Actionable research and strategy when the stakes are highest.

Pragmatic, principled research consultant to public and private sector clients

Improving our systems is too important to leave to guesswork. I believe that the best policy choices stem from a commitment to quality research, asking the right questions, and making sure that everyone has a seat at the proverbial table where decisions are made.

Christina Barsky

About Me

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Montana has been my home for more than 15 years. In addition to my consulting practice, I am a faculty member in the Baucus Institute Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Montana. There, I work with the current and future generations of public servants on solving wicked problems and meeting public challenges. Previously, I spent more than a decade leading transformative change efforts across the Western U.S. in my roles with a premier public affairs firm and a regional nonprofit collaborative.

My clients benefit from my years of building trusting relationships with leaders across local, state, federal and tribal governments, as well as those with influence in the private sector. The value of my work lies in distilling complex problems into actionable solutions, and prioritizing good data over gut instinct. My professional passions are finding answers to tough questions and making public policymaking more accessible to everyday people.

 What I Can Do For you

As a “pracademic” (practitioner-academic), I love using my expertise to help clients solve real-world problems and answer their most pressing questions. I am more interested in using my sills in ways that are actually useful and actionable in communities that stand to benefit than I am in esoteric academic investigations. Private companies and public sector clients, including state, tribal, and local agencies, as well as large nonprofits, turn to me for services including but not limited to:


Needs assessments


Strategic planning and facilitation

Workforce assessment strategy and training plans


Grasstops and grassroots campaigns

Gap analysis and program evaluation

Qualitative and quantitative research


White papers and policy research

Focus groups and polling

SkyBar Solutions is available on a retainer basis, as well as fixed-bid projects.

Christina Barsky

The Skybar Approach

Improving our systems is too important to leave to guesswork. I believe that the best policy choices stem from a commitment to quality research, asking the right questions, and making sure that everyone has a seat at the proverbial table where decisions are made.

I pride myself on leaving no stone unturned and no detail overlooked, even while sifting through multiple streams of information to understand the scope of a wicked problem. My eyes light up at the prospect of a solving a research puzzle because I know that there are real people and communities that stand to benefit from a job well done. My tenacity, commitment to excellence, and Midwestern practicality and work ethic help me consistently surpass client expectations.

Professional highlights include serving on the national Prosperity Now (CFED) Assets and Opportunity Network steering committee, where my work shaping payday lending reform in Montana informed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s policy guidance, and leading data collection, quality, and assurance for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ten-year visitor use study.

I also led development of the Northern Plains Initiative Children’s Savings Account program with Reach Higher Montana. I’ve been honored as a trusted advisor for Indigenous publications about payday lending, and recognized as a partner by Indigenous scholars, including Dr. Heather Cahoon on her American Indian Governance & Policy Center. I’m a frequent presenter at conferences and my research has been published in Public Administration Quarterly, the International Journal of Public Administration, the Journal of Public Affairs Education, the Journal of Political Science Education, and many others.

Let’s work together.

Christina Barsky, Ph.D., M.P.A.
President, SkyBar Solutions

What My clients say

“Christina Barsky is an authoritative, talented, and pragmatic policy expert and campaign operative. Her expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods and how to best apply them to develop new knowledge and inform real, lasting change have been invaluable to me and the companies I’ve led.”

Richard Miltenberger,

CEO, Montana Health Co-Op

“Christina’s help in guiding us through a comprehensive processes evaluation of our AmeriCorps Program led to us being able to strengthen and grow our program. Her attention to detail and ability to quickly come up to speed on the nuances of Montana State Parks and our AmeriCorps Program, compounded by the federal evaluation requirements resulted in an extremely valuable report which exceeded our expectations.”

Ken Soderberg

Assistant Administrator of Operations, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks

“There is no problem that Christina, or as I call her, ‘Barsky,’ cannot solve. Her critical thinking skills and attention to detail have led me to send numerous clients her way for their research and polling needs. She’s smart as hell, passionate about American democracy, and a wonderful human being.”

Caitlin Copple Masingill

Founder, Full Swing Public Relations

“Christina’s strategic planning and facilitating skills are second to none. She was able to deftly guide several months of joint strategic planning between two state agencies competing for funds – leading us to all-round satisfactory and successful outcomes.”

Kali Wicks, MPA/CPH

Manager, Government Relations, , Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, A Division of HCSC