Collaborative, Objective, Agile and Proven
Led by founder and CEO Sara Hand, Spark Growth brings exceptional talent to each client opportunity. Successfully navigating the minefield of change for business growth is intrinsically challenging by its very nature. Knowing that you need to make changes and bringing those to fruition are two very different things. With Spark Growth, it is not good enough to have great answers. Your organization deserves more than just another grand plan.
Can you afford to bring in another consulting group that leaves you a giant to-do list that never gets done like all the others? Our core team works to bring connections, resources, and solutions to help you solve your most challenging problems and we are available to guide implementation to ensure your success.
Meet Our team
Our core team members have unique backgrounds and experiences across multiple sectors. While we are diverse in viewpoints and capabilities, we are united in purpose and vision.
Chief Executive Officer
Visionary leader Sara Hand has served for over a decade on the front lines of business development. Her experience fuels her belief that people and businesses thrive in connected communities. As the CEO of Spark Growth, she connects clients with resources and strategies, leading innovation across the value chain from idea stage to exit. She has gained wide recognition for her use of agile strategies to drive action-focused agendas, and her portfolio marks her influence across public and private sectors, industry clusters, educational projects, and early-stage investment groups. Sara finds and leverages unique value propositions to create synergistic partnerships – all with the support of the Spark Growth Team.
Through her work at Spark Growth, Sara unites global communities of thought leaders. Her international network has led her to opportunities with the State Department, the United Nations Launch of WED, the Harvard Future-Ready Economies Summit (2015), the International Strategic Doing Leadership Conference, and Startup India Rocks (2016). She has co-produced Smart Cities Innovation Accelerators, made an appearance at the CEED Global Conference in Tunisia (2018), and served as Moderator (2016 – 2019) and Program Chair for TiE Tampa Bay (2019 to Present).
Chief Information Officer
Stan Schultes, CIO, is an engineer and professional technologist working to build smarter, more inclusive communities where we live, work, play, and learn. Schultes delivers transformative change by crossing traditional boundaries and operating across public, private, and independent sectors at the intersections of business, technology, and community development. Microsoft Corporation has recognized Schultes for his global business and technology expertise. Schultes has received recognition for advanced manufacturing solutions, development contributions, technology transfer, and commercialization and has been named Regional Director (2018 – Present) and MVP (2004 – 2018). With a BSE in engineering from Purdue and over 40 years of experience, Schultes understands the power of culturally responsive technology and the downfalls of the digital divide. His communication and analytical skills, his creative and critical thinking methodologies, and his propensity for life-long learning provide Schultes with the ability to design and orchestrate experiences, fostering collaboration for innovation that change the way people think.
Chief Research and Data Officer
Cassandra Decker, MA, is a data designer who focuses on driving efficiency in programs, projects, procedures, and products. Decker earned a Master’s Degree in applied anthropology (with a cultural and economic focus) from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish, English, and Political Science from The University of Iowa. Decker also has over 15 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative research, conducting results-based work in English and Spanish. She is the owner and principal consultant of CRD Impact, which uses community research, equitable design, and inclusive marketing practices to identify, analyze, and interpret data. By identifying disparities in resource acquisition and opportunities, Decker develops and implements solution-based responses respectful of the voices of the communities served — all within the framework of results-based initiatives.
Chief Technology Officer and “Tech MacGyver”
Norman Dempsey, MBA, is a technology innovator and solutions engineer widely recognized for his business, computer network, & cyber-security consulting. A former television Network Administrator & Digital Media Director, Dempsey’s grasp of responsive media development is second to none. His tech skills complement the human-interfacing and management skills he developed managing and owning restaurants, selling and manufacturing books, and supporting computer operations for DoD clients. A graduate of Eckerd (BA) and USF (MBA), he is passionate about education and loves finding opportunities for existing businesses to expand services and enhance cash flow.
Laura Elizabeth Hand
Education & research consultant
As an Education Consultant and Curriculum Development Specialist, Laura Hand has worked with a wide range of education entities across private and public, domestic and international, and for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Her extensive experience – remarkable in both breadth and depth – uniquely qualifies her to provide insight into the education systems’ technical development, production, and administration aspects.
Hand has recently worked on textbook development and program management for a large-scale WIOA/ALE-funded ESOL program. As an ESOL Coordinator, Hand improved program compliance and metrics while overseeing the onboarding, education, and assessment of over 100 teachers and 800 students on a 12-week cycle. Hand’s other projects included testing, instruction, and curriculum development for Columbia University, as well as education program administration for Johns Hopkins University’s satellite programs in Hong Kong. Hand holds a Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature and a multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, English and Comparative Literature, and Comparative Literature and Society (MLS). Hand has also served as a Workforce Development Coordinator and Career Advisor with CUNY, liaising with governmental and business entities to promote citywide pandemic recovery practices in business and education.
As a nationally-ranked Sales Specialist with over six years of industry experience, Emma approaches business with the competitive drive she honed training and competing as an Olympic weightlifter. Emma’s dynamic personality and sales skills enable her to develop strong customer relations and drive overall Growth in B2B and B2C sales environments.
As a Sales Specialist for a subsidiary of L Brands, Inc, she maintained one of the twenty highest annual net sales totals in the U.S. She constantly exceeded the goals and expectations of the brand and C-suite management, with over seven figures of annual sales and consistent Growth.
After transitioning into a B2B position in the midst of a global market downturn, Emma sustained above-quota performance, was awarded regional recognition for her sales contributions, and received positive responses from a growing community of clients.
In her recent work with Spark Growth, Emma continues to demonstrate her intrinsic skill at breaking down needs and utilizing responsive sales strategies to drive business success.
Get to know us better
At Spark Growth, we start by showing up. It sounds simple but is something we take very seriously. It has taken us around the world, launched incredible opportunities and projects, and is a key to our success and that of our clients.
Watch our video intro to see us in action.
Want to know more?
Spark Growth is an SBA-certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB).