Hello, nice to meet you. Let me introduce myself. My favorite bitter green is escarole. These days you might find me avoiding housework. When I was little I wanted to be Harriet the Spy, but now I'm happy to be at Echo&Co. Did you know that one of the other folks here speaks Ojibwe ?
Graziella is a native Washingtonian who started nonprofit work in 1999, ghostwriting a news column for the executive director of a community mental health center, editing the organization’s first website, and producing print materials. A trained journalist and creative writer, she felt called early in her career to help nonprofits connect with people through great content.
In 2005, while finishing a master’s at Georgetown focused on the intersection of digital technology and civic life, Graziella was introduced to the field of information architecture and experience design. She joined one of the nation’s first UX firms, getting the rare opportunity to grow alongside an emerging professional field. She was among teams bringing UX thinking for the first time to organizations including AARP, The George Washington University, and the National Education Association. This experience taught her how powerful a catalyst UX was for leading social and organizational change.
After a few years consulting, Graziella was asked to head up digital within a national environmental organization. There, she learned the challenges that face all nonprofit digital leaders — political challenges, resource constraints, shifting priorities, process and workflow gaps, silos, and burnout. She met Echo&Co (then EchoDitto), who was the organization’s web development partner. Graziella managed vendors and an under-resourced team, led campaigns, launched a new website, united stakeholders, designed processes, and spent too many hours signing and grant-coding invoices. That work gave her deep respect and empathy for the challenge of bringing nonprofits into the digital age.
Once Graziella knew her focus would be on helping nonprofits through digital transformation, she sought out training in executive strategy. She left the nonprofit sector and signed on with a large digital agency working with Fortune 500 companies, leading the agency’s work with Volkswagen.
Finally, all the pieces were in place: A background in editorial content, academic study of digital civic life, formative training in information architecture and user experience, nonprofit change management, and executive strategy. When EchoDitto asked her, in 2013, to help stand up its first user experience practice — she couldn't say no.
Today, Graziella has been honored to partner with great organizations on digital transformation, including Operation Smile, Climate Reality Project, Greenpeace, ASPCA, Newseum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Food & Water Watch, University of Chicago, NRDC, ioby, and Bowery Residents’ Committee.
When not with clients, Graziella shares her experience through speaking, writing, and volunteering. She is a member of the 2017 class of Leadership Greater Washington and has presented at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, ADWKDC, Web of Change, and Newseum Summer Teaching Institute.
She chairs the board of United for Iran, a nonprofit organization that uses digital technology to advance civil liberties in Iran, whose work has been featured at the Oslo Freedom Forum and in WIRED, BuzzFeed, and Fast Company. She has taught English as a second language and literacy in Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County, Md.
Graziella also is an active Washington, D.C.-based playwright whose works have been read and produced for the Capital Fringe Festival, Source Festival, One Minute Play Festival (1MPF), Theatre J, Rorschach Theatre, Keegan Theatre, and The Playwright’s Forum. She is a board member of the Washington Improv Theater (WIT), D.C.'s destination for longform improv, which for 17 years has brought the creative power of improv to the Greater Washington community.
While it may be hard to believe, Graziella is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. She is a proud Brazilian-American who lives in Falls Church, Va., with her husband, Karl, a retired Marine.