Meredith Emmett and Heather Yandow, Third Space Studio’s lead consultants, are an intergenerational team with many experiences helping nonprofits articulate and implement bold strategy and action.

We have more than 40 years of combined experience as nonprofit capacity builders, facilitators, trainers, and coaches. 

Meredith Emmett


Meredith Emmett is known for her interactive and creative ways of engaging people in meaningful conversation and thoughtful action. She inspires leaders to use their strengths and successes to create bold impact.

As founder of Third Space Studio, Meredith has worked with dozens of nonprofits in North Carolina and across the country. Meredith has over thirty years of experience as a leader in the nonprofit sector. Prior to co-founding Third Space Studio in 2001, Meredith served as executive director of three North Carolina-based nonprofits: the Institute for Southern Studies, NC Community Shares, and Public Allies of NC. Meredith has served on numerous local, state, and national nonprofit boards. She currently serves on the board of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, the nonprofit focused on the creek in her backyard.

Meredith is part of the Institute for Conservation Leadership’s national network of consultants where she serves on the team responsible for an intensive training program for new executive directors of environmental organizations. She also taught a graduate-level course in nonprofit management at the Terry Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University for over a decade. Meredith earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 1982. 

In her free time, Meredith enjoys painting, cycling, gardening, and hanging out with friends and neighbors across her adopted hometown of Durham, North Carolina.

Contact Meredith at or 919.416.1802.

Heather Yandow

Heather Yandow inspires nonprofit leaders to be more strategic and thoughtful in their action. She is known for her appreciation of both data and story as well as her belief that it is better to be great than to be good. 

Heather is the creator of Third Space Studio’s annual Individual Donor Benchmark report.  Recent reports have been covered by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Nonprofit Times and the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.

Heather brings more than a decade of experience as a fundraiser, facilitator, outreach coordinator, and project manager to Third Space Studio and our clients. Prior to joining Third Space Studio in 2010, Heather was the Director of Development and Communications with the NC Conservation Network, a statewide network of over 100 organizations focused on protecting North Carolina's environment and public health. During her nine-year tenure, Heather developed sustainable strategies to diversify revenues, directed a growing fundraising program, and built a comprehensive set of benchmarks to track programmatic progress. 

Heather is a founder of the Beehive Collective, a giving circle in Raleigh, and is a former board member of Democracy NC and ncyt: NC’s Network of Young Nonprofit Professionals. Heather holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina. 

In her free time, Heather enjoys riding bikes, hanging out with her dog, and enjoying the great music and food in the Triangle.

Contact Heather at or 919.780.4117.


  • National Public Pension Coalition (DC)
  • NC Association for the Education of Young Children
  • NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • NC Conservation Network
  • NC Network of Grantmakers
  • Schoolhouse of Wonder (NC)
  • Student Action with Farmworkers (NC)
  • Sycamore Institute (TN)
  • Triangle Community Foundation (NC)
  • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (NC)

Recent clients include:

  • Biodynamic Association (WI)
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC Foundation
  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (DC)
  • Clean Air Carolinas (NC)
  • Conservation Trust for NC
  • Democracy NC
  • Down East Partnership for Children (NC)
  • Land Trust Alliance (DC)
  • Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (NC)
  • NARAL Pro-Choice NC

Our approach:

At Third Space Studio, we work in close partnership with our clients designing and creating together to craft concrete product and to build the capacity of people to discover and implement new ideas.  Over the course of our work with many clients, we have developed the following guidelines for a fruitful relationship. 

  • Keep the energy moving back and forth. Stay in touch on a regular basis and work in person when possible as resources allow. Provide a timely response (within 48 hours) to requests for information and feedback.
  • Try on new ideas and ways of thinking. Bumbling and learning are key to new discoveries.
  • Openly share information knowing that it will be kept confidential outside the partnership.
  • Be flexible with tasks and schedules as priorities shift.
  • Trust that we will figure out tough questions and resolve any disagreements.
  • Create a conspiracy for each other’s success.