Our Team

Onward is a network of veteran nonprofit leaders: CEOs, executive directors, and senior managers who joined together in 2010 to bring top quality services to the nonprofit sector without exorbitant consulting costs. We have run organizations ranging in size from $250,000 to $25 million, from a staff of one to 175. Each of us achieved success creating and growing our organizations, and each of us wanted to do more and learn more.

Our team has honed expertise in:

  • Strategy
  • Fundraising
  • Planning and change management
  • Organizational development
  • Leadership development
  • Talent search
  • Accountability systems
  • Project management

We have strong industry expertise in youth and community development, mentoring, education, college-access, charter schools, and immigrant communities.

Our consultants have served in the highest executive positions and earned high recognition from the White House, the World Trade Organization, the US Senate, Accenture, and the Washington Post, among others.

We understand mission work and the passion and promise it contains. It is the best work!


Maureen Holla, Managing Partner

Maureen Holla is relentless in her efforts to deliver excellence. She is a recognized nonprofit leader, innovator, and social entrepreneur with deep expertise in transformational leadership, organizational development, fundraising, and education.
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Vanita BhargavaVanita Bhargava, Partner

Vanita Bhargava has spent her career working to better the lives of children and families by improving programs and the organizations that serve them. Vanita has worked with a broad range of organizations including Pew Charitable Trusts, Kaiser Permanente, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Playworks and the Boston Ballet.
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Jennn PhotoJennn Fusion, Writer

Jennn is a wordsmith with more than a decade of experience researching, writing and editing copy for clients. She delivers well-researched, timely, search-optimized content including: webpages, blogs, articles, eBooks, press releases, newsletters, social media posts, proposals and case statements, and white papers. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and English in 2003 from SUNY Geneseo.
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Onward also relies on and engages a team of Advisors.  

Advisors are former Onward Consultants who provide insight and context, but do not manage contracts.

Karin Walser, Advisor

Karin Walser is known as a social entrepreneur, political communications director, and the founder and long-time executive director of Horton’s Kids. Late one night in 1989, Karin met some homeless children at a gas station and — inspired by their promise — founded the DC nonprofit Horton’s Kids to help them succeed.
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Isadora Carreras, Advisor

Isadora Carreras is a fundraising expert with more than a decade of experience in development. Her expertise includes major gifts, institutional giving, capital campaign management, direct mail, volunteer management, and special events.
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Marcy Mistrett, Advisor

Marcy Mistrett is the executive director of the Campaign for Youth Justice and lifelong activist. She has worked in youth development and education for almost 20 years. She was a social worker with the community defender’s office in Evanston, IL, a community organizer east of the river in Washington, DC, the founding executive director of Posse DC, and director of Amazing Life Games early childhood center.
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Colleagues in Practice

Occasionally, Onward contracts colleagues of exceptional expertise to join them on contracts. These colleagues include:

Hala Harik Hayes:  Hala brings significant civic engagement expertise to Onward, finding ways to bring people into discussions that help inform policy and practice. Hayes is an independent consultant who worked with the groundbreaking nonprofit AmericaSpeaks and in the office of DC Mayor Anthony Williams. Hayes is passionate about engaging people on issues they care about and helping them to set forward a collaborative agenda.

Hayes has more than 10 years of experience working in the public and nonprofit sector with particular focus on designing, facilitating, and managing large-scale interactive meetings. She has a master’s degree in public administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs.