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, board member and independent consultant. She has successfully led organizations through the (re)accreditation process during 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 within all levels of an organization, including staff, managers, volunteers and board members to successfully earn (re)accreditation while maintaining focus on the agency’s mission. Her experiences with the Council on Accreditation (COA), The Joint Commission, 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 receive rave reviews nationwide.
Diane has constructively consulted with organizations of varying budgets and sizes including faith-based and secular from local agencies, to ones that provide services in multiple states. She believes that developing and maintaining the highest standards of excellence are essential characteristics for every productive organization and 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 more than 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. Tracy is the Regional Director of behavioral health for a large Chicago-based hospital and health care system in Illinois.
Tracy is a licensed clinical social worker with an MSW in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She earned a BS in psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College and received a management certificate from DePaul University.
Bobbie Lison, Accreditation Consultant
As a peer reviewer and team leader at the Council on Accreditation (COA) for more than ten years, Bobbie has reviewed a variety of agencies, including nonprofit, faith based, 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 19 years, Bobbie has served as operations manager, program manager, and PQI chair for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI. She has guided the agency through two consecutive successful reaccreditations as the reaccreditation applications.
Bobbie holds certifications as a consumer credit counselor, student loan counselor, and Department of Housing and Urban Development housing counselor. She currently chairs the National Asset Development Committee for Catholic Charities, USA, where she also serves as a national trainer. Bobbie, who presently sits on several local boards and committees, is involved with numerous collaborative efforts to improve life in her community. 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 enhance their services through nationally accepted best practices.
Maddi Noleen, MSW, Accreditation Consultant
Maddi has amassed more than 25 years of accreditation experience in child welfare, behavioral health, and adoption. She has also served as executive director for a state-wide, faith-based child welfare agency for 18 years. Maddi is currently a Peer Reviewer, Team Leader and Military Reviewer for Council on Accreditation (COA).
She volunteers her services to private and public organizations in the United States and abroad, with a focus on multiple program best practices within the areas of social services, private and intercountry adoption. Maddi has provided technical assistance and implementation recommendations, including the organization and review of documentation, to complete the accreditation process for several of her employers.
Maddi’s experience and expertise allow her to partner with organizations in a variety of areas, including staff training, policy and procedure development, administration and management standards implementation, and self-study compilation and review. Maddi received a BSW from the University of Southern Colorado and earned an MSW from New Mexico Highlands University with a concentration in Administration and Family Services.
Carol Smith, Accreditation Consultant
Throughout her 40-year career working in the behavioral health field as a clinician, supervisor, administrator, and consultant, Carol brings a variety of human services experiences 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 has also worked in programs dedicated to special populations, including adolescents, those in the criminal justice system, persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people with co-occurring disorders. Carol recently retired as the behavioral health director of a faith-based organization that provides services throughout 21 counties in northern Michigan. Additionally, she is on the faculty of Western Michigan University.
Carol experience as a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for the past 28 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 who serves on the appeals board for CARF.
Carol received an MA in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Supervisor and Certified Advanced Addiction Counselor.
Mary W. Weaver, MSW, Accreditation Consultant
Mary has served in child welfare for more than 30 years. As a human services program representative specializing in child welfare, she works at the state level to improve and ensure transparency, quality, efficiency and internal best practices for numerous nonprofit agencies and consumers of their services.
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 widely-used quality service review tool to measure organizational programs services and identify inconsistencies with systems that are directly related to service outcomes.
Mary has specialized in domestic adoptions at a longstanding child welfare agency in Pennsylvania, which required direct communication with prospective adoptive families and partnerships with numerous social service agencies. This collaboration included developing and writing home studies and child profiles along with coordinating legal services with child advocates and attorneys.
Mary received an MSW Administration, Policy and Planning degree from Rutgers State University and earned a BS in Psychology at Tuskegee University.
Kristen J. Schmidt, MSW, Ph.D, Accreditation Consultant
Kristen’s education and professional background span social work and psychology.
Kristen has amassed more than 30 years of accreditation experience in behavioral health and child welfare. For 17 years she served as COO for a faith-based organization, guiding it through four successful reaccreditation reviews. She has worked closely with governing boards and senior management on program development, strategic planning initiatives and leadership development.
As a COA reviewer, Kristen has participated in more than 40 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, Maricopa Community College and Central Arizona Community College. Additionally, she has written materials and conducted workshops on Performance and Quality Improvement, Program and Outcome Evaluation and Ethical Practices.
She holds an MSW and a Doctorate in Psychology from Arizona State University and has been licensed as an Independent Social Worker and a Psychologist in Arizona.
Viviane Ngwa, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, Accreditation Consultant
Viviane Ngwa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 25 years of experience in the human services field in both non-profit and for-profit arenas who has led core growth and new business development in multiple states. In her current role as executive director of a multi-state nonprofit organization, she is a leader in providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, youth on juvenile probation and homeless youth.
An expert in child welfare and behavioral health service structures, Viviane is a member of the Family Focused Treatment Association’s Board of Directors and a past Board President. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the Council on Accreditation (COA) where she worked 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 as a subject matter expert 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 an MSW and a Graduate Certificate in Global Policy Studies from the University of Georgia.
Dave Branding, PhD, Accreditation Consultant
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 Canadian 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 an MA degree, along with a certificate in transition planning, from Southern Illinois University and a BS 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