Understory co-founders Sarah Tofte and Nasir Husain bring 20+ years of experience as researchers, writers, data analysts, program evaluators, and management consultants. As a team, Nasir and Sarah have a strong track record of transforming complex social justice concerns into effective, creative, and sustainable solutions.
In her consulting work, Sarah focuses on organizational strategy, program evaluation, policy analysis, and leadership coaching. Sarah has developed a policy platform and strategic plan for Her Justice; evaluated BRAC’s youth empowerment programming in Africa; and provided coaching services for new leaders.
Prior to co-founding Understory, Sarah held senior positions at leading international and U.S. NGOs. As a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, Sarah exposed the existence of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in the US--which became known as the rape kit backlog. Trained as a lawyer, Sarah authored reports on the death penalty, prison conditions, and violence against women and girls. As the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Joyful Heart Foundation, Sarah led a national campaign to end the rape kit backlog, and to change the ways police and prosecutors investigate crimes of sexual violence. As the Director of Research at Everytown for Gun Safety, Sarah designed and oversaw the organization’s research strategy. Sarah began her career at the Innocence Project, drafting and advancing federal and state legislation to prevent wrongful convictions. Sarah is a graduate of Luther College and the Minnesota School of Law. She also attended Union Theological Seminary.
As a consultant, Nasir brings deep expertise in research, writing, and data analysis and visualization. He has co-authored reports on child athlete abuse for Human Rights Watch, the US local news crisis for PEN America, and reimaging public safety for the Center for Policing Equity; and he has designed data dashboards for state-level departments of health.
Nasir started his career as a management consultant for Bain & Company, advising companies on strategy, marketing, and operations. After Bain, Nasir served as the Senior Manager for Research & Implementation at Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States. There, he managed research projects on firearm suicide and mass shootings, and worked with city and state authorities to improve the implementation of gun control laws. Nasir, who graduated from Harvard College, is a published writer.