In a global economy, having a competitive edge in customized, diverse solutions matters. Yardstick Management helps clients develop a plan that delivers a quantifiable impact on their target market.
Dr. Ebbie Parsons, III, is the Founder of Yardstick Management. A seasoned business executive with a passion for intentional impact, he has been applauded for his strategic thinking, engaging leadership, and results-oriented mindset throughout his successful career. After working at Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, Medtronic, and American Express, Dr. Parsons III decided to transition from a promising career in business in 2007 to join the prestigious Broad Residency Program in Educational Leadership. The Broad Residency was his first introduction to the inner-workings of America’s public education system, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools.
Championing the overhaul of the district’s school funding methodology, he negotiated the state’s first pay-for-performance teacher union contract. He led the redistricting of the city to an “All-Choice” system of schools. Following his time in Hartford, Dr. Parsons, III, was on the founding team of the groundbreaking Relay Graduate School of Education, where he led the organization’s Human Capital function. Following Relay, he took on a new challenge to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the third-largest Charter Management Organization in the U.S., Mosaica Education, Inc. At Mosaica, Dr. Parsons, III, managed over 80 schools across eight states, Washington, D.C., the Middle East, and Asia. He led Mosaica to its two consecutive most profitable years in its 14-year history while simultaneously leading the company to its highest academic performance results in years.
Leveraging his wealth of experience and expertise in business and education, he launched Yardstick Management with a vision to become a leader in transforming and impacting the global landscape of the management consulting industry. Less than a decade later, Yardstick has become a world thought leader and powerhouse in providing specialized Management, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Talent consulting services to renowned mission-driven brands and organizations worldwide. Yardstick is committed to building its clients’ internal capacity to enhance its ability to deliver extraordinary results to its constituents.
He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Florida A&M University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as a Faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. Dr. Parsons, III, has extensive board leadership experience, including serving on the boards of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Lighthouse Academies, Children’s Orchestra Society, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Urban Ministries, Inc., the Atlanta Music Project (an El Sistema Program), The Winans Group and the Finance Corps. Dr. Parsons, III, is a Fellow with the Pahara Institute and the Aspen Institute and is a Member of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Dr. Parsons, III, resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife, Ayana, and their adorable daughters, Ebbie Noelle, aka “Noey,” and Noohra Celeste. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, kayaking, and, most of all, rooting for his favorite hometown team, the Michigan Wolverines. Go BLUE!
Los Angeles, CA
Reena Patel, Ph.D. serves as Global Managing Partner on the Yardstick Management Team. Her expertise includes digital strategy, casino gaming, product licensing, and organizational growth. In her former position with Playboy Enterprises Inc (PLBY Group) Reena functioned as President of International and COO of Global Licensing and Joint Ventures. She was responsible for Playboy’s brand monetization across licensing, gaming, digital product, and third-party retail. She previously served as a member of the senior management team as Vice President of Global Licensing at International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) with additional experience in various roles with Merrill Lynch and Sun Life Investments. Reena also has community based board experience with California health advocacy and service provider, HealthRight 360 and women’s mental health and services provider, Prototypes.
Reena holds a B.Sc. in Basic Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto, Canada, a MBA from Plymouth University, New Hampshire and a Ph.D. in International Business from the ISM, Paris. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner, two boys and three pups.
Naima Greenwood serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Yardstick Management, responsible for growing the Yardstick Management portfolio and managing ongoing projects. Before joining Yardstick, Naima served as a Senior Manager on a government contract with the Office of Foreign Labor Certification. Naima has a diverse background in Sales and Marketing, Operations, and Retail. Naima is an advisory board member for the College of Business and Information Science at Tuskegee University.
Naima holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Florida A&M University and an Executive MBA in Global Business from Georgia Institute of Technology. Naima started her career at Target Corporation as a Business Analyst in their entertainment division. There she collaborated with major movie studios and record labels in managing their releases. She later relocated to Atlanta, GA where she managed a $1 billion domestic landscape business for over 2,200 retail stores for The Home Depot. After completing her Executive MBA, Naima was recruited by Bank of America where she served as an Assistant Vice-President. She oversaw efforts to convert California accounts to a single platform for improved efficiency and reliability and managed a multi-million-dollar project to develop global consumer risk assessment plans for call centers.
Naima resides in Atlanta with her husband Andre, and their daughters, Ava and Aubree. In her spare time, she actively volunteers in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Slma Shelbayah is a Marketing, Communications, and Diversity Leader, Consultant, Adjunct Professor, and award-winning former CNN Broadcast Journalist. In 2015, she won the CNN Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. She is passionate about diversity, human uniqueness, and unraveling taboo traditions and is dedicated to promoting the voices of under-represented individuals. Her background includes more than 17 years of experience as a journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media industry, including roles as a reporter, show host, editor, writer, voice-over artist, and producer.
Serving as the Chief Communications Officer at Yardstick Management, Slma oversees the internal and external communications, strategy alignment, marketing, public relations, branding, and communication project management solutions for clients. She spearheaded a communications department leading a creative team responsible for rebranding the company both internally and externally.
Slma is also an Adjunct Professor of Business, Media, and Communications for Clayton State University and has previously taught at Brenau University, Herzing University, and Georgia State University. She teaches courses on public speaking, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, speech, and business communication.
Her prior positions include serving as Director of Corporate Public Relations for Savannah College of Art and Design and a 7-year tenure at CNN serving in the capacity of Producer, Assignment Editor, and Writer working across different departments including, CNN International, CNN Digital Newsource, and CNN Homepage.
Slma was inducted and graduated from LEAD Atlanta’s distinguished and highly selective leadership program, LEAD Atlanta, for the class of 2018. She holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology and an M.A. in Linguistics with a focus on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, U.K., during which students were selected from 30 countries across the world to pursue a seminar on global media policy: technology and new themes in media regulations.
Dedicating her time to community service that focuses on media, diversity, and inclusion, Slma previously sat on the Advisory Board for the Harvard Debate Diversity Project inaugural class, an initiative that provides selected high school students with debate training and an opportunity to spend a summer at Harvard College developing their speaking skills. Her life-long involvement with youth is also witnessed through mentoring as she is a board member of UBeyond Mentorship, a non-profit mentoring organization for young youth and professionals. Shelbayah also enjoys giving back to the media industry to further the impact on diversity, culture, and faith, and was previously on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters.
Dr. Monica Miller-Smith serves as the Director of Research and Impact at Yardstick Management, where she oversees training and development. For over 14 years, she has instructed courses in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport, and Central Michigan University. She possesses expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion, civic engagement, and distance education, and has presented at national and international conferences on topics such as economic inequality, experiential learning, and e-learning. With her extensive knowledge in development and diversity, Monica worked as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist in the non-profit and education sectors. In addition, while living in the West Indies, Monica worked with the Ministry of Education. She collaborated with colleagues on the creation of early childhood, socioemotional teacher trainings, and developmental screening assessments to connect families in Nevis with speech language and behavior therapy resources.
Her first textbook, Families and Children Living in Poverty, was published in March 2020. Families and Children Living in Poverty explores the factors that contribute to the existence of poverty, as well as the social, developmental, and environmental ramifications of poverty. Through scholarly studies, case studies, historical events, and contemporary happenings, readers examine the connections between poverty and family-related challenges, including adverse childhood experiences, lack of a living wage, health disparities, social exclusion, and homelessness.
Monica earned her Doctorate in Education from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She is an avid traveler and has lived in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Puerto Rico, and Nevis, West Indies. She currently lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia with her husband and two daughters.
Dr. Bernard Ashby serves as a Principal Consultant for Yardstick Management. He was born and raised in South Florida by Caribbean parents who were able to instill in him strong qualities such as family values, a strong work ethic, and a love of serving others.
Melanie Calhoun serves as a Principal Consultant for Yardstick Management, supporting the diversity and inclusion line of business. With her expertise in marketing management and diversity and inclusion initiatives, Melanie helps organizations improve D&I strategies by conducting assessments, establishing clear and measurable D&I goals, and creating long-term roadmaps to address the structural inequality that may exist.
Before joining Yardstick, Melanie spent time as a researcher in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley Psychology Department. Under the leadership of Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Ph.D., Melanie developed an active research interest in stigma, intergroup relations, and stereotyping. Much of her racism and bias research is informed by her experience working as a marketing executive for over fifteen years.
Before her work at UC Berkeley, she was Head of New Customer Acquisition and Experience for Invisalign® clear aligners at Align Technology. Under her leadership, Melanie launched new advertising campaigns to recruit new dentists to become providers. Before working at Align, Melanie spent time as the Senior Marketing Manager of Product Marketing for Vocera Communications. In her role, she oversaw competitive strategy. As Marketing Manager at Ecolab, she managed the Surgical Patient Care products, increasing sales to $12MM. She also spent time at Medtronic supporting surgical procedures in endovascular aortic aneurysm stent-graft repair, pediatric deformity spinal surgery, and neurostimulation for obesity and chronic stomach disorders. She received various awards for her leadership, including the Medtronic Emerging Leaders, and was one of the first participants in the Leadership Development Rotation Program.
Melanie is committed to her community and, through her leadership, has made a significant impact on women and children’s issues. She has held various positions in the Junior League of Atlanta and served on the Executive Board of the San Jose Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Currently, Melanie is a Board Member of the Atlanta Chapter of It’s My Birthday, Inc. and The Atlanta Birth Center.
Melanie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, two-year-old son, and newborn daughter. She is an avid reader, loves cooking, traveling, and yoga.
Jaclyn Carter serves as a Senior Consultant on the Yardstick Management team. Jaclyn provides leadership and direction in all aspects of managing Human Capital. She brings over 15 years of experience in labor/employee relations, recruitment, training, compensation design, compliance audits, job analysis, process improvement, culture shifts, and performance improvement interventions. She has served in leadership roles and provided HR support to various clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, including DaimlerChrysler, United Technologies, and Berkshire Hathaway, to small startups. Jaclyn can successfully re-engineer organizational Human Resource goals and practices to align with strategic business goals and objectives.
Jaclyn also serves as a trainer and coach for leadership and professional development programs and career transition services. Through her extensive experience with executives and professionals, she has developed a unique ability to help clients identify core values and motivators. She collaborates with clients in developing career management and performance plans to achieve progressive success. Jaclyn brings a broad base of industry experience, which helps her connect with each client and support advancement and success in their profession. Jaclyn customizes her approach to each client as they build the next stage’s skills in their career.
Jaclyn holds a BA in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and an MILR, with a Dispute Resolution concentration via Mediation and Arbitration, from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations. Jaclyn resides in Hartford, CT, with her family.
Kevin brings subject matter expertise and has worked in several countries and hyper-markets in Asia, the Middle East and North America involving global Fortune companies within a wide array of industry segments, including financial services, technology, retail and FMCG. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Kerala and a Master’s in Management from the T.A. Pai Management Institute in Bangalore India.
Outside of work, Kevin enjoys cooking, the outdoors and is an avid runner having completed 5 marathons and runs or walks every day for his work-life balance.
Tarsha serves as a Senior Associate on the Executive Recruiting Team. She brings 25+ years of People Engagement experience in the areas recruitment, sales, training, and DEI. She has worked in many corporate leadership roles developing and sourcing top talent. Tarsha holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her SHRM- Human Resource Management certificate for Organizational Leaders from the University of West Georgia. Tarsha resides in the Greater Atlanta, GA area with her spouse, son and daughter. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys board games, community improvement projects, cooking for family and friends, gardening, interior decorating, and exploring the world by traveling.
Mays serves as a Diversity Sourcer for Yardstick Management. She brings years of experience recruiting across a variety of industries including Technology and HR with a range of companies based in Palestine, the United States, and several global overseas startups, all whilst actively ensuring diversity and inclusion in their recruitment processes.
Mays holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from Birzeit University, Palestine and is currently finishing her MA. in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management from SIT Graduate Institution from Vermont, U.S. She currently resides in Amman, Jordan.
In her spare time, she volunteers with several humanitarian agencies working with refugees on issues around human rights and food security. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys going on hikes and traveling as well as spending time with her family and friends.
Reyonia Whipple serves as a Senior Researcher supporting Yardstick’s Executive Search practice. She graduated in 2018 from Lander University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications. Additionally, she served as a Captain of the Lander Volleyball Team, holds her school’s collegiate record for the most number of blocks by a player in a single season, and was named Lander Women’s Volleyball 2017 MVP. Ms. Whipple is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and has served as Vice President of her University’s Chapter. She also graduated cum laude from Lander with her 2018 class. Before joining Yardstick, Reyonia served as a contractor for Delta Airlines, working as a Lead Ground Security Coordinator. She brings the same passionate leadership qualities that made her successful in the classroom, within her sorority, and on the volleyball court to Yardstick and looks forward to even more success.
Outside of her professional interests and accomplishments, Reyonia enjoys spending time with her family and finding new adventures with her many friends, including traveling and playing volleyball whenever she gets the chance.
Gilberto Orozco is a 2020 graduate of the University of Michigan and serves as a Business Strategy Manager for Yardstick Management. Before joining Yardstick, Gilberto was involved in the entrepreneurship space — being a part of a team that founded an educational non-profit dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship to kids — for over six years and worked in a lab as a coordinator for the Institute of Social Research, where he analyzed global market trends through a multidisciplinary approach. Gilberto’s passions lie in global human development and bipartisan policies that improve the longevity of everyone.
Residing in Detroit as a Venture for America fellow, Gilberto aims to aid the city in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the next two years. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, trains for marathons, and creates elaborate meals for his friends and family.
Tunbridge Wells, UK
Hazel serves as a Senior Consultant for Yardstick Management.
Hazel has over 15 years of experience representing renowned global brands such as Playboy, McLaren, and World Wrestling Entertainment, in addition to a Silicon Valley technology start-up. Her expertise includes managing strategic partnerships, digital and product licensing, market communications, and key account management.
Prior to joining Yardstick Management, Hazel managed Playboy Enterprises’ strategic partnerships and licensing business for the UK and EMEA across consumer products, international publishing, mobile, and gaming, where she led high-profile brand collaborations including YSL, Coco de Mer, and Missguided.
Hazel holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from The University of Manchester. She resides in Tunbridge Wells in the UK and is passionate about fitness and travel.
Josie serves as a Senior Consultant for Yardstick Management where she supports projects across Yardstick’s portfolio of clients. She is a 2020 graduate of Earlham College obtaining a degree in Global Management with a focus in Management Information Technology. Josie is a Venture for America Fellow and found entrepreneurship by being a founder herself. She assembled a company called Methane Hub in 2016 to help international rural communities fight indoor air pollution using an engineered renewable cooking fuel and has since moved on to creating information products and processes to uplift women in tech. Josie is passionate about applying tech-based solutions to businesses and products that positively impact social impact while contributing other skills such as UX design and coding. She builds teams that make work enjoyable and transparent. To recharge, Josie loves sailing, meeting with like-minded changemakers and GenZers over coffee, starting side hustles, and reading about new fascinating concepts.
Michelle serves as a Brand Strategist for Yardstick Management. Prior to joining Yardstick, Michelle was in the fashion industry for more than 10 years, in roles ranging from design to communications, marketing, and brand management. Her expertise lies in successfully communicating a brand’s essence through design and creative strategies. In the past few years, she started branching out into other industries, creating branding and marketing strategies for restaurants, real estate companies, and bars among others.
Michelle holds a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons, and a MA in Fashion Communications, Promotion, and Media from Istituto Marangoni London. She also has a diploma in Strategic Branding, Identity, and Brand Experience from Central Saint Martins.
Michelle resides between Quito, Ecuador and Miami, Florida with her family. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys yoga, painting, scuba diving, and traveling as often as she can as her ultimate source of inspiration.
Meridian Buckner-Swain is a Marketing Coordinator at Yardstick Management. She assists the Communications & Consulting departments with marketing materials, events, and strategy. Meridian has an extensive background in marketing and a passion for DE&I advocacy programs. She is also a recent graduate of Spelman College and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Kae McGowa serves as the Senior Designer for Yardstick Management, bringing over 7 years of art direction experience to the Yardstick team while providing print and digital design solutions for the firm and its clients.
Her interests have always been split between sports and the arts, and she attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as an undergrad to grow in both areas. She learned a lot about balance as a student-athlete as she earned a BFA in Advertising Design with a specialization in Graphic Design. After graduation, she moved to the Atlanta campus and obtained her Master’s degree in Interactive Design and Game Development.
Today, Kae maintains her balance by skating for the Atlanta Rollergirls.
Candice Howard serves as a Senior Leadership Executive Assistant for Yardstick Management. As a Senior Leadership Executive Assistant, Candice ensures the smooth operation of the company and is responsible for providing administrative support to the Founder, while managing up and across the organization.
Prior to joining Yardstick, Candice worked as an Executive Assistant for several logistics companies in the greater Atlanta area and the Middle East. Candice was most recently an Executive Assistant for The Panther Group, a cannabis investment company. In addition, Candice had the opportunity to live in Doha, Qatar, and Erbil, Iraq, while serving as a Senior Director of Administration. Candice spent her time there overseeing the completion of missions and serving as a military sub-contractor. This experience introduced her to many cultures and heightened her passion for travel.
Candice was born and raised in East St. Louis, but now she considers Atlanta her home. Candice’s personal interests include strength training, international travel, and reading. In addition to her leisure activities, Candice has a passion for serving her community. She participates in marathons and fundraisers to support autism research. In addition, for the last decade, Candice has hosted her own annual charity events: “Operation Give Thanks” and “Stuff the Stockings.”