COMM|VEDA Consulting provides research, evaluation, writing, and project management services to mission-driven organizations. We are passionate about making data and information accessible and useful to a wide range of audiences. We are generalists with a particular passion for issues focused on equity and inclusion, social justice, and human rights. We ground our work in a community-based, systems perspective.
Seema Shah, Ph.D.
Founder and Principal
Seema's (she/her) career spans two decades in the academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. Innately curious about the world, Seema combines the broad perspective of a generalist with specific expertise on social justice and human rights issues. Her work has touched on a wide range of topics, including diversity, equity, and inclusion, urban education, community organizing, women's rights, youth development, disaster philanthropy, and the global water crisis.
Prior to launching COMM|VEDA Consulting in 2017, Seema served as deputy director at Cricket Island Foundation, where she helped resource the field of youth-led social change. From 2010-2016, she was Foundation Center's director of research for special projects, where she spearheaded the research department’s transition from written reports to a full suite of rich, interactive online tools, providing grantmakers with the information needed to make strategic decisions. While at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Seema co-directed a seminal, six-year national, longitudinal study on community organizing and school reform. She is a co-author of a book that documents the study’s findings, Community Organizing for Stronger Schools, published by Harvard Education Press.
As the author of more than thirty publications, Seema has built a reputation for combining rock-solid research chops with a keen eye for effective communications, defying the classic case of a report sitting on a shelf. As a project manager, she understands how to foster collaboration, deftly managing large, multi-stakeholder teams. She brings extensive knowledge of the nonprofit and philanthropic landscape to her work, as well as a strong understanding of systems change efforts.
Seema earned her B.A. in psychology at Duke University and a Ph.D. at DePaul University in clinical-community psychology. She works with clients across the globe and is based in Brooklyn, New York and Atlanta, Georgia.
Edith G. Arrington, Ph.D.
Edith (she/her) is a consultant and licensed psychologist whose research, writing, and consulting interests over the past two decades have focused on: race, equity, diversity, and inclusion; understanding and promoting the health and well-being of individuals and communities across contexts; social justice; and a life-span approach to personal and leadership development.
Edith’s consulting work has centered on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in K-12 schools, academia, research and evaluation, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations. As part of her work with K-12 schools across the greater Philadelphia region, Edith focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion with an emphasis on recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and administrators. While at OMG Center for Collaborative Learning (now Equal Measure), Edith served as deputy director of New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that provided grantmaking, career development, and networking opportunities to diverse early- and mid-career researchers and evaluators.
Edith earned a B.A. in psychology and sociology at Duke University, an M.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. from the School, Community, and Clinical Child Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is based in Philadelphia, PA.
Tessa A. Eidelman, Ph.D.
Tessa (she/her) is a researcher and consultant whose work has focused on issues of affordable housing, community well-being, and social justice. Through her work with housing activists in both the United States and South Africa, she has used her research, writing, and facilitation skills to support progressive social change efforts. In addition to her consulting work, Tessa is an ACLS Leading Edge Fellow, working with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on a project examining internet access as a health imperative and social justice issue.
Prior to her graduate studies, Tessa worked as an occupational therapist in the field of psychiatry and mental health. She earned a B.S. in occupational therapy and B.Soc.Sci (honors) in psychology at the University of Cape Town and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Community Research and Action from Vanderbilt University.
Sandra B. Saldana, M.S.
Sandra’s (she/her) research and professional projects have combined her interests in social equity, health and well-being, and inclusive policy design. Sandra has conducted research in the areas of psychology and food anthropology and consulted for various non-profits and public organizations, such as NYC’s Mayor of Immigrant Affairs and IMPACCT Brooklyn. She aspires to contribute to equitable housing, education, and healthcare policies in local and global communities.
Sandra earned a B.A. in Psychology from Hamilton College and an M.S. in Public and Urban Policy from The New School. She is based in Jersey City, NJ.
Eleanore (she/her) is a recent graduate of Swarthmore College. Her research experiences span social psychology, behavioral economics, and political science. She has previously freelanced for the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi, Kenya, where she worked on projects on financial inclusion, data privacy, and vaccine uptake. Eleanore is passionate about conducting applied research in behavioral science and developing data-driven interventions, with a focus on equity and inclusion.
Eleanore received her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Statistics from Swarthmore College.
B R. Balmer, M.Ed.
B (they/them) is a social science researcher who has worked in a variety of fields, including anthropology, community psychology, education, human geography and medical sciences. B's research experience includes supporting an evaluation of a program geared towards increasing equitable access to out-of-school time learning in Nashville, as well as examining equity in higher education for undergraduate LGBTQIA+ students of color pursuing STEM majors and careers.
B's nonprofit experience includes designing and implementing programs for youth at the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland, mentoring and advocating for young moms and their children in a transitional housing YWCA Duluth program, and assisting in the facilitation of summer enrichment programs designed for students of color pursuing health professions at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Duluth campus.
Toeing the lines of community practice and research, B's passion is to engage in research and action that leads to more equitable communities.
B received their B.A. in Anthropology, Philosophy, and Cultural Studies at University of Minnesota, Duluth and an M.Ed. in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University.