EGSP_CroppedElissa Perry has over 20 years of experience as a staff member, board member, consultant and coach with several individuals, organizations and initiatives in the areas of leadership, youth development and the arts. Past clients include Greenlining Institute, Partnership for Working Families, New York City Mission Society, Urban Habitat, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, and PICO California.

Elissa joined MAG in 2013. As the Program Catalyst for the Network Leadership Innovation Lab, Elissa co-creates and co-designs lab gatherings, synthesizes learning, and shepherds the sharing of lab learning, tools and outcomes. In her senior consultant role, Elissa supports MAG clients with leadership development and coaching services for individuals and teams.

In addition to her work with MAG, Elissa teaches in the MA in Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s College where she facilitates diverse, cross-sector and multi-issue learning communities in developing and implementing leadership plans and practices and recently helped establish a Social Justice concentration.

Elissa enjoys bringing together theory and real-world practice and is driven by the values of human dignity and justice in both what she does and how she does it. She is co-author of “Doing More with More: Lessons from a Shared Leadership Initiative,” published in the Nonprofit Quarterly, “Toward ‘Complex Adaptive Philanthropy’: Preliminary Learnings from the Network Leadership Innovation Lab,” and “Leadership and Race: How to Develop Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice.” She is also the lead author on “The Network Leadership Innovation Lab: A Practice for Social Change,” in the forthcoming 2015 edition of the Handbook of Action Research.

Prior to joining MAG, Elissa was an independent consultant and spent six years with the Leadership Learning Community where she worked with organizers, funders, scholars and consultants to further the social justice field through the development, sharing and application of leadership knowledge in its many forms. Elissa has also been involved in innovative initiatives to improve education and was a Vice President for the Different Ways of Knowing arts-infused model of public education.

Elissa holds a BA in Humanities with a concentration in social change and an MFA with concentrations in teaching and ethnic literature. She is also an accredited Values & Leadership Coach. When she’s not at MAG (and even sometimes when she is!) you can find Elissa writing, dancing, exploring other art forms, and hanging out with trees.

Elissa has also been involved in innovative initiatives to improve education and was a Vice President for the Different Ways of Knowing arts-infused educational model. A former high school creative writing teacher, tap dance instructor and afterschool arts program developer, Elissa is also a talented facilitator with a background in both youth and adult differentiated learning.

Her recent research has been primarily focused on leadership as it pertains to justice.

Other Affiliations

Recent Publications

Selected Research

  • Network Leadership Innovation Lab, A C0-Created Leadership Lab for Leaders in Movement Networks for Justice, 2013-2015.
  • Developing a Racial Justice and Leadership Framework to Promote Racial Equity, Address Structural Racism, and Heal Racial and Ethnic Divisions in Communities, with Claire Reinelt for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, July 2009.
  • A Scan of Leadership Development Efforts in Communities of Color in a Five County Region of California, for the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, December 2008.
  • Multiple Styles of Leadership – Increasing the Racial Diversity of the Leadership of the Nonprofit Sector, for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, April 2006.

Selected Clients

  • Alameda County Office of Education’s Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership
  • Emerging Arts Professionals of the Bay Area
  • Greenlining Institute
  • National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
  • New York City Mission Society
  • TCC Group, Inc.
  • University of Hawaii, Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
  • Urban Habitat’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute
  • Urban Strategies Council
  • Youth Service California
  • YMCA of the East Bay

Selected Workshop Topics

  • Art, Spirit, Justice & Joy – Our Whole Selves in the Work
  • Doing More with More – Increasing Organizational Leadership Capacity
  • Our Walking & Our Talking – Processes that Build Trust
  • What to Bring, When to Bring It – Adaptive & Technical Leadership

Sample Interventions

  • Conversations for Learning
  • Peer Coaching 101
  • Values & Leadership – assessment & coaching
  • Action Learning
  • U Process (Theory U)

For Elissa Perry artivist, thinker, doer, agitator, visit abc…xyz…beyond.

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