A note from our founder
At Frontier, we believe it takes imagination to transform seemingly impossible challenges into possibilities for positive change. We are motivated by the possibility of a safer, more prosperous, and less violent world. We believe people should be able to live in dignity, free from the fear and consequences of violence. We serve organizations that seek to understand and constructively impact complex global issues including peace and conflict, fragility and development, and national and human security.
As a small business our reputation is built on 100% client satisfaction, every client is critical and receives my personal attention. We believe in delivering radical value, exceeding expectations and doing whatever it takes to ensure our clients are successful and delighted by their experience.
With gratitude and inspiration,
Alexa Courtney | CEO and Founder
We are not driven by a profit motive or compelled to satisfy shareholders. We are motivated by the significance of the issues we work on and the excitement of partnering with clients who are committed to constructive change.
I am so proud of the work we have been privileged to support. A trusted client once told me, “Frontier gave us the courage to walk a changed path!” Helping our clients succeed inspires us to deliver our best as individuals and as a Frontier team. To all our clients and collaborators, thank you for your trust. Thank you for your partnership. Thank you for your inspiration. We will continue to channel the values and mindsets of possibility, imagination, inclusivity, courage, and commitment in service to you.
Frontier Design is a group of diverse change-makers and impact seekers with proven results helping the U.S. government, non-profits, philanthropic foundations, and private organizations imagine and achieve a more inspired and effective future. Individually, we have unique backgrounds and perspectives – collectively, we combine our talents to work at the frontier of innovative practice, co-creating together with our clients.
We are a certified Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business with headquarters in Alexandria, VA.
Meet our team of political scientists, storytellers, mathematicians, designers, engineers, and data scientists.
ALEXA COURTNEY | FOUNDER AND CEO
We believe in humility, optimism, and empathy – to always engage with respect and compassion.
Alexa Courtney has over 17 years of experience working in the US and globally in South Asia, Africa, and Europe; co-designing strategies with organizations to better adapt and create impact and leading research, assessment, training, and evaluation teams. She pioneered the application of design thinking, innovation, and systems complexity studies to human security challenges. Since founding Frontier, she has worked with executive leaders at large non-profits (United Way, The Omidyar Group, and The Council on Foreign Relations), Federal organizations (United States Institute of Peace, classified National Security sponsors, the Social Innovation Fund, USAID, the Department of State, and U.S. Special Operations Forces), and commercial firms to apply the tools of design and innovation practices to drive organizational change.
Prior to founding Frontier, Alexa held senior positions in the public and private sectors dedicated to using innovative approaches to tackle complex problems. She led the design, co-creation, and implementation of field research networks in Syria for USAID that allowed Syrians to guide donor assistance toward life-saving needs in near real time. She helped pioneer the design and implementation of USAID’s evaluation systems in Afghanistan to determine the impact of donor programs on community stability country-wide. She also facilitated the design of a post-electoral governance strategy for an African political opposition group.
Alexa holds a B.A. in Sociology and International Studies from Yale University and an MSc from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in the Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development. She is a former Fulbright Scholar, Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and Presidential Management Fellow, and a former Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was honored by DevEx and Chevron Corporation as one of forty international development leaders under forty in Washington, DC, for acting as a change agent within USAID and driving adoption of innovative approaches to prevent vulnerability and conflict.
STEVE SHEAMER | DIRECTOR, RESEARCH AND CLIENT EXPERIENCE
Steve Sheamer has spent his entire professional career focused on reducing the cost of doing business through rigorous cost analysis, performance measurement, improved business processes, and technology implementation. His industry experience includes consumer product manufacturing, computer chip fabrication, aerospace and defense, and management consulting. He is passionate about identifying cost savings, improving program management processes, and implementing tools to improve the effectiveness of large, complex organizations and programs. Prior to joining Frontier, Steve led a 30+ person consulting practice at Herren Associates focused on cost analysis, performance management, financial management, and program analysis. His experience also includes stints at Lockheed Martin, Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Materials, and Superior Furniture (now Izzy).
Steve holds a B.S. and M.E. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. He is a Certified Cost Estimator, Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt, and Project Management Professional with over 15 years of experience supporting large, complex programs.
We believe in the power of questions – to seek first to understand before developing solutions.
JENNA LINDEKE HEAVENRICH | SENIOR ANALYST, HUMANITARIAN PARTNERSHIPS
We believe that resilience for tomorrow is built upon the diverse partnerships that we foster today.
Jenna came to Frontier Design as a Hiring our Heroes Fellow. She is passionate about facilitating partnerships for lasting resilience, especially at the intersection of humanitarian assistance, foreign policy, security, and intercultural relations. Jenna has advised on right-sizing systems practice and systems monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Most recently, she served as the lead writer of the Frontier Design-U.S. State Department Report, “The Strategic Prevention Project.”
With regional expertise in Asia, Jenna has served at both headquarters and grassroots level NGOs in Japan and India. Jenna is an accomplished researcher and writer and has been published in the areas of intercultural relations, Asia studies, international development, and the utilization of evaluations at USAID. Most recently, Jenna developed an American Red Cross disaster team in close coordination with the US Navy to address key preparedness and response gaps at Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa, Japan.
Jenna holds and M.A. in International Development from American University: School of International Service, an M.A. in Global Cooperation from Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of International Relations in Japan, and a BA in Mathematics and East Asian Studies from Oberlin College. Jenna is a former Boren Fellow and Oberlin Shansi Fellow, and served as Vice President of the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies. Jenna speaks fluent Japanese, conversational Hindi, and a bit of Korean.
JESS WILLIAMS | ANALYST
Jess joined Frontier as a Hiring Our Heroes Fellow. Her work with Frontier includes building a data architecture for field research networks in fragile states and supporting the creation of a tool to systematically expand requests for information into specific requirements to drive data fusion.
Jess has three years of experience as a Naval Officer and was awarded for her support to Carrier Air Wing operations in the Pacific. In preparation for these operations, she single-handedly created and distributed tailored analysis to over 200 individuals and analyzed over 50 products to create comprehensive assessments.
While studying at the United States Naval Academy, she also completed internships with the Department of the Navy and several interagency task forces, including at the U.S. Department of State. Drawing from her experience in the Navy, Jess is committed to using unexplored and novice solutions to redefine an issue in a way that ensures progress and changes how we solve problems.
Jess graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy with a BS in Political Science with a General Engineering Core Curriculum and was the honor graduate from her Naval Officer Basic Training Course.
We believe in challenging how we traditionally approach problem solving so we can find innovative and unique solutions to complex problems.
STACY HUSK | ADVISOR, IMPACT STORYTELLER AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
We believe that storytelling is an important tool for strategic change. Stories reveal hidden meaning, shed light on motivations, and tap our emotions.
Stacy is a connector that relies on imagination and empathy to unite strategic thinking and dynamic storytelling to inspire and educate audiences.
With over 12 years experience, she has served as a strategic partner to several leading organizations such as Warner Brothers, Susan G Komen, Weight Watchers, The American Cancer Society, Marie Claire, Cheerios, and Yoplait.
She specializes in developing relevant narratives, promotional campaigns, key visuals, and relationship management for both internal and external stakeholders.
STONE CONROY | ADVISOR, SECURITY AND SYSTEMS
Stone Conroy is an expert in national security, conflict management, and peacebuilding. Prior to joining Frontier he was the Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, where he worked on building new partnerships inside and outside of the peacebuilding field and mobilizing and amplifying the work of Alliance members. Before that he spent several years on the Outreach and Engagement team at the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). In this position, he promoted security cooperation and information sharing between the State Department and private sector organizations operating around the world. Prior to this, Stone was a Boren Fellow in Nigeria where he served as a Conflict Management and Economic Development Fellow at Mercy Corps, and worked on peacebuilding and economic empowerment programs in the Middle Belt region. Stone holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and attended Middlebury College for undergraduate studies.
We believe people should live in dignity and free from violence.
NOAH SHEINBAUM | ADVISOR, STRATEGIC PLANNING
We believe in a bias for action – to learn by doing. To prototype, iterate and rapidly test ideas.
Noah Sheinbaum is passionate about helping people, organizations, and processes achieve their potential. He has advised Fortune 500 corporations, government, and nonprofit clients, helping them manage change and complexity. Noah began his career in the private sector with the global management consultancy Bain & Company, before working with the U.S. Institute of Peace to produce the Fragility Study Group. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in Ethics, Politics & Economics and Global Affairs and will receive his MBA from Stanford in June 2019. He is a recipient of the Council of American Ambassadors Annenberg Fellowship, as well as the Les Aspin ‘60 Public Service Fellowship.
AMAN ALI | FELLOW, LEARNING AND IMPACT
Aman is an Atlas Corps Fellow, a leadership and innovation program for mid-career social entrepreneurs who are recognized changemakers. Aman has an MPA in Evaluation, an MBA in Finance, and 9+ years experience working with the World Bank, USAID, Red Cross, BRAC, and other organizations in his native Pakistan to improve organizational learning and impact in disaster relief and international development. He has presented his research at international evaluation conferences in Greece, Mexico, Uganda, and Thailand and is co-founder of Pakistan’s national evaluation association.
We believe information drives action –that people are fundamentally open to evidence-based solutions.