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PMC Welcomes Clinton Sears As Director of Research, Evaluation, and Impact

Nov 01, 2021

Impact — it’s the ultimate goal.

Population Media Center (PMC) produces dozens of effective entertainment-education programs. They generate behavioral change that promotes healthier, more fulfilled lives for women and girls. But the linchpin of PMC’s successful, proven methodology is evaluating and communicating the results.

That’s the overarching objective for Clinton Sears, PMC’s new Director of Research, Evaluation, and Impact, who started in September. He’s in charge of building on PMC’s rigorous evaluation process and finding the best ways to convey the cost-effective results of its programs.

In addition to a commitment to producing high-quality TV and radio shows, “PMC has a robust theory of change that explains how and why the programming works. That’s really important for someone like me. It’s not just a piecemeal approach,” Sears says. “PMC is strategic about the kind of work they do, how it’s set up, and the systematic collection of data that tests their model.”

As importantly, PMC is willing to rethink its programming strategies and refine its approach when needed.

“There’s a strong focus on iterative growth,” Sears says. “PMC is open to organizational improvement.”

Sears will help advance organizational improvement as he refines methodologies and introduces new data sources for the website and staff use. “I’m excited about finding ways to communicate what we’re doing through interactive maps and simple data visualizations, things that people who don’t have a background in research can understand,” he says.

His extensive research background is varied.

Before he started at PMC, Sears was director of the monitoring, evaluation, and learning unit for Tetra Tech ARD, a Burlington, Vermont-based division of the company, which provides technical, engineering, and consulting services around the world.

His international work started with a Peace Corps stint teaching science in the Philippines and includes experience with USAID, UNICEF, and other global development programs. “I have a lot of on-the-ground management experience with all these partners PMC works with,” Sears says.

Among his objectives is to ensure PMC teams get the data they need quickly and in a format they can use. Another is to standardize templates for business forms for contracts across PMC offices in different countries. He already has ensured PMC staff at headquarters and in Africa have immediate access to data collected through digital means.

Sears will have a big part in PMC’s overall strategic vision.

“As PMC explores new and innovative ways to apply its theory of change to advance its mission, Clinton will lead our efforts to make sure our research methodology evolves to continue the organization’s focus on generating measurable impact, and to do so within a broader range of programmatic approaches and contexts,” PMC Executive Vice President David Walker says.

Whatever approaches and contexts Sears works with, the interest in data by PMC teams across departments will support his initiatives.

“There’s a culture of data appreciation at PMC,” he says. “People are genuinely interested in using data and communicating messages that are really rigorous, and that’s what my team does. It’s very exciting.”

When he’s not deep in data, Sears skis in the winter and hikes during summer, when he explores mountain trails on the New England Hundred Highest list. He also maintains a large garden at his Vermont home.

And there’s his hat hobby — Sears enjoys knitting. “I do make some great hats,” he notes.

No matter how many hats he may wear eventually for PMC, the mission-driven nonprofit is a good fit for him. “PMC places a premium on the quality of the work,” Sears says. “That resonates with me.”