Stella SiWan Zimmerman, an Exciting 20-Year Career in Evaluation
April marks the 20th anniversary of Stella SiWan Zimmerman founding ACET, Inc. She started the company as an independent contractor, working from her apartment on one contract in April of 1998. Today her evaluation business employs 9 employees working on multiple contracts for nonprofit organizations, tribal organizations, and government agencies within the state of Minnesota and nationally. “With evaluation, it’s about learning something new,” Stella says. “With every client I love to adapt and tailor the evaluation to meet their needs, and that’s what makes it exciting.”
In the early years, Stella marketed her skills to senior independent evaluators who gave her the opportunity to study all aspects of evaluation. “I was able to learn so much from them,” she says. Stella initially focused on notetaking, transcribing data, creating charts and tables, and utilizing her art background to format reports. Over time, her skills deepened to where she was designing evaluation plans, leading projects, providing quality improvement measures, and writing final reports. As ACET grew, Stella hired staff members to work in teams. Together, the teams built and implemented stronger evaluations, making teamwork the foundation and heart of ACET.
Today ACET specializes in high-quality research and evaluation in a variety of settings including multicultural and bilingual settings. Two of ACET’s staff members are bilingual, and ACET evaluators have expertise in creating linguistically relevant evaluations. Tailoring evaluation plans, instruments, and tools to each client entails getting to know the client and the client’s vision and goals. “I admire the passion of our clients’ staff, the work they do, and how mission driven they are,” Stella says.
We thank each one of our clients for entrusting their evaluations with ACET.