Jane Mosley has been directing Health Forward’s learning and evaluation for the last 15 years. Early on, she co-led our Healthy Lifestyles funding round and served as a program officer, managing a portfolio of grants.
In all her roles, she has worked closely with our staff and grantees. She has led our team through efforts to define success and understand our impact as a foundation. Under her leadership, Health Forward developed theories of change that guided our work. She has also engaged our partners in efforts to quantify and qualify our collective impact as we worked together toward healthy people in healthy communities.
I got to sit down with Jane to discuss her tenure at Health Forward.
Cori: What are some of your favorite memories of Health Forward?
Jane: After 15 years there are so many great memories that it is hard to pull out just one or two. But, our time at Health Forward’s office at 18th and Prospect was very special to me. We used to eat lunch together in the front meeting room and really got to know each other. Many of us started around the same time, and we spent a lot of time together at work and outside of the office. We went to Royals games (although we had to drag some people along!) and volunteered together.
In this job I have been blessed to interact with so many committed, passionate, and fun people — both within the foundation walls and in the community.
Cori: How has Health Forward changed during your tenure?
Jane: When I started, we were very much in our infancy as an organization. Grantees dropped off paper copies of grants, often within a few minutes under the deadline. Our staff was much smaller, too, and our roles overlapped more. It was an “all hands on deck” approach.
Cori: What are you most proud of from your time at Health Forward?
Jane: I’m proud of the way we have worked with our communities — we have always tried to approach our work with humility. We know our grantees and community members are the experts.
I remember the first time we did a grantee survey, over a decade ago. The results included a word cloud that highlighted what grantees said about working with us. Their most popular and common descriptions were positive words like partner, supportive, and responsive. I still remember our reaction when we all saw that: the results gave us affirmation that we were approaching the work in the right way as a supportive partner.
I’m also proud that Health Forward hasn’t shied away from difficult conversations and controversial topics. We have used our voice to advocate when necessary. Our board members and staff have taken on tough endeavors, including ballot initiatives and a lawsuit.
Cori: What are some of the biggest challenges the organization has faced?
Jane: Since I have been at Health Forward, the community has faced two, once-in-a-lifetime challenges. The first was the recession in 2008. Our partners and communities were obviously disproportionately affected. And more recently, we have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, which again has hit many of those we work with the hardest. During such events, the resources we have pale next to the need, but we are continually amazed by how our partners adapt and serve the community.
Cori: Thinking back to your early days at Health Forward, what surprises you the most about where we are now?
Jane: If you had told me we would be able to function remotely, with Zoom meetings, electronic signatures, electronic fund transfers, and so on, I wouldn’t have believed it. After our early days at our humble Prospect office — with electrical issues, leaks, and open cubicles — I also can’t believe we have offices with doors!
Cori: What do you enjoy most about your role at Health Forward?
Jane: Seeing and learning about all the great work in our communities. I get to see the stories our partners share in their reports about the impact they have in the community. We have the privilege of seeing the full picture of progress in so many areas.
On Jane’s 15th anniversary, we also wanted to give her colleagues the chance to share some thoughts, stories, and memories about Jane.
- At the time Jane came aboard, Health Forward was still very new, and there was zero evaluation in or around our work. Jane had to be the trailblazer in the area of evaluation for our foundation, and she remained a ‘lone frontiersman’ in that regard for the first ELEVEN years of her tenure. Some of her major achievements include:
- Jane is a true team player and cultivator of organizational culture. If there is a Health Forward team-building event — or just plain fun with our colleagues — Jane will be in the center of it. She is the inaugural member of the Health Forward Royals Bandwagon Committee and runner-up in Health Forward’s Pickleball Celebrity Tournament (aka a showdown between Rick Zimmer and Jane). She is warm, she is loyal, and she makes sure people feel valued and get the credit they deserve.
- Besides her sense of humor and mastery of some significant urban slag, I have always admired Jane’s sincere compassion for our grant partners. She has assisted many of our partners in their understanding of measuring outcomes, breaking down the complex into understandable approaches. Her mantra of “more is not better” when it comes to measuring outcomes has been an appreciated message both internally and externally. For many years, Jane humbly helped support the program team by serving as a reviewer and carrying a portfolio…thank you!
- From the beginning, I have appreciated Jane’s approach to learning and evaluation, and her compassionate yet no-nonsense style of reviewing grants, and she always has helpful insight to provide. We are also lucky to have a Jamie Lee Curtis look-alike as a member of the team.
- Jane is always grantee-focused in her work, helpful, responsive, thoughtful, and insightful. She cares about co-workers, and we all enjoy her sense of humor — it’s contagious!
- One of the things that I appreciate most about Jane is her sense of humor and ability to listen with empathy.
- Anyone who works closely with Jane knows the value of NOT scheduling meetings over the lunch hour without food and NOT letting her get hangry.
- There is perhaps no one as loyal and dedicated to our mission and our partners than Jane. She always brings the voice of our partners to the table. She is a person I go to for a gut check and wise counsel, whether on the Royals, college basketball, kids, or work.
- For Jane’s quinceañera at Health Forward, I wanted to share some things I have learned from Jane that have impacted my personal and professional life. The list is long, but here are the top three that come to mind.
- When going to a Royals game, ALWAYS stay until the end of the game for good luck!
- When developing a logic model, less Is more!
- Ask for the names of the important people in your colleague’s lives. Jane will always ask for your family member’s names (you can’t refer to them as only “my brother, daughter, my niece, etc.”), because she thinks it’s important to refer to people by their names. The wildest thing is that she WILL remember their names, no matter how many family members you may have.