Welcome Our New Research & Evaluation Manager, Richard Funkhouser!
Please help us welcome a new addition to our growing team, Richard Funkhouser!
As the Research & Evaluation Manager for Visible Network Labs, Richard works with our partners to help them understand and catalyze their networks of interest and promote stronger outcomes in their work via a collective action approach.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Where to start! I came to VNL from a career as a technical specialist mostly doing US government-funded international programs in Washington, DC, where I still live. I wore a lot of hats for that—managing programs, facilitating workshops, collecting and managing data—but all the while I was really lucky to learn about and build up my skills for social network analysis, which is why I came to VNL ultimately, to do that work full-time. I studied conflict resolution and international policy in graduate school and I feel like network analysis really brings a lot of those fields, whether it’s helping people in low-resource environments leverage their networks for innovative development solutions, shoring up social resilience so that communities don’t collapse in conflict situations, or other interesting, community-driven solutions to persistent, complicated problems.
What is your new position and what do you hope to accomplish in it?
I am a Research and Evaluation Manager on the Data Science team. I think of myself as someone who has been building up a practice in social network analysis on their own, in spaces where it’s both out-of-the-ordinary but also already a buzzword, so I’m really excited to be working on a team where it’s what we’re all doing and there’s a lot of passion. It will be great to learn from everyone, and I hope also pull new and different approaches to share out of my own bag of tricks!
Who is a significant mentor in your life?
I really look up to my older sister. She’s always followed her passion in life and made a career for herself in computer games, which is not easy in such a male-dominated field. She’s also a stone-cold professional in a way people don’t always give her credit for, I try to channel that energy when I want to be serious at work.
Where is your favorite place to visit on vacation?
Northern Spain. I grew up there a bit as a kid, so I have some very close friends and old memories of these places that seem really familiar but at the same time are so different from my life today. It’s a great place to go for a reality check.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?
Super Empathy. I want to really be able to understand people and meet them where they are.
What do you enjoy doing away from work?
I like eating, cooking, theater, TV, movies, books, music—all kinds of media. I find it really satisfying being able to recommend exactly the right thing to someone, so, you know—if it’s beer, you’ve got to know all the beer; if it’s comics, you have to do a lot of reading; &c. Maybe that’s a bit of a game I play with myself, trying to gauge people’s taste well and bring value to them that way. I love board games! I design a lot of board games in my spare time, although I haven’t published anything yet. I also really like being out in nature—identifying trees and birds, going for hikes, kayaking—but honestly I don’t get out enough for it.
Find more about Richard and the rest of VNL Team here!
Map, Measure, and Strengthen Social Support with PARTNERme!
About the Author: Will Jacobson
Will Jacobson is the Business Development Specialist on VNL’s Marketing and Communications Team. Originally from New York City, Will loves living in Colorado and all the outdoor life it has to offer. He’s also a pretty big foodie!