel's professional focus lies on the research and practice of impact evaluation as well as evidence-based policy in health and education. Rahel received the Emmette R. Redford Award for Outstanding Research and has presented her research at evaluation conferences throughout Europe and the United States. Rahel holds a doctorate in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Rahel is the co-founder of the Vienna Evaluation Network.