Organizational and Leadership Development

With over thirty years in the non-profit and social sectors, Community Allies can provide:

Board and staff retreats. Get your board on board and empower your staff. Our creative and inspiring retreats clarify roles, define strategy, provide focus on what’s most important, build accountability, and create a safe space to have difficult conversations. The result is stronger teams with clear and measurable steps to move forward.

Board development. Board service should be fulfilling, enjoyable, and impactful. Community Allies will provide guidance to assist boards to find their right roles, contribute productively towards the organization's mission and goals, and communicate effectively with one another and the public. We tailor our board work towards your organization's specific needs and stage of development.

Interim executive and program directorship. Community Allies' experts will step in when you have staff transitions so that you can catch your breath and make your best possible next move. We can also help with hiring and onboarding.

'Check-up’ on finances, programs, and operations. Is your infrastructure serving your mission or hindering it? Community Allies will review your operations and provide counsel on how you can be more strategic, efficient, and effective.

Economic development agency and business improvement district (special service area) best practices. Give your economic development services a boost! Community Allies will help you determine what is and isn't working, necessary, and desired.

Leadership development. Running an organization in the non-profit or social sector is hard work. Community Allies will coach your team on setting realistic goals, staying on mission, communicating effectively, developing management skills, and avoiding burn-out.

"Ellen is one of the most adept team-builders I have ever met."
-- Martin Sorge, Executive Director, Uptown United

"Ellen understands the ins and outs of how to run these kinds of organizations. . . She couldn't have been a better facilitator. There was an immediate sense of trust that allowed people to open to a conversation they might not have otherwise had."
-- Kelli Wefenstette, Six Corners Association and Special Service Area #28

"I am inspired by Ellen's ability to tune into people's deepest desires for their work and help them create a road map to get there."
-- Vicki Pozzebon, Prospera Partners

sample projects

Community Allies worked with Chicago’s Six Corners Association over a period of three years, bringing together the association and business district improvement boards to define their distinct roles; come to consensus on the vision, individual missions, and strategic plans; and align programs, operations, and budgets with short- and long-term strategy.

Community Allies provided strategic planning and research for Common Pantry, a neighborhood emergency food and social services agency, enabling the organization to better serve its clients and attract new funding through clear articulation and focus on strategic goals.