Samantha Wigand

Samantha Wigand

Samantha Wigand is committed to working with communities to ensure that all residents have equitable education, health, and economic opportunities.

Beginning her career as a clinician in children’s mental health, Samantha quickly came to believe that focusing her work on integrated, aligned and data-driven community systems was the most effective way to produce demonstrable improvements for children. Samantha has dedicated her career to working with national organizations, community nonprofits, and government agencies to strengthen community systems and services.

Samantha’s technical assistance and coaching expertise is informed by ten years of local implementation and success.  Samantha began focusing her career on systems and community change while interning with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. Samantha then joined United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, where among other things she oversaw and monitored more than $2,000,000 of outcome-based investments in social services annually.  Through this experience Samantha became skilled in providing technical assistance and conducting training for community providers, monitoring funded programs’ outcomes and data, and working with providers to use their data to make process improvements.

Samantha also used these skills to develop Read to Success, a successful multi-site early literacy/school readiness initiative that received $3,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and increased the number of at-risk children ready for school from 54% to 95%.  As part of that work, Samantha worked at a state level with the Governor’s office to procure public and private funding for new pre-K classrooms throughout Tennessee and brokered successful public-private partnerships between state education agencies and private child care providers.

In 2008 Samantha joined United Way Worldwide, the leadership organization for the global United Way network, to lead a variety of national projects and provide technical assistance to affiliates in China, Latin America and the Caribbean.   Samantha spent over eight years working with communities to produce population-level change using a collective impact approach: engaging a broad-cross section of the community; listening to formal and informal partners and community members to facilitate the development of a shared agenda; using public knowledge, national research and local data to set strategy; mobilizing communities to action; continuously monitoring progress, and sharing results back to the community.  National partners included Strive Together, Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, UCLA Center for Healthy Children and Families, and Harvard Family Research Project.

As a certified coach with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Samantha has empowered communities to engage not just formal partners – service providers, government, donors, etc. – but also to meaningfully engage families, parents and neighborhoods around the issues that matter most to them.    Samantha has accomplished this work by cultivating learning communities that include virtual learning and knowledge sharing as well as individual on-site technical assistance, cohort technical assistance, and peer-to-peer learning via state, regional and national meetings.

Most recently, Samantha has been consulting with multiple communities and initiatives on early learning, community impact and community change. She is a skilled strategist, project manager, facilitator and analyst.

Samantha has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a master's degree in social work (Administration and Community Practice) from the University of Tennessee. She lives with her two sons and husband in Brentwood, TN.