Ellen Chisa

About | Portfolio | Writing | Speaking & Teaching | Coffee


Hello! You can find me around the internet or in real life, but this is my story so far.

I just made it through my first semester at Harvard Business School. It was a difficult decision, and it's been up and down. I've been sharing some of what I've learned along the way here. I'm headed to Indonesia to work with a Cereal company during January. I miss making things, so I've been working on a side project with Tom. We'll announce it soon. By the end of my time at HBS, I want to have started my own company.

I'm disappointed that I no longer have as much time to read - although I did just realized I hadn't accounted for 25 books this year! Right now I'm reading Start Here: Read Your Way Into 25 Amazing Authors by Jeff O'Neal. My New Year's Resolution was to commit something to Github everyday. I gave up, but I did finish a visualization of what I've read so far. You can fork it on Github to make your own. Some other things I enjoy are writing, SCUBA Diving, and the Twilight Zone pinball machine.

My last job before this was as a Product Manager at Kickstarter. I worked on a new set of Discovery tools amongst other things. A big part of working at Kickstarter is getting to see (and support!) creative projects. Here are a few projects I recently backed:

TarDisk 256GB | MacBook Storage Expansion Module

Exploding Kittens

Freaker Feet! 127 USA made sock designs!

I was a Dean and Trustee of the Awesome Foundation for three years. If you're interested in learning more about the it, you should check out this talk that I gave with Nikki Lee at Creative Mornings. The talk itself is 17 minutes, and the rest is Q&A.

I used to live in Seattle, where I was a Program Manager at Microsoft. I worked on Office for Windows Phone 8. I also worked on something that I still affectionately refer to as "The Oompa Loompas" and on PowerPoint Broadcast for Symbian. I wrote a longer essay on my time at Microsoft.

Before that, I graduated from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering with a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering. My senior capstone project at Olin was studying "transitioners" - people who were graduating from college and going to work for the first time. My team designed an application called Sundrop: Saving for a Sunny Day, meant to encourage impulse saving. One of my favorite parts of the application was the "Not Starbucks" feature.

At one point, I took a Leave of Absence from Olin. While on leave I co-founded Alight Learning with five of my friends. We attempted to design learning management software from pedagogical principles, rather than automating the existing student-teacher workflow.

I grew up in Michigan. I attended the International Academy for High School, which at the time was the only all-public all-International Baccalaurate school in North America. I'm still a huge fan of the IB curriculum. I was also a member of FIRST Robotics Team 469.

Since this is the internet, here is a video of my cat:

Still reading? I enjoy meeting new people! If you're in Boston, we could grab coffee (be forewarned, I'll ask you to meet me at 7am). You can email me at ellen.chisa@gmail.com.