About Us

J. K. Elder & Associates, a nationally recognized consulting firm, works with public and private social services organizations to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. We collaborate with executive and operational teams to address needs for innovative improvements in programs, operations, technology, and fiscal management. We also work closely with organizations to develop proposals, reports, and outcomes evaluations.

The JKE&A team includes experts in public and private social services, including domestic and global child welfare, mental and behavioral health, disabilities, domestic violence, and trafficking. We also focus on systems change, organizational transformation, and enhanced training programs. Our subject matter experts have experience working in government organizations, private entities, and academic institutions.

The Team

Jean K. Elder, MA, Ph.D.

CEO & President
Jean K. Elder, Ph.D. is the CEO and Founder of JKE&A. Jean is an accomplished senior executive with more than 40 years of successful service within the child welfare, education, marketing, and operations sectors as a psychologist, administrator, and policy and practice thought leader. Jean has a proven record managing business development, strategic growth, grant capture, and project design for clients. She is known for her acumen in the development of training strategies, program evaluation, policy analysis, and business process design for clients in the child welfare sector. Jean served four presidents and two governors and was the Assistant Secretary for the US-HHS Office of Human Development Services and Commissioner for the Administration of Developmental Disabilities. During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, Jean was instrumental in key changes to federal foster care regulations that allowed relatives to provide care to their kin following completion of proper state licensing training – the beginning of kinship care with the pilot in California. Jean provides her team with incredible opportunities to consult and collaborate with an amazing list of dedicated organizations across the county that constantly strive to achieve improved outcomes for children and families. Jean received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Education and Development Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and completed postdoctoral studies in Organizational Development at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Bryanna Harlan, MPH

Chief Operating Officer
Bryanna Harlan, MPH is the COO at JKE&A, with lived experience within the child welfare system. Bryanna's resiliency, and passion for helping others, provide a unique perspective to the JKE&A team. Along with her lived experience, Bryanna has experience in Substance Use, Mental Health, Grant Writing, Patient Experience, Marketing, and Program Planning. Bryanna graduated with honors from Ferris State University with a Master's degree in Public Health.

Heather-Leigh Strouse, DM

Consultant
Heather-Leigh Strouse, DM, is a Consultant for JKE&A. Dr. Heather-Leigh Strouse holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, a Master’s Degree in Management with a focus in Organizational Leadership, and a Doctoral Degree of Management with a focus in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Strouse’s professional career has encompassed over 20 years of combined experience within the aviation industry, higher education, and business consulting. Areas of expertise includes Public Administration, Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, Course Development, Quality Assurance Auditor, Public Relations, and Organizational Management. Dr. Strouse holds certifications as a True Colors Personality Assessment Trainer, Teaching English as a Second Language, and certificates of training in various courses related to airline crisis communication, airport crisis communication, and accident investigation.

Ani Whitmore, Ph.D., PMP

Consultant
Ani Whitmore, Ph.D., PMP is a Consultant for JKE&A. Ani is an developmental Psychologist with nearly eight years of strong quantitative and qualitative research, evaluation, and project management experience. Ani enjoys traveling, attending “foodie” festivals, crocheting, and being an active book club member. Ani has experience with Program evaluation, monitoring, and project management; Early child development, behavioral health and developmental disabilities; Key public health issues and childhood-related outcomes; and Research methodology, data collection, and data visualization. Ani holds a Master of Arts in Psychology from Georgia State University, a Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology from Georgia State University, and is a Certified Project Management Professional.

Beth Englander Maida

Emeritus Chief Operating Officer
Beth Englander Maida has 42 years of state, national, and international experience in child welfare and has been described as having “management in her DNA” and is known for her ability to transform struggling organizations and lead systems change, ability to interpret and implement federal and state statute and policy, accreditation, and understanding of applications of supervision in practice. Her significant expertise includes child protection, permanent planning, unaccompanied refugee children and unaccompanied minors, deinstitutionalization, transnational adoption, finance, SACWIS, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Beth has received national, state, and tribal recognition for her work. Prior to joining JKE&A in 2014 she had served as a multi-county child welfare administrator in Oregon and Florida; the statewide manager of multiple programs in Oregon; the state child welfare executive in Florida; the Oregon System of Care reform manager the federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) national project director for ICF International; and national director of federal resettlement programs for unaccompanied refugee children, placement of unaccompanied minors, and services for foreign-born trafficking victims for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.