meet the team
Founder & Managing Partner,
Kate is a certified professional coach and accomplished strategy consultant. For 20 years she has honed her expertise in strategy, executive leadership and entrepreneurship. She consults high-performing foundation and nonprofit leaders on growth strategy, management and implementation planning. Kate currently partners with The Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm affiliated with Bain & Company, as a coach and facilitator for its Leading for Impact® program, helping ambitious nonprofits pursue strategic opportunities and build capacity to improve their performance over time, focusing on customized team-led projects and executive team development. She is a faculty coach at the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School and Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University, teaching Leadership Effectiveness in the Quinlan School of Business.See More +
Kate served most recently as a managing director and head of Project Impact at A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund. In this role, she was a leader in shaping the organization’s grant-making strategy, which involved determining funding priorities, how it supported portfolio organizations and when to exit grantee relationships. Additionally, she oversaw multi-year relationships with a portfolio of grantees, including conducting diligence and brokering management support. She also led community impact strategic planning as a director at the United Way of Metro Chicago.
After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, Kate received a fellowship to write strategy and marketing cases for that institution. Shortly thereafter, she worked for The Bridgespan Group where she consulted nonprofit and foundation management teams to undertake growth while maintaining high quality outcomes for their beneficiaries. Early in her career, Kate was co-founder and executive director of Computers for Children, an organization that enhances children’s educational opportunities through technology.
Kate attended the College of Executive Coaching, is certified in administering Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and has spent years researching and learning about transition for women and leadership, which spurred an initiative and focus area on women’s leadership.
In her spare time, Kate hosts Iron Chef competitions and enjoys lip sync battles with her husband and their four children. She is actively involved in the Family Action Network (FAN) and in her children’s schools, most recently jamming on air guitar for the McKenzie Elementary annual fundraiser. She is also a Gold Investor Circle member and volunteer at Women Employed, and a strategic advisor for Reading in Motion.
Kate helped us develop our investment strategy and identify grantee candidates. I’m impressed by her ability to learn quickly, connect with people, think strategically and just get things done.
Kate has strong consultant capabilities to help the client achieve better outcomes. I saw this in action in individual settings involving reluctant state directors and in large group interactions where gaining consensus across a network was needed.
Kate helped us identify, navigate and broker capacity-building support in a very complex education environment. Kate showed unwavering commitment to our philosophy, and she was a trustworthy, creative thought partner as we navigated challenges and opportunities.
Kate has superior nonprofit strategy expertise and facilitative skills. She is comprehensive in her preparation, engaging in her interactions, thoughtful and precise in her questions, and articulate and compelling in her products.
Founder & CEO
Elizabeth leads the systems change strategy practice at Aim & Arrow. Since 2012, she has supported government agencies, non-profits, and philanthropic entities to define, measure, and scale social impact.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Elizabeth worked with state education leaders to bolster and sustain the child-care industry and plan for a new landscape in teacher preparation & public education.
Now, she is supporting efforts to create lasting change at scale – working with:
– Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Illinois State Board of Education to transform Illinois schools’ capacity to support student mental health
– Chicago Public Library and Chicago Public Schools to unite in their support of over 300,000 students to be curious, engaged, and informed citizens
– Chicago Department of Public Health to reach over 30,000 newborns annually for maternal and child health screening in their homes
– the City of Chicago to maximize public resources across health, mental health, and education supports
Eli is an Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern University, where she teaches nonprofit management and consulting, and Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University, where she teaches Leadership Effectiveness in the Quinlan School of Business.
From 2008-2012, Eli oversaw $40 million in annual grants to over 250 health and human service agencies as VP of Community Investments at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Prior to that, she led organizational strategies in economic empowerment for women, racial justice, and sexual assault programming during her 8 year tenure with the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
Eli has served on the boards of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, and Center for New Community. Her favorite role, however, is as a Girl Scout troop leader for her two daughters – Teddy and Charlotte.
Elizabeth is a highly collaborative, communicative and intelligent strategic thinker. She “gets it” and can understand the very essence of where you are and where you need to go. We were so lucky to have such a rock star work with us. If you get the chance to work with Eli, don’t hesitate!
Elizabeth is a gifted strategist who can successfully develop long term initiatives with measurable, research-based results that can transform communities.
Elizabeth Cole led Free Spirit Media’s latest strategic planning process, and we were delighted by her process and delivery. Elizabeth was a great listener. Her overall scope and her attention to detail were completely on point.
Elizabeth has the rare ability to deliver pitch perfect solutions to vexing problems and lead those with differing viewpoints to common ground.
Elizabeth is an exemplary strategist and leader with an unwavering commitment to improving community conditions. She has shown infallible dexterity in taking on complex social issues and discovering creative and progressive solutions that work. Leaders like Elizabeth are of a class unto themselves.
We hired Elizabeth to help us develop the outcomes and impact our programs have on our clients and our community. She made what could have been a very challenging project simple and enjoyable. Elizabeth worked very hard to ensure that our project was successful and could sustain into the future.
Elizabeth truly understands the needs in the health and human service sector and demonstrates an unwavering ability to bring the right people and organizations together to get the work done.
Elizabeth is a big thinker who cares deeply about justice, equality, and improving the quality of life for people in Chicago.
Elizabeth has the leadership ability to craft visions, inspire action, empower others.
Devi Raja is a Partner and head of the Strategy practice at Aim & Arrow, and works with mission-driven leaders across sectors on leadership and strategy to achieve greater impact. Devi brings a broad perspective, strong intuition, and entrepreneurial spirit to her clients, shaped by 15 years of experience across consulting, start-ups, and the social sector.See More +
Alongside her work at Aim & Arrow, Devi has served as coach and facilitator for The Bridgespan Group’s Leading For Impact® program in Chicago, as well as its Strategic Clarity Accelerator. Devi joined Aim & Arrow from Bain & Company, where began as an Analyst and left as a Manager. She has held Strategy Director roles at organizations as diverse as Feeding America and a salesforce automation start-up. She holds a BA in Economics and Sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (Marketing, Finance, Social Enterprise). She lives in Evanston with her husband and three kids.
Alisa is a Consultant with Aim & Arrow Group, working within both the systems change and strategic planning practices.
She has worked with organizations and agencies to develop and/or implement strategic plans and initiatives, including Bottom Line, Chicago Public Libraries, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Chicago Public Schools.
Prior to joining Aim & Arrow, Alisa worked at GRAPH Strategy, a boutique consulting firm focused on commercial due diligence.
Alisa holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in Finance from The Wharton School and a BSE in Bioengineering from The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, both from the University of Pennsylvania.See More +
Elise is an Analyst with Aim & Arrow Group, working in the systems change strategy and leadership practices. Her work focuses on research, project management, and client success across the client teams. Since starting with Aim & Arrow, she has conducted diligence for arts grants, facilitated stakeholder engagement to inform recommendations, and worked on developing a learning agenda to inform the next iteration of a client’s work. She has a content background in education as well as policy research and implementation.See More +
Elise holds a BS in Social Policy with a minor in Legal Studies from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. In college, she worked at Civic Consulting Alliance, where she worked to create an implementation plan for a large-scale health and human services initiative with the City of Chicago. At Northwestern, she also worked on the Data & Policy team at the Chicago Public Education Fund, where she wrote a report on the state of Chicago Public Schools post-Covid. Elise currently lives in San Francisco, CA.
Annette Charles has worked with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and foundations on community planning, program strategy, design, and implementation, performance measurement, operational improvement, and advocacy. Her interest areas include affordable housing, community development, training and employment, financial empowerment, collective impact, mental health, and collaborative health and human service models.See More +
From 2012-2014, Annette was the AVP of Community Program Development at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The team’s charge was to work with a diverse set of agencies & programs to grow resources and advance sustainable initiatives that addressed gaps in community services. While there, her team increased grant revenues by 17%+ in a single year. Annette also crafted the new Jewish Federation Breakthrough Fund, which committed $1 million in its first year to social entrepreneurship efforts and innovation.
From 2008-2012, Annette was Director of Community Investment at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. While there, she led the creation of impact plans, measurement frameworks, and strategic initiatives, as well as targeted fundraising to allow for implementation of larger-scale projects.
Annette also worked with 11 local units of government in Washtenaw County, Michigan, to form a HUD-designated ‘Urban County’ and develop community plans for two new federally-funded community development and housing programs (CDBG and HOME). This work included the creation of shared goals and programming across diverse communities, and included strategic, annual, and neighborhood-based planning.
Annette has a MPP/MSW from the University of Michigan, with a focus on public policy in the areas of poverty, inequality, and mental health.
She lives in Connecticut with her husband, Kerwin, and two young sons, Lucas and Cyrus. To feed her spirit, Annette looks for chances to explore, either by wandering, reading, or answering the never-ending curiosity of her kiddos.
Annette is an outstanding professional who brings great strategic thinking skills to all that she does – and quickly brings value-added service to each organization she engages.
Annette is adept at creating policies that ensure a level playing field for all people, particularly those who need supportive services and may have difficulty accessing them. She is the epitome of professional while maintaining the highest level of integrity.
Annette has been an incredible leader in social services — carefully and thoughtfully helping her grantees grasp and succeed in adding financial services into their program offerings.
In addition to being highly knowledgable, Annette knows how to make all parties at a table feel included in the decision making process and ensure their voices are heard, regardless of where they sit. When placed in challenging situations, Annette always steps up to the plate and finds a way to solve the problem.
Annette has a unique blend of intelligence, work ethic, compassion and humor which makes her a valuable asset to any team or project. She not only gets the job done, she always goes one step beyond to make sure it’s done thoroughly and as well as possible.
Sarah’s passion is to advance health and education equity, with work experience spanning nonprofit, city, and state government education entities. Her early experience directing regional field operations for Obama for America lay the foundation for a career grounded in mission-driven approaches to accomplishing positive change, at scale.
Sarah’s current efforts with Aim & Arrow are focused on youth engagement and qualitative research in support of building a statewide measurement system reflecting school capacity to support student mental health. As CEO of Little Engine Consulting, Sarah leads venture philanthropy funding partnerships at breast and ovarian health nonprofit, Bright Pink.See More +
Prior to these projects, Sarah worked within the Office of College and Career Readiness at the Rhode Island Department of Education, helping to shape state level policy and programs and serving as the Project Director of a 5 million dollar federal Education and Innovation Research grant to expand access to computer science programming across the state.
Sarah has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit program design and strategy and a passion for helping organizations and projects in the start-up phase achieve early success while laying the groundwork for long-term impact and growth. As a founding staff member at Bright Pink, she was the national leader for design and execution of breast and ovarian health interventions for young women and helped establish systems and structures that enabled exponential organizational growth. She also served on the founding team of OneGoal – Massachusetts, a college access and success organization whose mission is to close the degree divide in America. While there, she led a range of efforts spanning school partnerships, teacher supports, and curriculum and coaching.
Sarah is proud of her origins as an organizer and a high school English Teacher within Chicago Public Schools. As a result, she understands how to work with people on the ground to lift up the perspectives of constituents in shaping real change – even within complex bureaucratic systems.
Sarah holds a BA from Columbia University and an MA in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.
Co-Founder of Root & Rise Equity Impact Firm
Alexandra (Alexis) has seventeen years of experience in the social sector as an executive leader, strategist, coach, capacity builder, service provider and grant maker. As an International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, Results Count®, MBTI® and Integrative Enneagram® Certified practitioner, her role is to serve as a catalyst for growth and an accountability partner for change. As a group facilitator, she designs spaces and processes for collaborative action to achieve organizational goals.See More +
In her career, Alexis has led efforts to accelerate economic mobility across StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Network, overseen workforce development and financial capability programming for Chicago’s Latine population experiencing housing instability, and worked in community organizing and issue-based advocacy. In all her roles, she has used coaching as a transformative tool for individuals and communities.
Alexis holds a master’s in social work with a focus on community planning, organizing and development from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a certificate from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Nonprofit Management. She is a professional certified coach and a Results CountTM practitioner with a passion for facilitating courageous action. She serves on the board of the Palenque LSNA, a catalyst for Black, Brown, Indigenous and Immigrant communities and allies to take care of one another and take strategic action for systemic change and a just, resilient and joyful future.
Alexis lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
Founder & CEO of Bold Ventures
Jessyca is an experienced social sector leader, strategic advisor and public health practitioner. For 15 years she has advanced systems change by building the capacity of nonprofit leaders, developing equity-centered strategies, and facilitating organizational dialogues on race, equity and social justice. Jessyca is the Founder and CEO of Bold Ventures, a strategic advisory firm that works to shift the power, resources and practices of philanthropy towards greater racial equity. She is also the Director of Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy, the city’s only affinity group for African Americans working in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.See More +
Prior to founding Bold Ventures, Jessyca advised individuals and foundations to develop strategies that enhance the impact of their philanthropic efforts with Arabella Advisors. With the firm she led the research, design, and launch of a national donor collaboratives, supported foundations to deepen their commitment to equity by guiding conversations with staff that led changes in operations and grantmaking, and worked alongside institutional and private funders to move from idea to action. Jessyca’s philanthropic experience also includes serving as the Program Officer for Gun Violence Prevention and Justice reform at the Joyce Foundation, where she developed grantmaking and advocacy strategies to reduce gun deaths and injury in the United States.
Jessyca is a co-founder of the South Side Giving Circle at the Chicago Foundation for Women which mobilizes philanthropic resources of women to invest in the economic, social and political power of black women and girls in metropolitan Chicago. The giving circle is a first of its kind initiative that garnered significant press for its approach to codifying equity in its grantmaking strategy. Jessyca has also held positions with the U.S. Peace Corps, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. With these organizations, she has developed and implemented community based maternal and child health programs and conducted clinical and social science research to improve the health of communities.
In a continuous effort to grow her skills and understanding of equity, Jessyca is also participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Fellowship a three-year leadership development opportunity for people working in every field and profession who want to use their influence to advance health equity. Locally, she serves on the boards of the Chicago Foundation for Women, Firebird Community Arts, and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
Founder & CEO of JH Philanthropy
Julie has spent 15+ years as a philanthropic and strategic leader in the social impact sector. She is passionate about leveraging smart business principles and philanthropy to affect and deepen impact. Her career has been shaped by a drive to help entrepreneurs and business leaders identify and execute on their philanthropic priorities and to help promising, social impact organizations build their self-sufficiency and scale their impact. Often serving as a bridge, coach and strategist for both donors and nonprofits, Julie empowers her clients with the strategies and resources they need to increase agency and growth among those they aim to support.See More +
Julie launched JH Philanthropy in 2019 to help family foundations and companies bring their family philanthropic goals to life. Julie works with her clients in three primary areas including identifying, articulating, and operationalizing a donor’s, family’s or company’s philanthropic goals; serving as the foundation director or grants administrator; and/or facilitating funder collaboratives, strategic impact projects, or new business development. She also serves as an executive coach or facilitator for professional development, team building, or board optimization projects.
Prior to founding JH Philanthropy, Julie served as CEO of New Coast Foundation, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund, where she worked at the intersection of the public and non-profit sectors to maximize the impact of philanthropic investments on root causes of poverty. Prior to New Coast Foundation, Julie was the Illinois Executive Director at America Needs You, where she led the national organization’s growth and programming in Illinois, focusing on supporting and increasing the economic mobility of ambitious, first-generation college students.
Additional experience includes serving as the founding Managing Director + Head of Advancement of A Better Chicago, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund that provides funding and management support to a portfolio of high-performing education nonprofits. Significant accomplishments include helping to more than triple the organization’s revenue growth in four years and launching a ten-year strategic plan to significantly increase college graduation rates in the city. Earlier in her career, Julie was the Director of Development and Communications for Cara Chicago, a Consultant for Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance in Washington, DC, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru.
Julie earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in international management with a focus on corporate social responsibility from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and serves on the board of Academy for Global Citizenship, the board of advisors for Adventure for Charity, and as a mentor in Chicago Women in Philanthropy’s Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program. Julie was also a 2016 Fellow in the Allstate Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter.
Founder and Principal of Blue Lotus Advisors
For 15+ years, Deepa Gupta has served organizations in the public, nonprofit and private sector to design and drive cross-sector initiatives for social and economic impact. These have included The Boeing Company, the MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company. She founded an independent consultancy called Blue Lotus Advisors in the fall of 2019.
Deepa has deep experience and is skilled in leadership development, strategy and organizational design and development, stakeholder and community engagement, philanthropy, systems change, performance management, impact analytics, and communications.See More +
Deepa most recently spent 7 years at Boeing, first as a director, overseeing their strategies in community investments and engagement related to global education from early education through grade 12. She then served as chief of staff, supporting the human and digital transformation of their human resources organization. In 2017, she was asked to be the founding director of a 25-person team focused on organizational redesign, culture change and performance management for Boeing globally.
Deepa started her career in health care, first as a student of biology and health policy at the University of Chicago, and then in her work serving hospitals and health systems at the Advisory Board Company; in policy and communications with the Global Health Bureau, Office of Reproductive Health at USAID; and at McKinsey & Company first in their hospital/health system work and then in their global / public health practice serving multilateral, bilateral and nonprofit organizations through what was then their Social Sector Office.
At the MacArthur Foundation, she led grantmaking in arts and culture, international partnerships, and capacity building for paradigm-shifting nonprofits across health, justice, arts, media, journalism, environment and community and economic development.
Deepa currently serves on the boards of Ingenuity, Inc., which works to ensure all Chicago Public School students receive arts education; the National Council for the Arts at the invitation of President Obama; and Project Y Theatre Company, an itinerant, NYC-based theatre company focused on inclusive storytelling in a digital age. She has previously served on the boards of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, New Teacher Center, and New Leaders Chicago. She is active in her community in Oak Park, Illinois, supporting leadership initiatives at Oak Park/River Forest High School and grant review in service to the Oak Park Arts Council.
Deepa earned degrees in biology and public policy at the University of Chicago; an MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management; and an MPA at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
CEO of Avanza Strategies
Grisel Maldonado is a social impact driven coach and consultant with a focus on strategy, team capacity-building, and postsecondary success. She leads this work through Avanza Strategies, and also coaches leaders and leadership teams to achieve impact through The Bridgespan Group’s Leading for Impact (LFI) program, as well as their Creating an Adaptive Plan (CAP) program. Prior to coaching and consulting, Grisel founded several postsecondary success entities aiming to address inequality by supporting youth of color to be equipped with the tools they need to achieve their highest aspirations. Her work has included driving admissions at Brown University and founding research-based programs at the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, and Chicago Public Schools.See More +
Grisel is a proud Pilsen, Chicago native focused on unlocking the power of social impact organizations that work with and uplift low-income, Black, and Latinx communities that have been systematically excluded and institutionally oppressed. She received a B.A. in History and Hispanic Studies from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She is a proud alumnus of the Surge Institute Fellowship, member of Education Leaders of Color and Señoritas Latinas Unidas, Co-President of the Brown University Club of Chicago, and served on the board of Instituto del Progreso Latino. She was recognized on the 2019 Negocios Now list of Latinos 40 Under 40 for her leadership in the Chicago area and is part of the CatalystEd Postsecondary Expert Network with the Gates Foundation.
Co-Founder of Root & Rise Equity Impact Firm and Founder of Love Lives Here Wellness Coaching & Consulting
Tanisha is a social change strategist, racial equity leader, well being champion, coach and facilitator. She has over twenty years of experience working with grass roots and national organizations to develop systems, practices and strategies to move equity work from talk to action and strengthen organizational impact. Her expertise is in equitable strategic design, strategy development and implementation, results based accountability, results based facilitation, facilitating and convening cross sector work, racial affinity groups and leadership development and coaching.See More +
Tanisha has worked with organizations like Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, DanceAfrica Chicago and the University of Chicago to build internal infrastructure, and develop mission aligned programs.
At the YWCA she created the She Speaks Volumes event to provide a national platform for sexual assault survivors of color to have voice, launched a teacher’s institute and trained and developed senior leaders across 53 US regions on culturally competent hiring practices at Teach for America, led the implementation of a racial equity plan for a national network of 70 collective impact organizations across the country and led the planning and implementation of impact strategies at StriveTogerher. She recently worked with the Museum of Science and Industry’s Education division and the Chicago Learning Exchange to build equitable community centered strategic plans.
Tanisha’s passion is also supporting leaders and organizations to integrate healing, self and collective care into racial equity work to align organizational culture and sustain efforts long term. She is an affiliate of Ruth King’s Mindful of Race Institute, a certified yoga instructor and meditation guide through Breathe for Change and the Lab of Meditation and emerging certified mind body coach and somatic practitioner through the Embody Lab.
At the core of her work are people, well being and care. She’s committed to seeing people emotionally, mentally, physically and economically whole and thriving; especially those who are marginalized, under-appreciated and underestimated.
Tanisha currently resides right outside of Chicago with her son Kendall and enjoys spending her time traveling, doing hot yoga and sharpening her rest practices.
“Tanisha has been an invaluable thought partner, coach and strategic thinker. Passionately leading our racial and ethnic equity action team work, Tanisha is always balancing the long and short terms goals, while carefully and thoughtfully attending to the people who are engaged in the work. Leading by example, her advocacy around self and community care and work has left an indelible impression on me. That’s Tanisha’s impact—when you leave a conversation with her, you feel like you have grown 2 feet higher in your work. You leave with greater insights on how to leverage existing resources, how to champion what is working and a powerful call to create the liberated spaces where BIPOC communities and leaders can flourish.”
“I have had the privilege of working and collaborating with Tanisha the last two years on several different projects. Tanisha is an incredible leader who always holds equity at the center. In our work together convening a year long leadership program, she held the vision and results for our team and cohort and kept us on track through clear deliverables and timelines as well as strategic shifts when needed. Tanisha seeks to bring out the best in others and she does through her steadfast, calm, confident, and empathetic leadership. It is an honor to learn from Tanisha’ expertise and I consider her a mentor in my own professional journey.”
“Tanisha is someone that you want around when decisions need to be made. She has a gift for evaluating each possible opportunity from all angles and choosing the most beneficial direction for her clients. Tanisha has helped lead and implement some radical changes to our hiring operations which have helped our team to keep improving, instead of just staying on the “safe” road.”