Ellen has always been passionate about creating diverse and inclusive spaces. As an immigrant from Ghana and a woman of color, she has grappled with issues of difference, inclusion, and equity for most of her life.
In high school, in addition to her dedication to academic success, Ellen was active in her school and local community. She was president of Middle Passage, an organization committed to supporting African American students in her high school, and an executive board member of Club IsIs, a women’s organization. Ellen also founded Ignatians For Fine Arts, which promoted access to the arts for those from limited financial means. She participated as a delegate in the Junge Visionen Pupil Peace Workshop: Steps Towards a New Millennium in Hamburg, Germany, where she worked with students from around the world to explore solutions for peace through art. Delegates built sculptures, choreographed dances, painted murals, and wrote music. Finally, Ellen was a member of Future Leaders of Chicago, where she met with students from around the city to discuss problems facing the city, such as crime, drugs, affordable health care, and access to equitable educational opportunities.
Ellen’s passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity continued into college, where she served as a student liaison for the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. In this capacity, she facilitated communication among and organized events for various racial and cultural groups on campus. After graduating from college, she worked for The Film Posse, Inc. as a production assistant on a documentary about high infant mortality rates within the African American community. The documentary, titled “When the Bough Breaks,” is part of the award-winning PBS series Unnatural Causes…Is Inequality Making Us Sick? While with The Film Posse, she also assisted with the feature-length documentary, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, about the life of the legendary playwright of A Raisin in the Sun. While in law school at the University of Virginia School of Law, Ellen served as president of the Black Law Students Association and was on the Board of the Center for the Study of Race and Law.
After law school, Ellen worked as an investment management associate, most recently with Ropes & Gray LLP, and counseled registered investment companies and their independent directors on a range of regulatory, compliance and transactional matters. She is currently helping law firms recruit and retain diverse attorneys and counseling young attorneys through the challenges of law firm life. She writes and speaks on barriers to success for diverse attorneys.
Ellen currently serves on the Board of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and, until recently, the Associate Board of The Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. She is also a co-founder of Diversity & Chill, which hosts Chicagoans from different racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds for brunch or happy hour in different neighborhoods as a way to encourage intercultural dialogue. She is also a member of a women of color creative writing collective.
A personal family friend describes Ellen as “the type of person from whose influence the world will greatly benefit. Her level of excellence will only continue to increase exponentially as future opportunities and challenges to do so are presented to her.”