Kate Harrison is owner and principal of Kate Harrison Consulting, specializing in management and financial analysis for government agencies in the western United States and beyond. Projects conducted by the firm have included program and organizational evaluations; facilitation of coordinated interagency efforts; workflow analysis and documentation; development of human resources and labor relations policies; financial analyses and creation of public information materials.
Kate Harrison has managed and analyzed public sector operations for over twenty years. As Assistant Director and Director of the California Administrative Office of the Courts Trial Court Programs Division, Ms. Harrison directed 65 staff in a variety of analytical and outreach programs affecting the operations of the California courts. The division was responsible for analyzing and developing proposals to deal with legislative, programmatic and funding issues; assisting trial courts in requesting and managing state funding; and coordinating liaison efforts between the state Administrative Office of the Courts and local trial courts of California, bar associations, public interest groups, and judges' associations.
Ms. Harrison also served as Assistant to the Mayor of San Francisco, Assistant Executive Officer for the San Francisco Trial Courts, and Finance Manager for a transportation projects for the City of San Francisco. She began her career as a member of a consulting practice evaluating the efficacy of local government operations throughout California. Ms. Harrison has a BA and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley. Kate is an active member of the National Association for Court Management and the Municipal Management Association of Northern California.
Phyllis E. Smith
Phyllis E. Smith has more than 20 years of experience in justice sector management, with a focus on business process reengineering, systems’ integration, implementation of case management systems, and integrated accounts management. Recent consulting projects include an assessment of the Judicial Information Center for the Arab Republic of Egypt; a requirements definition for the Hawaii Judiciary Integrated Case Management System; an information plan for the State of North Dakota Judiciary; work flow analyses of the Probate, Civil and Family Law Divisions of the Santa Clara Superior Court; and a feasibility study and master plan for the Hong Kong Judiciary and Information Technology Systems Department.
As a government manager, Ms. Smith played key roles in the development and implementation of multi-agency automated case management systems; transfer of responsibility for parking citation processing; training programs for use of automated systems; development of a therapeutic court for homeless veterans; and projects to inform the public about government processes.
Ms. Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration, both from California State University.
Curtis L. DeClue
As a practicing attorney, consultant, technology executive and former presiding judge, Mr. DeClue brings a broad background and extensive, real-world experience to his engagements. Mr. Declue provides consulting services in the areas of court administration and case management best practices; business process analysis and reengineering; project management; and technology assessment, planning, procurement and contract negotiations. His law practice focuses on technology and software transaction planning, technology governance and compliance, e-government, e-discovery, privacy and intellectual property issues.
Mr. DeClue has managed and participated in a wide-range of consulting and technology projects involving some of the nation's largest jurisdictions, including a number of statewide projects. Mr. DeClue has also worked extensively overseas, serving as a justice consultant on U.S. Agency for International Development-funded projects. He is a frequent speaker and participates in many professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Forum for the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT) and has served on the National Center for State Court's Case Management Standards Committee and the CourTools Working Group.
Mr. DeClue received his undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He teaches regularly and is currently a member of the permanent faculty of the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Widener University School of Law. He resides in Seattle, Washington.
Tara Jen Ambrosio
Tara Jen Ambrosio is an expert in conducting multi-agency criminal justice and social service process reengineering and information technology projects at the local and state level. Among recent projects, Ms. Ambrosio evaluated statewide operations of the Illinois Department of Corrections; developed information sharing protocols and data collection methods for the Santa Clara Unified Family Court; managed business process changes and systems' integration for Clark County, Nevada's newly formed Department of Family and Youth Services; designed, tested, documented, and developed training for expanding and linking Santa Clara County's data warehouse system to the existing systems of the Departments of Mental Health, Public Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, Public Health, School-Linked Services, Adult Probation, and Family and Children Services; and participated in a management audit of the domestic violence intervention and recovery program operated by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
Ms. Ambrosio is an Adjunct Professor at Sonoma State University, Department of Criminal Justice. She previously served as Research Director for the National Criminal Justice Commission where she co-wrote and edited The Real War on Crime: Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (HarperCollins,1996). Ms. Ambrosio has an M.S. in Justice, Law and Society from the School of Public Affairs at The American University and a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College.
Hampton Smith is a multidisciplinary research and writing professional with 20 years of experience in the public sector. Mr. Smith has broad exposure to government as a consultant in projects as diverse as evaluation of unmet legal needs in Santa Clara County, assessment of human resource needs for the Mariposa Superior Court and creation of public service brochures and procedural manuals for a number of California employers as well as his tenure at the California Judicial Council, serving as a Regional Analyst and staff to the Traffic Advisory Committee. Mr. Smith has also served as Foreign Service Officer with assignments in Africa, Asia and the U.S. State Department and a Management Analyst for the City of Berkeley, California. Mr. Smith earned his BA degree from Yale University and his MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
Wendy Constantine of Research and Evaluation Systems
Wendy Constantine has over 25 years of experience conducting social and behavioral research and applying research results to real-world problems in the areas of family law, post-secondary education and child well-being. She has successfully designed and implemented a variety of national and statewide research and training programs, with demonstrated expertise in a) program evaluation; b) survey design and data collection; c) training design, delivery and evaluation; d) preparation of proposals and reports for publication or dissemination; and e) grant management, budgeting and cost containment. Recent clients include the University of California Survey Research Center, the Center for Health Leadership, the California Judicial Council, and the Center for Community Wellness. Prior to becoming a consultant, Ms. Constantine managed the California Judicial Councils research grant program to determine effective alternative dispute resolution techniques and other methods available to family courts.
Michael Semler has 25 years of experience as a financial advisor for major capital projects for the State of California and agencies throughout the state; developing policy options and formulating legislative initiatives at the national, state and municipal levels; and representing state and local elected officials before community and civic organizations and federal, state, and regional regulatory agencies. Mr. Semler holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and teaches at the graduate school level in public policy, government, judicial administration and organizational studies .at the University of San Francisco and Sacramento State University.
Cyndi Spindell Berck
Cyndi Spindell Berck is an experienced attorney and policy analyst. Ms. Berck practiced law for six years in the field of employment law, working first for the California State Employees' Association and then for a private firm. She later worked as a policy planner for the San Francisco Department of Human Services, as an aide for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and as a journalist. Currently, she teaches paralegal studies at California State University, Hayward. She earned her JD and Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Full resumes are available upon request.
Coaching Managers for Success
A Collaboration with Myers Coaching and Consulting
Susan Myers is a Leadership Development Coach who helps organizations and individuals attain success. A former Court Executive for California trial courts, Susan understands the challenges that executives, leaders, and professionals experience. Her clients come from court, legal, government, business, and non-profit organizations. Susan has recently begun collaborating with Kate Harrison Consulting on court leadership projects.
Coaching is a process of helping clients become clear about their goals, establish plans to meet them, eliminate barriers, and hold themselves accountable to follow through on action plans. There is no therapy involved in coaching. Coaching is well-known in the business world; its benefits have been well researched and documented. Susan is committed to introducing the benefits of coaching to the judicial branch as well as public and non-profit organizations.
Organizations hire Susan to help leadership teams pull together around a shared mission, address conflicts, enhance team performance, anticipate and manage change, and more. Organizations also hire Susan to help develop prospective future leaders for succession to higher positions. Individual clients typically hire Susan to become more effective leaders, remove barriers to success, increase income, resolve work conflicts and enhance work/life balance. The confidentiality of coaching discussions creates a comfortable space for clients to explore ideas and approaches in a supportive environment.
Susan is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Credentialed Coach and a graduate of Advanced Corporate Coach University. Her education also includes an undergraduate degree in psychology with graduate work in public and business administration, and law. She served as a member of the California Judicial Council's Governing Committee for Judicial Education and Research and was faculty for leadership courses for judicial officers and court administrators. She was also a member of several Judicial Council Advisory Committees, including the Court Administrators' Advisory Committee.
Special Services For Family and Juvenile Courts
A Collaboration Of The New Family Center and Kate Harrison Consulting
The New Family Center in Tiburon, California, headed by Isolina Ricci, Ph.D., provides consulting and professional education to courts, communities, and government. Dr. Ricci conducts strength analyses, facilitates strategic planning and detailed action plans, assessments of stakeholder needs, statistical reporting, and facilitates management and planning efforts. Kate Harrison Consulting and The New Family Center each assisted three California courts in developing assessments and detailed action plans for coordinating and unifying family, juvenile and guardianship matters.
Dr. Ricci has worked in the areas of family and children for more than 30 years. She headed the Statewide Office of Family Court Services (SOFCS) from 1986-2000 and served as Assistant Director of the California Judicial Councils Center for Families, Children, & the Courts (CFCC) and of the Trial Court Services Division (acting).
Dr. Ricci was one of the pioneers in the field of family mediation, parent education, and clinical interventions for children and families undergoing divorce and family reorganization and is the author of the classic Moms House, Dads House: The Complete Guide for Parents Who Are Separated, Divorced, or Remarried. She earned her doctorate from Stanford University, is a licensed child and family therapist, the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Family Mediators, a Rockefeller Bellagio Center Scholar and frequent contributor to the professional and popular press. Her most recent publications include The Courts, Child Custody, and Visitation in the National Council on Family Relations Report and "Assessing and Managing the Services Component of Unified and Coordinated Family Courts: Learning From 22 Years of Mandatory Court-Based Family Mediation".