April Steele

April Steele

April is an applied anthropologist with a passion for helping organizations create high impact, human-centered products and services. As a business anthropologist at Southern Growth Studio, April designs and conducts tailored research plans to evaluate new or potential markets and create key insights for growth and innovation.

During her graduate studies at the University of Memphis, April served as Housing and Community Development Fellow at United Housing, researching the role of nonprofits in helping communities flourish. After graduating, she was hired as the Director of Evaluation and Strategy at Latino Memphis, where she spent three years helping to improve organizational performance. There, she honed her grant writing skills and implemented new data management and evaluation strategies to help improve the services available to Latino Memphis’ clients.

April maintains a passion for social justice and a lifelong desire to better understand the world around her. She is a lover of art, science, and Southern culture.


Evan Katz

Evan Katz

Evan Katz is an experienced entrepreneur with a passion for helping turn ideas into reality. Having learned through experience as the founder/CEO of two successful startups, Evan is well-versed in most aspects of new product testing and development, capital fundraising, and growth strategies. At Southern Growth studio, he splits his time between advising client companies on growth strategy and guiding startup companies to success in their day-to-day operations.

Additionally, Evan has worked for many years as a copywriter. He’s helped over 75 businesses both small and large find their voice through writing that’s conversational, refreshing, and often funny. Evan graduated from Rhodes College with a BA in Business.

Outside of work (and occasionally inside), Evan enjoys playing a variety of sports, painting, and playing guitar for anyone that he can make listen.


Sarah Donovan

Sarah Donovan

As the Manager of Insights & Innovation at Southern Growth Studio, Sarah draws on her diverse background to create ethnographic plans that focus on human-centered design and produce key insights for client growth and strategic direction.

While obtaining her Masters in Applied Anthropology, Sarah coordinated the launch of an after-school program for underserved youth at Shelby Farms Park, the largest urban park in the United States, while also evaluating the first year progress of a local farmer’s market set in the middle of one of the nation’s poorest food deserts. Her outstanding dedication to Memphis’ underserved communities earned Sarah the Engaged Service Award from the University of Memphis in 2013. After graduating, Sarah continued to exercise her coordinating and evaluative skills by overseeing the acquisition and execution of small balance loans as a member of the single counsel legal team for Freddie Mac.

As a lifelong Memphian, Sarah brings a robust gusto and unique sense of humor to the Southern Growth Studio team.


Josh Roberts

Josh Roberts

Before joining Southern Growth Studio as a Project Lead and Analyst, Josh Roberts spent 8 years learning the disciplines of advertising, public relations, and interactive media at Ogilvy in Los Angeles and archer>malmo in Memphis.

At Ogilvy, Josh’s clients included Intel, LG Electronics, and Giant Bicycle. Upon returning home to Memphis to work at archer>malmo, he focused on a client roster that included FedEx, Medtronic, and Verizon Wireless.

Josh’s time at Southern Growth Studio has focused on leading growth strategy and innovation projects for brands including Fruit of the Loom, Russell Athletic, Memphis College of Art, Merck Consumer Care, and some of the world’s most important and prestigious nonprofit organizations.

 This work has led to clients making dramatic improvements in their brands, both in strategy and marketing, conceptual executions in goods and services, and in shifting interactions with customers from transactional to relationship-based.


Mark Levine

Mark Levine

Mark is President of Southern Growth Studio, and leads the Studio’s Strategic Analysis team.

Mark has been actively helping businesses of all sizes grow for over 15 years, specializing in strategic planning, investment analysis and business development.  He was most recently Director of Mergers & Acquisitions for ServiceMaster, a $3+ billion home services provider. Prior to joining ServiceMaster, Mark was Director of Business Development for Guardian Pharmacy, responsible for sourcing and executing acquisitions for a PE-backed, long-term care pharmacy business that was twice named one of Atlanta’s Top 20 fastest growing companies during his tenure.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Mark’s passion for travel and exploration has led him to visit (and occasionally reside in) over 30 countries across six continents.  He holds a BS with honors in Finance and International Studies from Indiana University and an MBA from Emory University.


Michael Graber

Michael Graber

Michael is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Southern Growth Studio, and leads the qualitative team with a focus on innovation.

Michael has more than twenty years of experience leading marketing and innovation efforts. An expert in experiential marketing and user interface, Michael has consulted across a wide range of industries through his work at iXL and advertising agencies.  He previously founded Johnson|Graber, a successful interactive marketing firm that was acquired by Memphis-based Lokion in 2004. Also an accomplished brand strategist, Michael has advised a myriad of clients on the positioning strategy and value proposition.

A published poet and musician, Michael is the creative force that compliments the analytical side of the house. Michael speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in marketing, business strategy, and innovation.

Michael holds a M.F.A from the University of Memphis.