Kris Kurtenbach

Founding Partner

About Kris

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” – Rumi

Kris has provided trusted strategic and communications counsel to scores of nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, government officials, education entrepreneurs, and educators for more than 30 years. Her expertise includes strategic and organizational planning and design, communications strategy and execution, and facilitation and moderation. Kris has helped to create eight national, statewide, and community-based education nonprofits, and has led strategic planning processes for dozens more. She has also helped to create networks of mayors working for education improvement in two states—California and Arizona—the only such existing networks in the country. She has written extensively on education and community engagement in support of education improvement. She is a trusted adviser to foundation presidents, nonprofit CEOs and organizational boards of directors.

In 2000, Kris created Collaborative Communications, building on a career in journalism and education. She was a reporter and editor at Congressional Quarterly and Governing magazines. She wrote the National Assessment of Title I at the U.S. Department of Education. And she led education practices at Widmeyer Communications, KSA-Plus Communications, and Millennium Communications.

In 2004, Kris endowed a scholarship for editing and copy editing at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. The scholarship is named after John B. Bremner, an influential mentor.

Kris has a master’s degree in education policy and administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She holds both a bachelor of science degree in magazine journalism and a bachelor of arts degree in literature from the University of Kansas.

Eliza Panike

Senior Associate

About Eliza

“The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” ― Fred Rogers

Eliza has long understood that strong, vibrant communities are built by providing young people the tools and resources they need to succeed. For the last decade, she has built her career supporting government and non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of children and families. Most recently, she developed key messaging and content for delivering Common Sense Media’s ratings and reviews to parents and caregivers. Prior to that, she provided support to California’s First 5 system through program management, event planning, and public policy campaigns.

Eliza excels at project management and will be using her skills to create effective communications campaigns for her clients.

Born and raised in Northern California, Eliza currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in child development from San Francisco State University.

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