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 went to Indonesia to work with a Cereal company during January, which was awesome. My other big project right now is teaching Product Management at Olin College. I've made my syllabus available, and I'm updating as we go through each lesson.

I'm anxious to start my own company again. I have a few projects brewing, and right now I'm interested in: cheese, people moving, and why people don't hang up their art. For HBS I'm working on an idea to connect amateur photographers and casual events.

I love reading. I spend a lot of time reading cases for HBS, but I still try to get a bunch of books in. Right now I'm reading Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. 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:

The Emoji Translation Project

Only on Kickstarter: THE LEADER'S GUIDE by ERIC RIES

RapidSOS One-Touch-911

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.