DRG TIG Leadership



Laura Adams works at Pact as the Director for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for the USAID-funded global civil society and media strengthening award, CSM-STAND. Previously, she served as Senior Director for Strategy, Development and Learning at Freedom House in Washington DC where she led organizational learning and applied research initiatives. She entered the democracy and learning sector when she was an IIE USAID Democracy Fellow in the Learning Division of the Center of Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG Center) at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to this career transition, she was in academia for fifteen years, most recently at Harvard University as Director of the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus, Academic Advisor to the M.A. program in Russian, East European and Eurasian area studies, and a Lecturer in Sociology. She specializes in comparative and cross-national research methods, qualitative methods, the design of research and evaluation, and participatory evaluation approaches.  Dr. Adams holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California-Berkeley and a B.A. from Macalester in Russian Area Studies.

Program Chair

Zack Medow is Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Advisor for the Eurasia Foundation where he is working to clarify the organization's core theories of change through applied research in the organization's major programmatic areas. Before joining the Eurasia Foundation, Zack worked with Freedom House, RIWI, Corp., and Unlock Democracy - Canada in various research and learning roles. Lately, Zack has been particularly interested in the role of informal actors in donor-funded DRG programs and how international organizations can better support them.  Zack ongoing interest is increasing the degree to which program managers learn from our findings as evaluation and learning professionals take great care with our work and the risk is that too much of this work is getting lost at the uptake stage.  Zack holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in Political Science.


Jerim Obure is a Global Senior Specialist for Monitoring, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) at the International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is an international development organization that is based in Washington DC and that works to strengthen criminal justice systems around the world to be effective in protecting vulnerable people from violence through justice processes, standards, and systems. Jerim has had over 10 years of experience in practicing Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning in multi sectoral contexts, including human rights and governance, global health, and youth development programs. Part of these  experiences includes working for the National Human Rights Commission in Kenya where the scope of programmatic work included; institutional reforms, democracy and human rights, rule of law, state compliance monitoring, among others.  Jerim’s interests include; M&E capacity building, institutional M&E capacity strengthening, strategic planning, program evaluations, M&E methods, and Implementation Science, among others. He also enjoys working in cross cultural environments. Jerim holds a Master of Science degree in International Development from the University of Amsterdam, with specialization in Development Monitoring and Evaluation. 

Program Co-Chair

Jeanette (Jay) Asencio-Tocol is a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). Jay has more than 18 years of experience in research and MEL in the democracy, human rights, governance and rule of law sector. She leads evaluations in ROLI and has authored all of ROLI's internal evaluations in the last six years which span more than 28 countries globally. She conceptualized and co-leads the Community of Practice for Justice Sector Measurement and the annual Measurement Talks for the JusTRAC+ Program, funded by the State Department to support collaboration among justice sector practitioners. Jay also co-authored two practice notes that aid in measuring results of justice sector reforms and in assessing the performance of courts. Jay also provides technical guidance and support to ROLI's many programs across the globe in designing MEL plans, setting up MEL systems, designing and implementing special studies and research, and overseeing external evaluations. Prior to her work in ROLI, Jay was an independent evaluator and an institutional capacity assessment and development specialist for various donors for Southeast Asian programs. She has expertise in applying mixed research methods and applying innovative designs for evaluations in complex settings, as well as in assessing and developing government sector performance monitoring systems. Born and raised in the Philippines, Jay is a proud alumna of the University of the Philippines in Diliman and the Asian Institute of Management in Makati.

Communications Chair

Denise Baer is a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) professional and President of Strategic Research Concepts, Inc.  Denise is a political scientist, professor and consultant with over 30 years’ experience in research and evaluation with substantive specialties across the range of democracy support including elections and campaign finance, social movements and civic groups, political parties, parliamentary strengthening, gender lens programming and private sector engagement.  She teaches evaluation at George Washington University and was Founding Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Evaluation Department, one of the four core National Endowment for Democracy (NED) core institutes and has done consulting for a variety of U.S. federal agencies and nonprofits in democracy, governance and women’s empowerment.  She has worked with a variety of global donors and U.S. agencies as well as the U.S. Congress. Her interests include mixed methods integration, systems and multi-level causal impact approaches, institutional reforms, association capacity-building, evidence-based policies and women’s history. Dr. Baer holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science and research methods from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. 

Ex-Officio Chair

Lauren Serpe is the Deputy Technical Director on the Global Results and Measurement Team at Pact. She is a monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) specialist with 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating results-oriented democracy, governance and civil society strengthening programs, with a focus on learning and adaptive management. She has piloted innovative complexity-adaptive methods in Pact’s global governance portfolio and led on the development of associated handbooks and toolkits. She has expertise implementing a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods in more than 25 countries globally. A regular presenter at the annual conference of the American Evaluation Association, most recently Lauren has led expert panels regarding learning, adaptive management, “lean data” and “complexity on a shoestring” topics. Previously she served as a Senior Research Specialist at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). She has an MA in International Politics from American University in Washington, DC.

Ex-Officio Co-Chair

Marian Ware is a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Specialist focused on inclusive MEL approaches in the Middle East and North Africa as well as sub-Saharan Africa regions. She works at the International Republican Institute (IRI), an international non-governmental organization that builds and supports democratic actors and practices globally, and serves as an advisor of IRI’s Political Inclusion Community of Practice in addition to her MEL role. Marian has led the development of IRI’s inclusive MEL approach and institutional approach to political inclusion, and currently supports project design, monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts across sub-Saharan Africa. She has experience leveraging complex-aware, participatory MEL methods such as Most Significant Change and Ripple Effect Mapping to support project monitoring, and has supported more than a dozen evaluations, including in extremely challenging, authoritarian, and conflict-affected contexts. Marian holds a Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Management Studies from the University of Haifa, in Haifa, Israel, as well as a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs and Humanities from the University of Colorado. She has spent several years living and traveling in the Middle East, and speaks both Levantine Arabic and French conversationally.

Operating Guidelines of American Evaluation Association Democracy, Human Rights & Governance
Topical Interest Group (TIG)[1]

As Revised January 23, 2023
Adopted at the 2015 Annual Business Meeting and Revised July 30, 2020



The name of this group is called the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Thematic Interest Group (TIG) also known as the (DRG TIG).



Section 1. The mission of the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Topical Interest Group (TIG) exists to provide a forum and community of support for the practice of evaluation of democracy and governance.  Democracy, human rights and governance programs seek to promote transparency, accountability and openness by fostering human rights, rule of law, independent media and other essential democratic institutions, including civil society and representative institutions.  Because democratic governance programs often occur in the context of transitioning political systems, and places with limited and constrained political space, they have unique evaluation needs.  The Democracy  and Governance Topical Interest Group (TIG) within the American Evaluation Association (AEA) was launched in 2014 to reflect the shared needs and interests of academics and practitioners, donors and implementers, evaluators and those being evaluated.  In 2020, the TIG was renamed Democracy, Human Rights and Governance TIG.  “Human rights” was added to the formal name to reflect the varied ways in which democracy and governance work is based on an implicit recognition of how treating citizens with respect is the foundation of democratic governance. Other DRG practitioners may engage in more formal efforts to mainstream human rights considerations or to address human rights violations.

The DRG TIG promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in its membership, scholarship, and initiatives. The TIG is guided by attention to the historic and ongoing impacts of discrimination and exclusion in evaluation, academia, and society and the places, projects, portfolios and organizations we evaluate and is committed to increasing equity within quantitative, qualitative and multi-method evaluation approaches, methods and scholarship. We encourage involvement, access, and influence of scholars and practitioners of a variety of different characteristics and backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, class and income, religious belief or affiliation, family status, country and region of origin, physical ability, political ideology, type of institution, rank, methodological orientation, and substantive research focus.

The purpose of this Democracy and Governance Topical Interest Group (TIG) is to:

  1. Provide a forum for discussion and collaboration for democracy and governance evaluation in both the public and private sectors of society;
  2. Promote professional development among democracy and governance practitioners and evaluators;
  3. Provide an organized means of raising issues to the leadership of the AEA, including the Evaluation Policy Committee;
  4. Play a major role in annual AEA conference programming and coordination, including organizing and sponsoring conference sessions, through soliciting presentations and refereeing submitted proposals, and serving as strong supporters of and contributors to the Presidential Strand;
  5. Enhance evaluation understanding and practice; and
  6. Provide inclusive opportunities for collaboration and work to disseminate and discuss best practices.



Section 1. Eligibility. Any individual member of the American Evaluation Association interested in the purposes of the Democracy and Governance TIG shall be eligible for membership.  By joining the TIG, members express their support for the mission of the TIG as outlined in Article II, Section 1.  Membership in the TIG may only be established by joining through the AEA website.

Section 2. Rights. All members have the right to vote for officers and on other official matters of the Democracy and Governance TIG and to hold office if duly elected, and to receive all notifications pertaining to the official business of the Democracy and Governance TIG.


Section 1. Time and Place of Meetings. Meetings of the membership shall be held at any suitable place (physical or virtual) convenient to the membership as may be designated by the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance TIG Officers. The Annual Business Meeting for revision of the operating guidelines and election of officers will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the AEA.   The Democracy, Human Rights and Governance TIG Officers may call special business meetings by properly notifying the members. Operating guidelines may be amended at that time, provided amendments receive the necessary support specified in Article IX through votes submitted electronically or in writing. Operating guidelines will then take effect upon adoption or as specified in the proposed amendment.

Section 2. Notice of Meetings. At least ten (10) days in advance thereof the Board shall notify each member of any business meeting. Notification of the annual meeting shall be electronically mailed at least thirty (30) days in advance.

Section 3. Annual Meeting. An annual meeting shall be held each year for the purpose of nominating and/or electing officers, reviewing the annual financial report, and amending the Operating Guidelines if proposed.

Section 4. Quorum. Those members present at the business meetings of the membership shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. Voting. Each member present at any meeting shall have one vote. Members may also submit votes electronically or in writing if they are unable to be present. Written votes must have the member’s signature and electronic votes must have a personal identification.




Section 1. Number and Qualifications. The affairs of the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance TIG shall be conducted by an eight-member Board consisting of a Chair, Co-Chair, Program Chair, Program Co-Chair, Outreach and Communications (Communications) Chair, and a Chair and Co-Chair ex officio. Following the election of new officers, the new officers will be named [OFFICER]-elect until January 1 of the following year when they will assume the regular position and the officers whose elected term has ended will become [Officer]-ex officio. All officers must be current members of the AEA and the Democracy and Governance TIG.

Section 2. Governing Powers. The officers shall have all the powers and duties necessary or appropriate for the administration of affairs of the Democracy and Governance TIG or as directed by members. The duties of the Board shall include:

  1. Carrying out any necessary business of the Association between the general meetings.
  2. Determining the substance and membership of the Standing and Special Committees of the Democracy and Governance TIG as representatives from the TIG to the AEA. The officers will monitor the activities of all Committees and provide for periodic reports on their activities to the membership.
  3. Authorizing any matters to be submitted to a vote of the general membership of the Democracy and Governance TIG including election of officers. The officers will receive and consider petitions from the membership for matters to be submitted to a vote of the general membership of the Association; any such petition signed by fifteen (15) percent of the current membership makes submission of the issue to the membership mandatory upon the officers.

Section 3. Term of Office. All officers are elected by the membership. Each elected position within the Democracy, Rights and Governance TIG Board is a two-year term. The outgoing Chair and Co-Chair will serve in an ex officio and advisory capacity. For two positions, there is a rotation after one year, with the Program Chair and Program Co-Chair assuming the Chair and Co-Chair positions, respectively. The procedure for election of officers shall be as set forth in Article VI, Section 2. The term of office generally shall be from Annual Business Meeting held at the AEA in even years to the next Annual Business Meeting of the second year.  The Outreach and Communications Chair will be elected at the Annual Business Meeting, through electronic election, or chosen by the elected officers from applications submitted by Association members and will serve a two-year term.

Section 4. Duties of Officers

  1. Chair. The Chair shall act as the chief executive officer of the Democracy and Governance TIG and shall have all the general powers and duties which are usually vested in this office including; preside at all business meetings, serve as Chair of meeting, appoint all committees in consultation with other officers, and have general responsibility for the conduct of the affairs of the Democracy and Governance TIG.
  2. Co-Chair. The Co-Chair will assist the Chair in conducting the business of the Democracy and Governance TIG and preside in the Chair’s absence.  The Co-Chair shall keep minutes of Board meetings and other meetings as requested by the Chair, keep a file of the proceedings at business and verify elections and handle other correspondence as needed, unless the current Secretary is running for re-election, in which case the Past-Chair shall verify elections instead.

  3. Program Chair and Co-Chair. The Program Chair and Co-Chair shall plan the section panels, roundtables and other sessions at each meeting of the AEA, including identification of volunteer reviewers.  To ensure continuity and transfer of knowledge/experience in planning for the AEA conference, the Program Chair and Co-Chair will assume the Chair and Co-Chair positions, respectively, at the end of the first year of their term.

  4. Outreach and Communications. The Outreach and Communications Chair (Communications Chair) will coordinate communications and in-person member activities throughout the year, edit and publish materials to the Democracy and Governance website, including notices, resource materials, and recruit and manage submissions to the AEA360 TIG blog week.


Section 5. Vacancies. If any position of the officers becomes vacant, the officers will appoint a member of the Association to serve in that position until the next general election.  Non-elected vacancies may remain vacant at the discretion of the Board.

Section 6. Removal of Officers. At any meeting of officers, any one or more of the officers may be removed with cause by a vote of four other officers. A successor officer may then and there be appointed by the remaining Board members to fill the vacancy thus created.

Section 7. Meetings. Democracy and Governance TIG officers shall meet at least twice a year. Special meetings may be called by the Chair or by at least three other officers, in writing, on three (3) days' notice, if practical, to each Board member, which notice shall state the time, place, and purpose of the meeting. All meetings of officers shall be open to the membership except for those times when the Board will discuss matters involving personal privacy.


Section 8. Quorum. At all meetings of the Board, a simple majority of the Board members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business including voting.


Section 1. Designations and Qualifications. The elected officers of the Democracy and Governance TIG shall be a Chair, a Co-Chair, a Program Chair and a Program Co-Chair and an Outreach and Communications Chair. Each officer must be a current member of the American Evaluation Association and the Democracy and Governance TIG.

Section 2. Election of Officers.
 Elections will take place every year at the annual meeting or as determined by the Board using an electronic/virtual voting process following the annual meeting. Candidates shall declare their intention to run for either the Program Chair or Program Co-Chair position, with the understanding that, if elected, they will assume the Chair and Co-Chair positions, respectively.

  1. Nominees for open officer positions may be recruited by a nominating committee composed of three DG TIG members appointed by the Board and presented as a slate through the Annual Business Meeting notification. OR ALTERNATIVELY
  2. Candidates shall declare their intention to run in a written communication to the Board Chair no later than 10 calendar days preceding the annual meeting. The Board Chair shall confirm receipt of said communication and ensure that every candidate appears on the written and/or electronic ballot. OR
  3. Nominations may be taken from the floor during the Annual Business Meeting. OR
  4. A nominating committee is approved at the Annual Business Meeting to be followed with an electronic vote by the members within 45 days on the nominated slate of officers.
  5. Voting will be by written or electronic ballot, unless there is one and only one nomination for each vacant position. In that case, a vote may be taken by voice acclamation. Voting may take place at the annual meeting, or by mail or electronically, in accordance with Article IV, Section 2. The Co-Chair will in turn be responsible for verifying the ballots, protecting the security of the ballots, obtaining independent corroboration of the ballot counts, and reporting the results to the membership.
  6. The candidate for each office receiving the largest number of votes will be considered elected. In the case of a tie, the officers will select the officer from the tied candidates.



Section 1. Special Committees. Special Committees may be formed for fixed periods of time for specific purposes as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Board.



Section 1. Amendments. These Operating Guidelines may be amended by written affirmation of two-thirds (2/3) of the members voting on the proposed change. Amendments may be proposed by the officers or by petition to the officers by fifteen percent (15%) of the membership of the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance TIG and they will be submitted to the entire membership for vote no later than the next general election.  The TIG leadership may call an emergency meeting to vote on the Operating Guidelines, whereby the amendments may be amended the same aforementioned written affirmation. Such amendment, if passed, will become effective after the business meeting following affirmation.

[1] AEA guidelines and operating policies are the main, parent TIG operating guidelines for AEA Topical Interest Groups.

Founding and Prior AEA DRG TIG Officers 2015 – 2022



Rebekah Usatin, Founding Co-Chair

Elizabeth (Liz) Ruedy, Founding Co-Chair

Andrew Green, Founding Co-Chair

NOTE:  The Bylaws of the TIG were adopted at the first business meeting in 2015 based upon a draft prepared by Denise Baer. Now called Operating Guidelines, these were revised in 2023.



Rebekah Usatin, Founding Co-Chair

Elizabeth (Liz) Ruedy, Founding Co-Chair

Andrew Green, Founding Co-Chair

Salome Tsereteli-Stephens, Program Co-Chair

Giovanni Dazzo, Program Co-Chair



Salome Tsereteli-Stephens, Co-Chair

Giovanni Dazzo, Co-Chair

Danuta Dobosz, Program Chair

Matthew Cruse, Program Co-Chair

Imara Crooms, Webmaster



Danuta Dobosz, Chair

Kelly Skeith, Co-Chair

Denise Baer, Program Chair

Chareen Stark, Program Co-Chair



Denise Baer, Chair

Co-Chair position vacant

Dylan Diggs, Program Chair

Kate Krueger, Program Co-Chair



Dylan Diggs, Chair

Kate Krueger, Co-Chair

Alysson Akiko Oakley, Program Chair

Megan Guidrey, Program Co-Chair

Nigina Valentini, Communications Chair

Denise Baer, ex officio

NOTE:  The name of the TIG was officially changed July 30, 2020 from Democracy and Governance to Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) TIG and the bylaws were updated through an online vote and virtual meeting.  These changes, initiated following the 2019 AEA DRG TIG business meeting which lacked a quorum were approved virtually in 2020, expanded the TIG officers to include a Communications Chair, created ex officio positions for the most recent Chair and Co-Chair, and clarified on procedures for amendments to the TIG operating procedures.



Alysson Akiko Oakley, Chair

Megan Guidrey, Co-Chair

Lauren Serpe, Program Chair

Marian Ware, Program Co-Chair

Nigina Valentini, Communications Chair

Dylan Diggs and Kate Krueger, ex officio


Lauren Serpe, Chair

Marian Ware, Co-Chair

Laura Adams, Program Chair

Jerim Obure, Program Co-Chair

Denise Baer, Communications Chair

Alysson Akiko Oakley and Megan Guidrey, ex officio

NOTE:  The bylaws (now called operating guidelines based on an AEA clarification of TIG structures within AEA) were revised to describe the name change and to include a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in an online vote January 23, 2023.