Jennifer Flowers, MBA, Founder & CEO
A nationally renowned expert in accreditation and nonprofit governance, Jennifer Flowers is the founder and CEO of Accreditation Guru, Inc. Jennifer has devoted her 20+ year career to working with a variety of organizations in the social services, behavioral healthcare, and education sectors, including the role of Director of Accreditation Commission at the Council on Accreditation (COA). Jennifer’s background gives her firsthand knowledge of what reviewers look for during an onsite survey and what commissioners need to make an informed accreditation decision.
Jennifer’s professional knowledge offers clients expertise in accreditation preparation, organization-wide strategic planning, board of director development, retreat facilitation, quality improvement programs, and risk management strategies. As a professional speaker, Jennifer designs and delivers customized training workshops on a variety of accreditation and nonprofit governance topics.
Prior to founding Accreditation Guru, Inc. in 2009, Jennifer has held key management positions in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Jennifer is also certified in Nonprofit Board Education by BoardSource.
Diane Barnes, Accreditation Consultant
Throughout her career, Diane has played an integral role in the (re)accreditation of many nonprofit organizations while serving as a manager, as a board member and an independent consultant. She has successfully led organizations to become (re)accredited through her internal roles as a hospital director and as the COO of a mental health and substance abuse center, among others.
Diane is widely recognized for her ability to effectively work with and guide personnel from within all levels of an organization, including staff, managers, board members, and volunteers, to successfully earn (re)accreditation while maintaining focus on the agency’s mission. Her experiences with the Council on Accreditation (COA), the Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO), and the Commission on Accreditation and Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) provide her with the distinct ability to assist organizations in determining appropriate accreditation needs. Diane’s workshops in the fields of strategic planning, cultural diversity, team building, and board development have received rave reviews nation-wide..
Diane has constructively consulted with organizations of varying budgets and sizes, both faith-based and secular, local agencies, and those providing services in multiple states across the country. She believes that developing and maintaining the highest standards of excellence are essential characteristics for every productive organization. She approaches her client organizations as true partners throughout the (re)accreditation process – before, during, and after accreditation is achieved.
Tracy Collander, LCSW, Accreditation Consultant
Tracy has been a leader in the field of behavioral health for over 25 years with experience in child welfare, addiction treatment, community mental health, and as the Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Accreditation program for The Joint Commission. Currently, Tracy is the Executive Director of a hospital-based behavioral health department in Illinois.
Tracy is a licensed clinical social worker with a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College and has a management certificate from DePaul University.
Bobbie Lison, Accreditation Consultant
As a peer reviewer and team leader for the Council on Accreditation (COA) for more than ten years, Bobbie has reviewed a variety of agencies, including nonprofit, religious, and military organizations, among others. Bobbie’s concentrations include, but are not limited to, Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) programs and Financial Education and Counseling Services (FEC.) During the past 17 years, Bobbie has served as operations manager, program manager, and PQI chair for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI. She has led the agency through two consecutive successful reaccreditations as the reaccreditation point person. Bobbie holds certifications as a consumer credit counselor, student loan counselor, and housing counselor. She currently chairs the National Asset Development Committee for Catholic Charities, USA, where she also serves as a national trainer. Bobbie presently sits on several local boards, committees, and collaborative efforts. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. A strong supporter of the accreditation process, Bobbie believes that earning and maintaining accreditation allows agencies to affirm what they are doing well and offers organizations the opportunity to strengthen their services through nationally accepted best practices.
Maddi Noleen, MSW, Accreditation Consultant
In addition to earning a master’s degree in social work, Maddi has more than 25 years of accreditation experience in areas including child welfare, behavioral health, and adoption; she also served as executive director for a state-wide, faith-based child welfare agency for 15 years. Maddi currently is a Peer Reviewer, Team Leader and Military Reviewer for Council on Accreditation (COA). She volunteers her services to private and public organizations in the US and abroad with a focus on multiple program best practices within the social services, private, and intercountry adoption realms. Maddi has provided technical assistance and implementation recommendations, including the organization and reviewing of documentation, to complete the accreditation process for several of her employers. She is exceptionally knowledgeable about US Department of State regulations for intercountry adoption (Hague Accreditation Standards).
Maddi’s experience and expertise allow her to partner with organizations in a variety of areas, including policy and procedure development, staff training, administration and management standards implementation, and program development, all in line with COA and CARF accreditation standards. Maddi received her BSW from the University of Southern Colorado and holds her MSW from New Mexico Highlands University with a concentration in Administration and Family Services.
Carol Smith, Accreditation Consultant
Throughout her 35-year career working in the behavioral health field as a clinician, supervisor, administrator, and consultant, Carol brings a variety of human services experiences serving others to Accreditation Guru. Her experiences include working in prevention and education, outpatient and intensive outpatient care, residential and inpatient care, sub-acute detoxification, and psychosocial and vocational programs. She also has worked in programs dedicated to special populations, including adolescents, those in the criminal justice system, and persons with co-occurring disorders. Ms. Smith presently serves as the clinical director for Catholic Human Services, Inc., a Catholic Charities organization that provides services throughout 21 counties in northern Michigan.
Ms. Smith’s experience as a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for the past 24 years provides her with an exceptional foundation from which to guide our clients through the accreditation process. In addition, she is a survey report editor, trainer and mentor, and serves on the appeals board for CARF.
Carol received her MA in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Advanced Addiction Counselor.
Mary W. Weaver, MSW, Accreditation Consultant
Mary has served those in child welfare for more than 30 years. As a human service program representative specializing in child welfare, she works at the state level to improve and ensure transparency, internal best practices, and quality and efficiency for numerous nonprofit agencies and consumers of services. She is a peer reviewer and Hague lead evaluator for the Council of Accreditation (COA). Mary also has extensive experience in overseeing and monitoring compliance of child welfare regulation, providing technical assistance, conducting site surveys, and evaluating private and public agencies to ensure the safety of children and families. She was instrumental in developing a quality service review tool that is currently applied to measure organizational programs and services and identify inconsistencies with systems that are directly related to service outcomes. Mary has specialized in domestic adoptions for an historic child welfare agency in Pennsylvania, which required direct communication with prospective adoptive families and partnering with numerous social service agencies. This collaboration included developing and writing home studies and child profiles and coordinating legal services with child advocates and attorneys.
Mary received her Master of Social Work Administration, Policy, and Planning degree from Rutgers State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Tuskegee University.
Kristen J. Schmidt, MSW, Ph.D
Kristen’s education and professional background span both social work and psychology. She holds a masters degree in Social Work and a doctorate degree in Psychology; both from Arizona State University. She has been licensed as an Independent Social Worker and Psychologist in Arizona.
Kristen has more than 30 years of accreditation experience in behavioral health and child welfare. She served as COO for a faith-based organization for 17 years and saw them through 4 successful reaccreditation reviews. She has worked closely with Governing Boards on program development and strategic planning initiatives.
As a COA reviewer, Kristen has participated in over 30 site reviews. She is experienced as a peer reviewer and team leader and has reviewed private non-profit as well as for-profit agencies, Military Reviews, and Canadian Agencies.
She has served as Adjunct Faculty for Northern Arizona University and Maricopa and Central Arizona Community Colleges. Additionally, she has written materials and conducted workshops on PQI, Program and Outcome Evaluation and Ethical Practices.
Viviane Ngwa, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
Viviane Ngwa is an Illinois licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 25 years of experience in the human services field in both non-profit and for-profit arenas having led core growth and new business development in multiple states. She comes with leadership experience in the provision of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, services to youth with juvenile probation involvement as well as extensive experience in child welfare and behavioral health service structure across many states.
Viviane is a current member of the Board of Directors of Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) and a past Board President. She was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Council on Accreditation (COA) where she currently serves on the Standards Committee and the Board Development Committee. She has been a COA Peer Reviewer Team Leader and a Hague Evaluator for many years leading numerous accreditation site visits across the United States and Canada.
Vivian’s international experience in child welfare includes chairing the Social Work Tri-City Exchange between Chicago Hamburg, Germany and Birmingham, England. She was also invited by the American Embassy as a subject matter expert to lead planning discussions and presentations on de-institutionalization and community placement options for children and adults with disabilities stepping out of state-run residential facilities in Latvia and Lithuania.
Viviane holds a master’s degree in Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Global Policy Studies from the University of Georgia.
Dave Branding, PhD
With more than 40 years of administrative, executive leadership and board governance experience in a variety of health and human service organizations, integrated delivery systems and health plans, Dave has served as a provider, purchaser and funder. He specializes in achieving and maintaining accreditation, improving risk management practices and creating supportive accountability systems.
Working at CARF International for more than 12 years, Dave has led more than 120 accreditation surveys across 40 states and provinces as an administrative and program surveyor, team leader and report-writer for the Behavioral Health, Opioid Treatment Program, Employment and Community Support and Business and Services Management Network standard manuals. He also serves on CARF’s appeal and review boards.
In addition to administering several million dollars in grant funding, he has delivered dozens of conference program presentations and participated in more than 20 statewide and national policy and practice improvement initiatives.
Dave earned a Doctorate in Education and Master of Arts degree, along with a certificate in transition planning, from Southern Illinois University. He received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Central Michigan University.
Our team has professional experience working with the following accreditation organizations, in addition to numerous other international, national, and state accrediting bodies: COA - Council on Accreditation CARF The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) Hague - Intercountry Adoption Accreditation IACET - International Association for Continuing Education and Training