Janet Mancini Billson is Director of Group Dimensions International (GDI), a research and consulting firm specializing in policy analysis, evaluation research, and organizational development. After receiving her PhD from Brandeis University, she served from 1973-1996 as Professor of Sociology and Women Studies at Rhode Island College and The George Washington University, and then moved to full-time leadership of GDI.
A Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Billson has received the Lester F. Ward Distinguished Contributions to Applied and Clinical Sociology Award, Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, 2008; the Stuart A. Rice Career Achievement Award, District of Columbia Sociological Society, 2001; the Lifetime Award for Sociological Practice, Society for Applied Sociology, 2000; and Alumna of the Year Award, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, US, 1999. She has also served as Visiting Scholar, Well-Being in Developing Countries Research Group, University of Bath, UK, 2003-2004, and Visiting Professor, University of Exeter, UK, 1981. In 2021, she will be the Killam Visiting Professor in Canadian Studies at Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts. Dr. Billson has refined focus group discussions and executive/key informant interviews for use in non-profit, government, education, and international development settings to be substantially more systematic and scientific than typically found in other sectors. She has conducted policy and evaluation research in over 40 countries.
Billson conducts training workshops on focus group research, group facilitation, and teamwork for various organizations, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and The World Bank Group.
Her scholarly work has centered on gender identity in the context of social change and the impacts of urbanization and development. She is the author of several books on African-Americans, Inuit, female well-being, and refugees (see the Manuals and Books tab). She is Editor of Skywood Press, Barrington, RI, GDI’s publishing house that specializes in accessible, readable training materials, including:
The Power of Focus Groups for Social, Policy, and Academic Research (English and Spanish); special editions on International Development, Health, Education.
Conducting Systematic and Dynamic Key Informant Interviews.
Conducting Effective Focus Groups in the Field: The GDI Mini-Manual (English and French)
GDI Associate Director for Policy Analysis, Nona Tsotseria joined GDI in 2009. She has contributed to the CIS CEDAW Watch, a project for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (now UNWOMEN) for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Nona received her MD from Tblisi State Medical Institute and has worked as a neurologist in the Republic of Georgia. After receiving her Master's Degree in Public Policy and Management at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, she consulted with the Georgian Government on Health Care Reform and conducted research at the Maine Department of Health and Human Resources on quality of health care for Medicaid enrollees.
In 2013, Nona earned a PhD degree in Public Policy at the Muskie School, University of Southern Maine. For several years she worked for the State of Maine as a Senior Health Program Manager of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Program and Financial Analyst of MaineCare. At the moment, she is a President of the Tsotseria Business Center, which consults on health care and public health project management.
Among her contributions to GDI’s work, Dr. Tsotseria co-led “The CIS Gender Mosaic: Establishing Baseline Data and Indicators for the Gender Goals—Harmonized Indicators for the MDGS, BPFA, and CEDAW,” UNIFEM-CIS—United Nations Development Fund for Women, Almaty, Kazakhstan (2008-2009). She has also written academic papers and policy reports on socio-economic issues in the CIS countries, including child labor in Georgia. She is fluent in Georgian, Russian, English, and has reading knowledge of German and Spanish.
GDI Senior Research Analyst, Katherine Bessey, earned her Masters in Policy and Planning with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Geospatial technologies from the University of Southern Maine. She has over ten years of experience in quantitative/qualitative research analysis and data analytics, and five years in geospatial analysis.
With her background in mathematics, Katherine was awarded the Ann Kirsten Pokora prize for distinguished academics and excellence in Mathematics at Smith College. She also works full time as a researcher and project manager for the Cooperative Development Institute (Maine), developing and studying cooperative economics throughout the Northeastern U.S., with a special focus on regional cooperative food economies.
Katherine is a student of Italian culture, agriculture, and art, and is fluent in English and Italian. For GDI she has worked on a wide variety of projects, including database development and management; qualitative and statistical analysis; policy, economic and program evaluations; and report and proposal development. GDI projects she has contributed to since 2010 include but are not limited to the Leadership Alliance Evaluation of SR-EIP (Brown University); a study for the Internal Organizational Development (African Development Bank); Internal and External Evaluation Study (Inter-American Development Bank); and Staff Learning Needs: Perceptions of HNP Staff and Managers, (World Bank Global Health, Nutrition and Population Practice). She has also contributed data analysis to Janet Mancini Billson’s forthcoming books on refugees in Canada.
Program Manager, Sabrina Drouin, has worked diligently to keep GDI on course with scheduling, manual production, accounting, and taxes since 2006. She lives in West Bath, Maine.