An Overview

About us

Hummingbird is a culturally competent consulting firm specializing in community engagement, strategy and data analytics, and systems-change training.

We provide these services for A/E and Planning firms, private developers, federal agencies, and municipalities.

Community is a concept we embody as a firm. We are a tight-knit family where we recognize our differences and thrive on exploring our shared values (beliefs). We define community as embracing culture, history, and the goals of a defined geographic area to communicate with, impact, and evoke fellowship amongst differing perspectives.

Our Team Members

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MaKara Rumley

Founder & CEO

MaKara Rumley, Esq., is more than an experienced community engagement strategist; she is an important thought leader related to the environment, education, the green economy, and public health.  She has a knack for identifying what makes each stakeholder successful and leading the charge for how everyone can win.  It takes the private and public sector as well as community viewpoints to reach a project’s full benefit potential.

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Oyemwenosa Avenbuan

Community Engagement
Lead

OYEMWENOSA AVENBUAN is a recent graduate of New York University with an MS in Environmental Health Science. She has years of experience in the field of toxicology and scientific communication, she is particularly adept at communicating with other experts and laypeople. She applies her knowledge of environmental health to create plain language translation during community engagement with marginalized and underserved communities in urban and rural areas.

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Marisa Carter

Community Engagement
Lead

MARISA CARTER is a graduate of Spelman College and holds an MFA in Interior Design from Savannah College Art and Design. She brings years of experience in schematic development and strategic planning by way of her professional design background.  Marisa uses her background by helping with phase planning, visual presentation, and graphic design. Her aim is to assist in community engagement through developing presentations and creating informational material that will aid in the process of communication for all. 

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Laura McKelvey

Community Engagement Strategist

LAURA MCKELVEY is a Community Engagement Strategist at Hummingbird Firm where she applies the breadth of her expertise of more than 35 years of public service at both the US Peace Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency. She received a master’s degree from Duke University in Environmental Management and she has 20 years of experience working with the Native American Nations, and Environmental Justice communities to address air quality. She specializes in bringing parties together to solve community problems and helps to provide a bridge in communication between community members and technical governmental and industry personnel.

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Danny Rumley

Chief Operating Officer

DANNY RUMLEY serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Hummingbird. He directs operations with the local context of the communities being served as the company’s most relevant line of interest. He brings a wealth of experience from the urban agriculture, engineering, and Sustainable Smart Cities fields. Danny believes that the collective access to clean food, clean water, and clean energy for local communities is only achievable through education.

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Denise Smith, Ph.D.

Chief Strategy OfficeR

DR. DENISE SMITH is a well-rounded

transportation professional who brings years of transportation experience to the team. She has developed an expertise in multimodal transportation planning and travel demand modeling. Dr. Smith is also very knowledgeable on a wide range of topics such as design, traffic operation and management, and autonomous vehicle technology. Her experience in academia, planning, and engineering, equip her with a unique perspective to contribute to projects.

Brendol Swygert

Executive Assistant

BRENDOL SWYGERT is a passionate, detail-oriented, committed professional with multiple years of operational support, client engagement, and organizational first line of communication. As the Executive Assistant for Hummingbird, she utilizes her skills to cater to the unique needs of the company’s clientele.

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Di Mike Wang

Chief Financial Officer

DI MIKE WANG is the chief financial officer for Hummingbird. As CFO, he brings over 10 years of experience in finance with a career that has spanned from investment banking to corporate finance. Most recently, he served as the director of finance for an institutionally backed biotechnology company and was responsible for providing strategic insights and guiding the company through budgeting, financial planning, fundraising, and infrastructure transformation. Prior to that, he worked in investment banking and investment management at Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley respectively.

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Christian V. Braneon, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer & Director of Climate Action

DR. CHRISTIAN V. BRANEON is the Chief Technology Officer at Hummingbird where he provides technical expertise with a specialty in water and green infrastructure. He uses his broad background to assist with plain language translation of technical documents and for the development of strategic communications in the architecture, engineering, and construction

industries.

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Lisa Riley

Business Manager

LISA RILEY is an engaging, entrepreneurial-minded professional committed to business excellence through servant leadership and client advocacy. Her years of corporate experience supporting Executive Leadership and small business owners have garnished her a deep-rooted understanding of client advocacy, enabling her to improve her clients’ successes by crafting a custom voice, streamlining their mission, and by helping with overall business growth.

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Shameka Young

Business Growth manager

Shameka Young is a multifaceted business professional versed in business management, consulting, government contracts, proposals, and standard operating procedures. 

 As our Business Development Manager, she can promote the progress of current and new business as its mission in support of developing client relationships, proposals, applications, and analyzing data on industry projects, from foundational work to commercialization of leading-edge technology. Her experience in non-profit organizations and community outreach through mentorship provided her with the skills to manage people and problem solve, network, educate, negotiate, and manage projects. 


The top focus for community engagement should be to put oneself in the community’s shoes. You have to understand what the communication style needs are and remain nimble – like a hummingbird.

MaKara Rumley, Esq., Founder & CEO

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