About Us

We are realistic, strategic, empathetic, and nuanced thinkers and listeners who embed ourselves as part of our clients’ teams.


Our name is inspired by the Third Plateau, a bluff in the Santa Cruz Mountains that our founders hiked to as kids at summer camp. The annual predawn trek would arrive at the Third Plateau just in time for sunrise, guiding campers to a moment of light, joy, and accomplishment. Today, we take our clients on a similar journey, walking together on the path to a brighter future.

Our Core Values

Our core values form the foundation for who we are and how we show up in our work to drive social change. From recruiting and onboarding new team members, to providing ongoing professional development and support to our team and systems to hold ourselves accountable to each other and the work, our values help us create an environment that is inclusive and collaborative, where all team members feel a deep sense of purpose and belonging. Check out our values below, and read more about our ongoing work to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive place to work here.

Step Up

We’re hungry for a future where all people and the planet thrive. We approach our work with purpose and intentionality and are eager to try new things, take thoughtful risks, and challenge the status quo. We passionately rise to the challenge of co-creating a future world we have never seen but know is possible.

Learn Up

We are insatiably curious and honor multiple ways of learning. We don’t have all the answers – and never will – so we actively listen, reflect, explore, and seek to uncover and address gaps in our understanding with people from diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and unique perspectives. We encourage ourselves and those around us to think expansively and celebrate progress rather than perfection.

Team Up

Relationships and community are at our core. Centering empathy, we develop deep and authentic connections with those around us – including those with whom we disagree. We recognize that people, not organizations, are at the center of social change, and approach our interactions with a belief that we will go farther together than we can alone.

Live Up

We believe all people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. We take care of ourselves and each other by finding joy in our work, practicing balance, and prioritizing wellness. We are here to improve the world and live fully while we do it.

Our Team

Our creative and visionary team is the lifeblood of who we are. Our strength comes from our diversity - we’re an eclectic mix of strategists, experts, ideators, and jokesters from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences dedicated to supporting our clients’ efforts in creating social change.

Gumbo enthusiast. Systems thinker. Avid hiker. Pie maker. Connector.
Jaré Akchin

Vice President & Executive Coach


Californiafied Carolinian. Question seeker. Empathy enthusiast. Proud mama. Whale spotter.

Rebecca Altman

Vice President & Executive Coach


Lifelong learner. Outstanding organizer. Systems creator. Lover of the little things.

Jessica Argenas

Director of Operations

Do-gooder. Brainstormer. Outgoing introvert. Efficiency aficionado. Public library patron. NPR member.
Evan BartlettStrategy Associate

Democracy crisis hipster. Philanthropy nerd. Aspiring Spanish speaker. Global circumnavigator. Black and white cookie aficionado.

Mike Berkowitz

Co-Founder & Principal

Good fighter. Big ideator. Paid overthinker. Dataviz tinkerer. Policy futurist. Radical humanist.
Lance Bitner-LairdResearch Associate

Mindful globetrotter. Empathetic humanitarian. Bi-coastal Franco-American. Haribo enthusiast. Stops to smell the flowers.

Elena CabotStrategy Associate

Critical thinker. Voracious reader. Prose wrangler. Newspaper fan. Passionate believer in civil liberties.

Katherine Gimla Carraher

Senior Grants Manager


AKA #ClassicCaruso. Strategist. Justice seeker. Connector. Hip-hop fanatic. Hispanophile.

Whitney Caruso

Vice President


Information gumshoe. Creative sponge. Seeker of nuance. Extroverted introvert. Ancestral Storyteller.

Elena Chernock


We believe that complex social change requires new ideas, a deep understanding of people and systems, and a commitment to continuous learning.

Join Our Team

At Third Plateau, we believe in the power of diverse teams. In our recruiting efforts, we always seek to reach a broad and diverse pool of applicants to ensure our final candidates are not a homogenous group in terms of demographics or experience. You can read more about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) here. Furthermore, we’ve been and are continuing to experiment with our own application process to decrease implicit and explicit biases as much as possible. We ask that you anonymize your resume, and we anonymously review answers to our application’s questions so that we can focus on how your strengths and skills could look on our team.

We welcome applicants of all backgrounds to apply. Third Plateau is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to their race, color, age, religious creed, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics.

Learn more about our team and culture and see our open positions below.

Employee Benefits

  • Remote-first with annual technology stipend
  • Platinum-level health insurance with FSA options
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Regular high fives (virtual during COVID)
  • Generous paid time off policy (unlimited for exempt employees)
  • Wellness program ($500/year to invest in your mental, emotional, and/or physical wellness)
  • Professional development and curated team learning opportunities
  • Cell phone and home internet reimbursement ($110/month)
  • 401k with employer matching
  • Pre-tax transportation and parking plans

Reach out to discuss how we can help you more effectively drive social impact.