Who We Are

Our Story

ACEUM was founded in 2015 as a niche consulting firm partnering with nonprofit, healthcare and social impact organizations helping them to build state-of-the-art HR/People resources, access superior leadership talent and improve organizational effectiveness.

Today, as a result of a rapidly changing and increasingly complex workplace landscape, we are critically focused on helping organizations reimagine workplace culture, design strategic and cutting-edge people resources that engage and connect leaders and employees in new ways, and build operational capacity that supports organizational goals, transformation and growth.

What inspires us is knowing that our work makes a meaningful difference to the organizations we partner with, moves them to the next level and has an impact on both advancing their mission and supporting the greater social good.

Our Approach

No matter how small, large or complex the project, ACEUM brings a flexible, creative and customized approach to every engagement to ensure that we address the unique requirements of our clients, drive innovation and achieve the very best outcomes. We draw on the foundation of six core project management principles to shape each of our solutions and advisory work.

In-depth Discovery, Research, Observation + Assessment

Active Engagement of Stakeholders. Define Core Issues + Opportunities

Design Solution Options, Identify Needed Resources + Set Action Path

Determine Deliverables, Implement Solution +
Manage Change

Continuous Progress Check-Ins, + Evaluation of Solutions

Use Data + Analytics to Measure Impact + Results

What Guides Us

Our core values serve as a guide for how we approach our work, engage with our clients and collaborate with consultants and partners to deliver high quality, trusted services.

Integrity, Ethics + Trust

Commitment to Community + Social Good

Embracing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion + Access

Recognizing Small Things Can Make A Big Difference

Fostering Collaboration + Partnership

Inspiring Excellence + Innovation

advisors + consultants

Meet Our Team


Ira Machowsky

Founder + CEO


Rae Linefsky

Senior Advisor


Whitney Allgood, PhD

Senior Advisor


Heather Bivens

Senior Executive Search Consultant


Sharon Sheer

Senior Consultant
HR Strategy & Executive Search


Michael Mead

Senior Consultant + Leadership Coach

Ira Machowsky

Founder + CEO


Ira has a diverse executive leadership career spanning over forty years in social impact sector leading nonprofit organizations, as an entrepreneur and CEO of a professional service firm, executive search advisor, and HR and management consultant. He has extensive knowledge in the areas of workforce development, healthcare, human services, HR/People Operations and administrative and program infrastructure. Ira spent 35 years in senior executive leadership positions with FEGS Health and Human Services, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the country, serving as its Chief Administrative and Human Resource Officer for over 20 years and and then Executive Vice President overseeing all programs, infrastructure operations and subsidiaries. He was appointed CEO prior to leaving FEGS to start his own HR advisory, executive search and operations consulting firm, ACEUM Partners, Through ACEUM, in addition to working on numerous C-suite and executive leadership searches and consulting engagements for a diverse array of social impact organizations, Ira has served in several ”Interim” C-suite roles, including Chief Operating Officer, CAO and Head of People Operations for nonprofit organizations and national staffing firms.

Ira has served on a number of nonprofit Boards and Advisory Committees and has lectured at the NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia University Business School and professional conferences around the country. He has a proven track record of growing, restructuring and transforming organizations, and subject matter expertise in the areas of nonprofit leadership, staffing, HR/people strategy, technology, merger and acquisitions, strategic planning and social innovation.

Ira holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from the Milano School of Management at the New School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from Queen College. 

Rae Linefsky

Senior Advisor


Rae is a highly accomplished nonprofit and public sector executive with more than four decades’ leadership experience. In the public sector, Rae served as First Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner (Acting) of the NYC Human Resources Administration. She has been CEO, Interim Executive Director and Senior Executive for a number of prominent nonprofit organizations in New York, Boston and Philadelphia including: the YWCA of the City of New York; Trustees of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor in the City of New York; NYANA; FEGS Health and Human Services; and Court Employment Project. As a Senior Advisor Rae has been instrumental in helping to plan and establish several new nonprofit organizations, leading organizational assessment and design work and serving as a highly trusted advisor and executive leadership coach to numerous Executive Directors and nonprofit leaders. Rae is a fierce and compassionate advocate for the nonprofit sector and issues related to workforce development, youth development, education and criminal justice. She is a distinguished expert and consultant in the areas of program planning and design, executive coaching, growth strategy, nonprofit organizational leadership and public policy impacting a broad range of human service issues. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, was a Mayoral appointee to the NYC Workforce Investment Board for 13 years, was a member of DYCD’s Youth Council and has been a guest lecturer at many universities, conferences and seminars. Rae holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Boston University.

Whitney C. Allgood PhD

Senior Advisor

Whitney Allgood is a CEO, senior leader, and PhD with 25 years’ experience in organizational leadership, program design and delivery, and research in a diverse range of nonprofit, academic and public education settings. She has helped organizations launch, shift, focus, and merge, and has a leadership style that combines rigorous inquiry and truth-seeking with practical change management prowess. As CEO of the National School Climate Center at Ramapo, Whitney led a team of researchers, practitioners and advocates through a strategic transformation and merger, while helping make schools safer, healthier, and more engaging and inclusive. 

A lifelong advocate for equitable access to high quality learning experiences for all children, Allgood previously served as National Director of Teen Programs at Step Up, a non-profit providing free SEL-based after-school programming and mentoring to girls attending under-resourced schools in five states. As Chief of Staff at The News Literacy Project, she led assessment, evaluation and operational activities for the start-up non-profit, which is now widely recognized as a leader in the promotion of news literacy and civil, civic discourse among middle and high schoolers. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Whitney served as Director of Assessment and Accountability for D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education. 

Whitney was an inaugural Fellow with the Strategic Data Project at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, where she worked in the Office of Accountability at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She previously held research posts with The School Finance Redesign Project and The Economic Policy Institute. She spent her early career working in schools set up in emergency transitional and clinical settings in Tennessee and teaching in a Title 1 school in Orlando, FL. Whitney holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Human Development  and is proud to be a first generation college graduate and female executive.

Heather Bivens

Senior Executive Search Consultant


Heather Bivens has over twenty years experience working as a Clinician, Manager and Senior Administrator in the healthcare industry.  She has held senior positions for several major nonprofit organizations and in diverse settings in City and State government in Boston, Washington DC and New York. Her experience as a Behavioral Health Clinician has provided her with specialized expertise in executive search and talent acquisition for a wide range of organizations.  She is experienced in HR consulting, full cycle recruiting, policy development and review, and quality assurance and compliance.  As a Senior Executive Search Consultant, Heather has collaborated with many social impact organizations and has been instrumental in assessing HR talent strategy and building effective recruitment programs to attract superior leadership and skilled professionals to fill a diverse range of roles. Heather holds a Masters degree in Psychology from American University and a BA in Psychology from George Mason University.

Sharon Sheer

Senior Consultant
HR Strategy & Executive Search

Sharon is a human resources executive with demonstrated accomplishments in start-up, mid-sized and large global organizations in the media, publishing, healthcare and nonprofit sectors. Creative and strategic with domestic and international experience, she is recognized as a proactive, results-oriented leader and change agent with strong implementation skills in complex operations.

Sharon has restructured the HR functions at The Paley Center for Media, Homer Learning, Delta Children’s Products, Smile Train, Brooklyn Bridge Park and High 5 Games.

Previously, as SVP of Global Staffing & Diversity for The Nielsen Company, Sharon built a Center of Excellence which provided staffing and talent acquisition services to the $5 billion global organization, as well as a global diversity program. In her prior Nielsen role, she was SVP of Human Resources for Business Media, the operating division comprised of publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Backstage, Adweek, Brandweek, etc.), conferences, expositions and websites/e-media.

An HR professional for over 35 years, Sharon aligns HR/People strategy and programs with the strategic and operating plans of businesses. She has held senior HR leadership roles for EMI Records Group, ABC Broadcasting, Healthfirst, Penguin Books, as well as maintained her own consulting organization, Innovative Strategies LLC, working for start-ups and established organizations going through periods of change.

Sharon earned her MBA in Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management from the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College. She earned additional certificates for global study at Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and Ashridge Business School in London. Her undergraduate degree, earned with honors at Brooklyn College, was in Sociology. She was elected to Alpha Kappa Delta, the national honor society in Sociology.

Sharon lives in Manhattan. Her interests include art, music, museums, film, opera and a lifelong love of New York City.

Michael Mead

Senior Consultant + Leadership Coach

Michael has over 30 years’ experience as a teacher, leadership coach, entrepreneur, and business consultant – all experiences he brings to his leadership coaching work and consulting practice through his firm Michael Mead Executive Coaching, LLC 

Following the early part of his career as a high school teacher, Michael transitioned to the corporate sector where he built a highly successful career over the course of 30 years in business development, client/professional services and real estate management and sales. He spent the past 18 years as Managing Director with Deloitte LLP  where he was responsible for cultivating and managing client relationships with both large multinational companies and emerging companies. Prior to this, Michael worked for Arthur Anderson as the National Director of Business Development & Global Client Service and as Managing Director at Meridian VAT Reclaim, where he was responsible for sales and client service for the firm’s initial entry in the United States market.  

Michael’s work at Deloitte where he was responsible for professional services, client services and mentoring other Deloitte leaders combined with his early career experience as an educator, and certification as an executive coach, was instrumental in preparing him to be an authentic and empathic coach and deliver impactful mentoring experiences with senior corporate executives, nonprofit leaders and business professionals.  

Michael received his certification as a Coach from the iCoach Program at the Zicklin Business School at Baruch College, and ICF accredited program.  Additionally, he has been certified by Deloitte as a facilitator and has mentored numerous professionals at Deloite through facilitating classes such as: Art of Empathy, Art of Inquiry and its Emerging Leadership Program. Michael holds a Master’s in Science in Healthcare Administration, from CUNY/Hunter College and a Bachelor of Science in Education from CUNY/Brooklyn College.

Leah Frankel-Bonacci, SHRM - CP

Senior Associate


Leah has a background in both progressive People Operations and traditional Human Resources. She is a certified SHRM-CP HR manager and has amassed over 400 hours of facilitation experience. Her expertise lies in assisting organizations to cultivate environments that foster high-quality workplace cultures and to establish self-sustaining policies at the implementation level. Leah has worked with executive leadership teams to design People Operations and HR departments from the ground-up. She also aids businesses in designing cross-functional strategies that bolster continuous initiative and program success through ongoing evaluation. Leah passionately believes that exceptional People Operations and HR departments are based upon a holistic approach to the community of individuals that make up an organization. Empathy and design-thinking drive her approach to employee wellness and engagement; leadership; organizational growth; diversity, equity, inclusion; and workforce development programming. Leah earned her B.A. in Education and History of Architecture from Brown University and her Master’s degree in Education Administration from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.