Founder, Sparkfire Strategy
Dr. Lisa Karlisch is founder and principal of Sparkfire Strategy, a strategic consulting firm focused on serving corporations, foundations, and nonprofit institutions in the health care, social services, and education sectors. She helps organizations set their strategic direction, build sustainable business models, and establish effective organizational systems and structures to optimize the execution of their missions. Lisa has worked with hundreds of organizations to develop the vision for their organization or functional area and then chart the path to achieve that vision. She also works extensively with senior executives and management teams to develop leadership skills, build effective teams, and design high-performing organizations. Lisa believes in the importance of driving strategy through execution to enable organizations to deliver results.
Lisa has a broad base of operational and consulting experience in both nonprofit and commercial organizations. Lisa’s consulting experience began at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, where she facilitated the strategies of numerous Fortune 500 organizations. She was chief administrative officer for Buchanan & Edwards, a government IT consulting firm, where she oversaw and strengthened all back-office functions within the organization. There, she implemented quality control programs like ISO 9000 and CMMI. She also served as chief operating officer at the Center for Multicultural Human Services, a community mental health organization dedicated to serving the needs of immigrants and refugees.
Lisa received her Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from Duke University. She also has a B.S. from Virginia Tech in Psychology and Sociology. She is active on a number of boards including Child Trends, where she chairs the Finance Committee, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institution where she chairs the Development Committee, the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund where she serves on the Executive Committee, and the Virginia Tech Campaign Steering Committee.