Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Garrow

Stephanie GarrowStephanie Garrow

Co-founder, Garrow & Evoy
Doctor of Philosophy, Education Policy Analysis (Ph.D 2006)


Stephanie Garrow is a passionate coach, facilitator and strategist who brings 20+ years of experience working with philanthropic organizations and leaders to increase their social impact. In 2012, she co-founded Garrow & Evoy, a Montreal-based consulting practice committed to supporting leaders in corporate and not-for-profit sectors to adopt new ways to enhance their impact and affect large-scale social change.

With a PhD in Educational Policy from McGill University and an MEd in from Harvard University, Stephanie is well versed on a range of international and national social policy issues (gender analysis, youth engagement, community development, food security and poverty reduction).

Stephanie is sought after for her ability to bring research and analysis to the table in a learning and coaching environment so that management teams connect the dots and gather insights to help their organizations manage toward and deliver greater impact and results.

Stephanie began her career as an evaluation specialist with Universalia Management Group ( where she conducted performance reviews for organizations such as Global Affairs Canada, ESDC, DFAIT, and the Aga Khan Foundation.

For the past ten years, Stephanie has worked in both French and English as a certified Innoweave coach, leading processes with complex national and international organizations. Recent clients include : L’Arche Canada, CODE, Centraide du Grande Montréal and Heritage Canada.

What is your current professional role? What are some of your career highlights?

Stephanie Garrow is the co-founder of Garrow & Evoy, a woman-run philanthropy consulting firm. For the past 10 years, Stephanie has been supporting small to medium size non-profit foundations and public agencies to increase their impact on social change. As a passionate coach and strategist, Stephanie collaborates with diverse organizations to strengthen management skills and strategies and enhance their impact to affect large-scale social change. This occurs through building the leadership capacity within organizations and supporting them in creating the change needed in their organizations. Stephanie’s work is multidisciplinary in nature and cuts across many sectors such as education, non-profits, environmental, poverty reduction, and community building.

Garrow & Evoy takes a coaching posture, offering different streams of support mainly around strategy and impact measurement through conceptual mapping of their theory of change. Stephanie has been dedicated to building strategic partnerships, training and coaching partners on research and measurement, encouraging non-profits to have a deeper change, and giving them the tools to achieve impact as a team. Stephane is proud to be part of a company that built an all-women team and firmly believes in a balanced approach to work-life, values integrity, flexibility, and social change values.

Stephanie is passionate about finding ways to marry the theoretical foundations of her education with practical applications. She saw a need in the sector for professionals that could bring a wide range of skills to organizations and play the role of a critical friend that would accompany organizations to achieve their intended goals, through a process of reflection.

Stephanie is proud of partnering with the JW McConnell Family Foundation, specifically in their initiative called Innoweave, a Canadian social innovation platform. Innoweave offers support and grants to community organizations to become impact-driven and continuously innovative. Stephanie’s role is to coach and provide organizations with the tools to create a culture of large-scale change and lasting social innovation.


When you were first carving your path, what made you choose McGill, and specifically McGill’s Faculty of Education?

Stephanie recognized the diversity within McGill, she was interested in collaborating with a diverse student body from different disciplines and was inspired by the encouragement of finding the intersections between disciplines. As a student, this approach helped her in deciding what career to pursue, as she was able to explore courses in political science, education, management amongst others.

Additionally, she found a strong connection between McGill and the community, as part of her education, she was always encouraged to put knowledge into practice. During her undergraduate career, she had the opportunity to be a literacy tutor and was able to connect with different communities in Montreal and solidify her education.

As a PhD student, she looked at mapping inter-organizational relationships between diverse stakeholders in girls’ education in Uganda. Stephanie was supported throughout her PhD journey to create connections and adopt an action research approach to her study. This approach has influenced her throughout her career and has helped her gain the skills needed to be a leader in her sector.


What was the most valuable skill or life lesson that you learned at McGill?

Throughout her time at McGill, Stephanie learned several valuable skills but the most important is understanding the value collaboration. She found it extremely impactful to be able to take an idea, find a group of engaged students and faculty to work it through, and then make that idea happen. McGill provided this space to brainstorm and come up with ideas, test, and re-test theories in an open way with a supportive community of mentors and fellow graduate students. She was also inspired by the creativity of her mentor Claudia Mitchell, who encouraged her to approach academic work with creativity and a sense of building connections. Therefore, she was able to connect with other scholars not only in Canada but globally in the same practice to exchange ideas and form friendships. Collaboration, creativity, and innovation made her PhD journey enjoyable and practical.


How did studying education prepare you for your career?

Stephanie believes an education degree provides one with a very broad base that is interdisciplinary in nature. Studying education helps students get a strong foundation in history, philosophy, sociology, and education allowing each scholar the opportunity to explore their own interests and make connections between the different disciplines. Additionally, a degree in education provided Stephanie with theoretical skills that translate to practice such as critical analysis, research methods, writing, and synthesis skills that are pivotal to any professional. She also found the space during her studies to pursue the topics and answer questions that were of interest to her, and to create a path of studies that are grounded in real issues and challenges.


What advice would you give to someone considering an undergraduate or graduate degree in Education now?

I think if you're someone that's curious about understanding what some of the major global challenges and trends are, and you're open and motivated to find new ways of thinking about them with a diverse group of students, an education degree can give you a great platform for considering, making a contribution.”

To Stephanie, an education degree gives you a wide playing field to look at different social issues and challenges from multiple perspectives. Education is a great gateway to look at many different systems in society and find ways to address challenges on the ground.

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