For 30+ years, I have worked in the public and private sectors supporting teams as well as individuals. My experience helping organizations and collaborative groups to set goals, work to resolve problems, and strengthen systems forms the basis for my consulting practice.
Addressing community problems is in my blood.
My father was a professor at the Heller School at Brandeis University. His research looked at social issues like consumer reactions to the oil shortages of the 1970s, and public policies like those governing family home care. When I was a little girl, he sometimes asked me to help him collate data from those old school computer printouts they used to have. I would make chicken scratches in hand-drawn matrices. I loved that time with him, and think I learned a fundamental truth – that while doing worthy things is good in and of itself, studying it to see how well the work is achieving its goals is the way to reach another even more crucial level of excellence.
In college I thought I wanted to be a therapist and then eventually I broadened my sights, wanting to work on behalf of groups of underserved people. This led me to my Master’s program in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research, where I did my thesis on a program placing homeless families into city-owned apartments.
This in turn led to a career-long commitment to working in government and the nonprofit sector, and then as a consultant working at a national level – much of this within the complex space of homelessness.
From 2001-2009 I was the Chief Executive Officer of Housing Families Inc., headquartered in Malden, MA and serving several communities north of Boston.
I was fortunate to join a strong organization that was poised for tremendous growth linked to the development of a major affordable housing project: 19 new-construction family units with onsite services, a $6.3M project with the typical array of funding sources.
I learned about the complexity that comes with sudden growth – and indeed, with any major organizational disruption. I found my voice as a leader and convener in local and state-wide arenas focused on policy and strategy. I came to recognize my passion for, and skill at, supporting the professional growth of others.
In 2009 I moved to The Cloudburst Group, where I worked as a staff consultant (Subject Matter Expert/Housing and Homeless Programs) through 2019.
While at Cloudburst, I grew to specialize in community-level consulting, leading small teams of experts working closely with community leaders to develop and implement large scale public-private system change initiatives.
Several of these engagements took place in communities facing challenging issues of low capacity and longstanding lack of trust. Key projects are described on the Consulting & Facilitation page.
Working in the role of consultant, I learned profound yet simple lessons such as: "Listen closely to the people you are there to help; often their experience holds the key to the solution."
Other lessons: Rebuilding trust and a willingness to collaborate is not a swift process ... and one of the deepest signs that change is taking hold is when you learn about meaningful conversations taking place and decisions being made without involving the consultants!
Engaging stakeholders in a transparent process that articulates and establishes priorities and implementation plans is the most direct route to self-determination and buy-in. Their concerns articulated --> their plans --> their results.
Judy Perlman Consulting LLC - 2019 to ...
In March 2019, I realized a long-term goal: greater self-determination and agency through becoming an Independent Consultant.
My clients have included nonprofit organizations, local government offices, and, through a continuing contracting relationship with Cloudburst, several states and major cities including Maryland and Philadephia.
My work continues to focus on capacity building and community building. I love the experience of working as part of a team. My deep abiding interest in communications continues as I look to offer training and facilitation, as well as seeking out and fostering opportunities to support experiential learning among peers.
I know I am fortunate to be working on enormously important efforts responding to COVID-19. Training staff to provide services through newly-modified federal programs; creating tools to manage case management activities, and to communicate complex information in clear and user-focused ways; helping communities strengthen key programs like Rapid Rehousing........ these are some of the exciting and crucial areas in which I have been working during the pandemic.
I will continue to identify areas of need and offer solutions to support communities' progress for housing stability and reducing homelessness in these challenging times. Please contact me to talk about how I can help your efforts succeed!