Climb The Learning Curve Faster


Jessica Pearl

Jessica Pearl has more than 20 years of
field experience in both relief and
development. She started as a field
monitor and worked her way up
through a range of positions across
different sectors to serve as a Country
Director in multiple countries…



Stepping Stones Consulting will help relief and development field leaders climb the learning curve faster and organizations to shore up management gaps and transitions. Use our firsthand experience and knowledge as your stepping stones to improve the effectiveness, leadership, and management of your programs. Step up from Day One!

How We Can Help You


Talk confidentially with someone who knows exactly what you are facing. A hybrid of coaching and mentoring gets you the best of both approaches. Need someone to help you work through issues,…

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If your organization offers a comprehensive onboarding and integration program for new Directors, congratulations! You are in a very small minority.

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Interim Management

Don’t lose hard won gains in a program over a
transition gap. Interim management by a highly
qualified individual can ensure a productive
leadership transition and excellent start for
the new leadership.

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Special Projects

A consultant can provide the extra set
of hands you need to get projects done without
diverting staff from their jobs. They can also
provide an outside eye on program and team
dynamics with the experience to move you
forward and upward.

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An Insider’s View
Program management and organizational leadership requires the ability to toggle between a bird’s eye view and getting deep in the weeds of program implementation and the support functions that make that possible. Stepping Stones Consulting will work with you to scan across all of the different teams and functions that are involved, and then deep dive into the weeds to hone in on the specific issues to address, problems to tackle, or opportunities to seize.

Unlocking Your Potential-
Finding Your Joy

Overwhelmed? Everything is a priority? Know you love your job but
dread going to work each day? In a new leadership role and your
supervisor is remote and not available for anything other than
the house on fire? New culture and everything you try seems to
backfire? Just need someone who is neither your boss nor a
colleague from another NGO to talk through a situation or
serve as a sounding board?
Leadership positions, especially Country Director, Chief of Party,
or similar roles, can often leave you feeling isolated. Depending
on where you are located, it might be that almost everyone you know
is from another organization, requiring restraint in what you share
with your peers- even though they understand your situation so well.
Typically, supervisors are remote and expect you to handle all but
the most serious situations on your own. (Or your supervisor is not
available or supportive in the way you need.) Isolation and exhaustion
from the hundreds of final decisions for which you are responsible
every day can lead to burnout and loss of creativity and tact.

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Unlocking Your Team’s Potential-
Finding Their Joy

Years of managing teams with diverse cultures, ethnicities,
religions, and socio-economic backgrounds, at times in
conflict with one another has only strengthened the belief
1- everyone has potential to thrive and contribute;
2- teambuilding and morale in our field takes constant,
deliberate effort.
Trying to get the most out of your team while under pressure
to produce program results in a short time period, under
security restrictions, or when your staff themselves are
impacted by a crisis (or all of the above at the same time!)
is exhausting and can sometimes feel like a luxury we don’t
have time for. However, while building a team takes time
and effort, losing team cohesion and morale can happen
swiftly at great cost to your program’s success and reputation.

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Read our thoughts, reflections, and ruminations on human resources, program management, leadership transitions, and other related topics for relief and development workers.

The Curve

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Welcome to Stepping Stones Consulting and the Curve! I like to think of myself on a constant learning curve- I love to learn and be challenged, so I am often…

Finding the right curve for myself in 2020

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The Curve Issue 1: January 2021 Finding the right curve for myself in 2020 Although I had begun working with my coach mid 2019, in preparation for my transition out…

Types of Learning Curves in a New Job

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One of my favorite questions to ask a candidate in an interview is this: “What do you feel will be your learning curve during your first three months on the…

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