Sparkfire Strategy provides strategy, planning, and implementation services to foundations, non-profit organizations, and corporations with special emphasis on the social service, education, and health care sectors. We believe in three certainties: real work solves problems, a pragmatic approach delivers results, and galvanizing people has the power to transform any organization. Sparkfire Strategy combines bold strategy and effective execution to ignite bright and lasting impact.



True Impact – We attack issues that present the greatest opportunity for delivering impact.

  • Often what a client asks for at the beginning is not actually the area of greatest need.
  • We spend time initially to understand a client’s full business context to ensure the engagement focuses on the issues of highest priority.

Real Work – Our job is not just to diagnose the problem.

  • We roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
  • From market research to evaluating vendor solutions to implementing new processes, we do the work it takes to solve problems.

Pragmatic Implementation – We are grounded about what can be achieved and how quickly.

  • With hands-on experience running organizations, we understand that practical realities can interfere with the best plans and intentions.
  • We help achieve quick wins while planning for long-term goals to energize the team and demonstrate what can be accomplished.
  • We know plans will be modified and refined as a client’s grows; we help put processes in place to affect change over time.

Tailored Methodology – We are adept at tailoring our methodology to meet a client’s specific needs.

  • We involve the appropriate stakeholders in the right way.
  • Rather than reinventing, we employ data, information, and resources that already exist.
  • We develop timelines that align with the realities of managing day-to-day.

Collaborative Approach – We believe partnering with clients results in invested leadership.

  • Involving clients at each step of the way facilitates “buy in,” which produces enhanced results.
  • The client must feel they own the final product for the work to be effective.

People Engagement – We always consider the impact of change on a client’s people.

  • Change is hard, even for people who are excited about it. As a result, we try to mitigate the negative effects of change on an organization’s staff and culture.
  • We believe in building on strengths that already exist within an organization.
  • Any change requires new skills/behaviors from people. We help staff gain valuable skills and modify behavior.


Lisa Karlisch founded Sparkfire Strategy to provide expert consulting services to foundations and non-profit institutions in the social services, education, and health care domains. She helps organizations build sustainable business models and effective organizational systems/structures that optimize the execution of their missions. Lisa leads every engagement and builds a team with additional consulting resources as needed.

Lisa has a broad base of both operational and consulting experience in both non-profit and commercial organizations. Her operational experience stems from serving as Chief Program Officer at the Center for Multicultural Human Services, a community mental health organization dedicated to serving the needs of immigrants and refugees. There she was responsible for managing all of the service delivery of the organization ensuring that it met quality standards and complied with funding requirements. Lisa also served as Chief Administrative Officer for Buchanan & Edwards, a government IT consulting firm. There she was responsible for overseeing and managing process improvement for all of the organizational support functions including Business Development, Contracting, Finance, HR, Security and Recruiting.

Lisa’s consulting experience started with her career at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves as an advisors for the world’s leading businesses, organizations, and governments to solve their most difficult issues. There she focused in the health care and non-profit sectors to develop strategies to launch new products, improve competitive positioning, and enable growth. She has also partnered on consulting engagements with a number of boutique consulting firms headed by ex-McKinsey consultants.

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.

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