Ellen Chisa

About | Writing | Speaking | Portfolio | Mentoring

Hello! You can find me around the internet or in real life,
but this is my story. My New Year's Resolution is to commit
something to Github everyday. I started with a visualization of
what I've read so far
, because I love to read. You can fork it on
Github to make your own.

Right now I'm reading Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work by Dan Roam. Some other things I enjoy are writing, SCUBA Diving, and the Twilight Zone pinball machine.

I spend most of my time as a Product Manager at Kickstarter. Most recently, I shipped a new set of Discovery tools. If you try them, let me know what you think. A big part of working at Kickstarter is getting to see (and support!) creative projects. Most recently, I backed these:

Game of Phones

Boulder Bee Yards

UX for Good 2014: Harnessing Feelings to Prevent Genocide

I'm also a trustee of the Awesome Foundation NYC. Our most recent grant was to the Curbside Compost Messaging. We support interesting work by giving away $1000, no strings attached, every month.

If you're interested in learning more about the Awesome Foundation, 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.

If you've bothered to read this far, I really like meeting new people! You can find me at all these places online:

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

If you're in NYC, we could grab coffee. You can email me at ellen dot chisa at gmail dot com. If you wanted my advice, I'd recommend checking out my Mentoring page first.