Strategic Decision Associates
"The ECHOS' Board of Directors knew we needed to focus on building our internal capacity to appropriately support an exponential growth in number of clients and programs over the past two years. This is a daunting task for the most experienced of Boards – and a seemingly insurmountable one for Boards with minimal Board experience – which was the case with ECHOS. We assumed we needed to have "a facilitated retreat" - because that is what everyone does! I had seen Jeff "in action" during the United Way Katrina/Recovery community agency meetings and so went to him, knowing that if any consultant could help us put together a meaningful retreat with "workable" outcomes, it would be Jeff. And, indeed, he did. He suggested that rather than the traditional one day "strategic planning retreat" we have a series of 90 minute facilitated monthly meetings with the Board over a period of 4 months, inviting some more experienced community partners from the non-profit community to join us and share their expertise. Topics for these meeting ranged from appropriate Board size to the need for long term and strategic planning as the underpinning for fundraising activity, to the appropriate utilization of volunteers and the development of individual and foundation donor relationships – and a great deal more – presenting information to the Board members that they needed to know in order to be effective in growing the internal capacity of ECHOS. These meetings then culminated with a 6 hour strategic planning meeting in which both board and community partners participated – and which has resulted in a workable plan that will guide us through the next two to three years. Perhaps the best testimony to Jeff’s skill as a strategic planning facilitator is that at the end of a 6 hour retreat on a Saturday almost all who began the retreat were still at the table and still engaged!"
"Jeff speaks and teaches in terms of deliverables – which is something that too few organizations understand but that all need to produce if they are to be self-sustaining. He speaks and teaches in terms of "strategic thinking" which must be on-going at all times and which must be in place if strategic action it to occur. Finally, Jeff has that gift which enables him to engage one and all in meaningful dialogue and, perhaps most importantly, structures projects so that each has a beginning, a middle and an end!"
Jean A. Kegler
Executive Director
Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS)
"Jeff Stys knows how to combine the use of his many years of experience, wealth of knowledge, sense of caring, and his keen strategic development skills to meet the needs of the project on which he is working. He has been able to guide our vision of a new program into the direction which will insure that the foundation is strong and able to reach its goal. Jeff is truly the kind of person you would want to be a part of your team!"
Sylvia Bolling
Executive Director
"It's a pleasure working with Jeff. He's a real pro and his firm name says it all. Jeff's strategic mind and action-oriented recommendations informed by real life experience help us make better decisions and ultimately work to create change more effectively."
Amanda Timm
Executive Director
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
"Jeff Stys provided wonderful guidance and structure to the Houston HOPE staff. We worked together on the creation of a new Strategic/Logic model that will help measure outcomes and evaluate projects and programs for the five neighborhoods in the implementation phase of the Houston HOPE process. Thanks to Jeff’s recommendation that every member of the Houston HOPE team participate in this project, they enthusiastically worked on developing their own outcomes and measurement systems and clearly see that every step is critical. Thanks to Jeff, Houston HOPE is now ready to prove our effectiveness in each part of the planning process."
Mary A. Collins
Executive Director
Houston HOPE
"We contracted Jeff Stys to facilitate the ESCAPE's Board of Directors' Strategic Retreat in October 2008. Jeff did a great job preparing the agenda, distilling major focus issues and helping us achieve a workable, practical and inspiring strategic plan for the next three years. I would highly recommend Jeff Stys! He is a superb listener and clarifier! We all enjoyed his professionalism and humor. Five hours' retreat went by very quickly under his direction."
Lidya K. Osadchey
Chief Executive Officer
ESCAPE Family Resource Center
“Jeff helped our team of 12 rehabilitation doctors create our goals for the coming year. The Medical Center Rehabilitation Physicians is a collaboration of two major medical institutions. Jeff was able to help us focus on our goals and make sure that we were paying attention to the interpersonal issues that have allowed the group to function well over the years. The team was quite happy with the outcome of the day’s events and, after spending six hours in a hotel conference room, we all left energized and ready to work on the goals we created”
Gerard Francisco, MD
Interim Chief Medical Officer
TIRR-Memorial Hermann
"Before our first meeting with Jeff we sat down and prepared a list of very specific questions about Program Evaluations. During the meeting we quickly dropped the entire list of questions and began to completely re-evaluate our approach to evaluation. Our conversations with Jeff literally transformed our entire outlook on the evaluations process.

Under Jeff’s guidance, we were able to create a clear and concise logic model for our entire organization and use that model to identify what we could and should measure in our evaluations. In the past, whether on our own or with the help of consultants, we’ve always tried to use one-size-fits all approaches and given up frustrated. Our work with Jeff gave us a clear sense of what we were tying to do, and exactly what needed to be done to get there. In guiding us through the creation of our logic model, Jeff not only helped us make decisions about evaluations, but gave us a better way to look at program planning, fundraising, and more.

It has really been an honor and a pleasure to work with Jeff. He has the rare gift of being able to translate between program and management theory and practice, and I would highly recommend him to any organization that is trying to think strategically and create meaningful plans."
Benjamin Mason
Program Coordinator
Workshop Houston
"Jeff Stys has been hired on numerous occasions to facilitate a number of our activities from retreats, to strategy sessions in helping our organization RAISE Texas move forward as a new 501(c)(3). He provided direction in helping us develop our agenda and frame our issues while providing the key strategic questions to help us drill down to reach consensus on our mission and key activities. Jeff can think quickly on his feet when agenda items need to be shifted or discussion needs to be more focused. His skills and intuition provides an excellent blend on personal resources that results in reaching your goals."
Woody Widrow
Executive Director
"Right after Hurricane Ike, I knew we needed help with planning for our community's recovery. Jeff brought the skills, experience and insight that we needed to help us plan and implement the processes for our long term recovery. His familiarity with funding resources, social services and the necessary recovery infrastructure reassured us that we could accomplish our goals. It's a long road and with his help, it's been a much smoother ride."
Barbara Crews
Chair, Galveston County Restore and Rebuild
Strategic Decision Associates • 1228 Candlelight Lane • Houston, Texas 77016
(713) 501-9563