Lija McHugh Farnham


Lija is a partner in The Bridgespan Group’s San Francisco office. Since joining the firm in 2007, Lija has been a leader in developing Bridgespan's Education Practice, with casework spanning an array of topics within education reform, and with clients including large foundations and local funders, state departments of education, school districts, charter management organizations, and innovative nonprofits. She has worked with these organizations on a range of issues including strategic planning and decision making, organizational design, structure and processes, performance measurement, and implementation. Stemming from her work with states and districts in particular, Lija is an author of the paper "Building the Missing Link between the Common Core and Improved Learning," (, 2013) and a series of related blog posts. Lija is also a co-author of "Rethinking How Students Succeed," (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2015) and “Field Building for Population-Level Change” (, 2020).

Prior to joining Bridgespan, Lija worked at Marakon Associates, a boutique strategy consultancy, where her projects included developing a global strategy for a large automaker and recalibrating the recruitment strategy of an alternative teacher certification and placement organization in the United States.

In addition to her passion for educational equity, Lija also is very involved in women's issues. She serves as the Board President of WOMAN, Inc., a Bay Area nonprofit organization serving and advocating for survivors of domestic violence, and is an advisor to the San Francisco chapter of UNIFEM. She grew up in Los Angeles and studied both Public Policy and Studio Art at Stanford University.