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, PhD
Founder and Principal
Seema's career spans two decades in the academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. Trained as a clinical-community psychologist, Seema's 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. Innately curious about the world, Seema combines the broad perspective of a generalist to her work, along with specific expertise on social justice and human rights issues.
Prior to launching COMM|VEDA Consulting, Seema served as deputy director at Cricket Island Foundation, a family foundation that supports youth-led social change. At Cricket Island, Seema oversaw the Foundation's assessment, communications, and grantmaking efforts and helped advance the Foundation's work on organizational development and capacity-building.
From 2010-2016, Seema was Foundation Center's director of research for special projects, spearheading dozens of projects that provided grantmakers with the data and information needed to make strategic decisions. At Foundation Center, Seema helped the research team move from traditional written reports to more diverse ways of communicating data and information, including visually engaging print publications, data visualizations, and online knowledge management tools.
Seema led the Center's work on groundbreaking initiatives, leading the teams that developed WASHfunders.org, a portal focused on the global water crisis, and BMAfunders.org, a site focused on philanthropy's support for improving life outcomes for Black men and boys. Seema's portfolio included a broad range of philanthropic clients, both internationally and domestically.
Before joining Foundation Center, Seema co-directed a national, longitudinal study on community organizing and school reform at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. The six-year, $2.2 million study involved more than 300 interviews, 800 surveys, and 75 field visits and represents one of the most comprehensive studies to date of community organizing. The study's findings are summarized in a series of reports, as well as a book, Community Organizing for Stronger Schools, published by Harvard Education Press.
As a researcher, Seema has built a reputation for combining rock-solid research chops with a keen eye for effective communications, always aiming to defy the classic case of a report sitting on a shelf gathering dust. Seema writes clearly and concisely, conveying complex ideas in accessible ways and ensuring stakeholders have the data they need to improve their practice and make critical decisions.
As a project manager, Seema understands how to foster collaboration, deftly managing large, multi-stakeholder teams, while making sure projects meet their deadlines. 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 completed her clinical internship and a post-doctoral fellowship at The Consultation Center at the Yale University School of Medicine. Seema is the author of more than twenty publications and is a seasoned speaker.
Seema works with clients across the globe and is based in Brooklyn, New York and Atlanta, Georgia.