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 & Managing Partner
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.
Alisa is a Consultant with Aim & Arrow Group, conducting data analysis, research, and stakeholder engagement in support of the leadership and systems change strategy practices. Her areas of expertise include education and renewables.
Prior to joining Aim & Arrow Group, Alisa was a consultant at GRAPH Strategy, a boutique strategy consulting firm largely 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.
Alisa hails from Irvine, California, and currently lives in Washington, D.C.See More +
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.
Affiliate, 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.
Affiliate, 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.
Sarah’s passion is to advance health and education equity, with work experience spanning nonprofit, city, and state government education entities. Her early experience as a field director with Obama for America lay the foundation for a career grounded in mission-driven approaches to accomplishing positive change, at scale.See More +
Sarah’s most recent work experience was within the Office of College and Career Readiness at the Rhode Island Department of Education, where she worked on state level policy and programs. In her final role, she served 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
Prior to her work at the state policy level, Sarah worked within nonprofits including Bright Pink, where she was the national leader for design and execution of breast and ovarian health interventions for young women. 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, for three years, as 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 residents 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.
Affiliate, 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.
Affiliate, 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.
Devi Raja works to equip mission-driven leaders, across sectors, with leadership capacity and impact-driven strategies. Devi brings a broad perspective, strong intuition, and an entrepreneurial spirit to her clients – shaped by ~15 years of experience across consulting, start-ups, and the social sector. Devi’s practice within Aim & Arrow is focused on systems change and leadership development in the social sector.See More +
Devi also serves as a coach and facilitator for The Bridgespan Group’s Leading For Impact and Leadership Accelerator programs. She has held roles from Analyst to Manager at Bain & Company, as well as director-level growth strategy roles at organizations as diverse as Feeding America to a salesforce automation start-up.
Devi 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. She lives in Evanston with her husband and three kids.
Head of Operations
Chloe has 20 years of strategic consulting and research experience, helping clients understand themselves – and their audiences – better. For the last decade and a half, Chloe has focused her work on nonprofits, largely in the arts & culture and education sectors, helping to develop and execute complex strategic projects and manage internal operations.See More +
In addition to her work with Aim & Arrow, Chloe is assisting Chicago-based nonprofit Ingenuity in its efforts to increase access, equity, and quality of arts education in public schools. Chloe is also a Senior Advisor with Slover Linett Audience Research, an audience research and evaluation consultancy focused on nonprofits working with the arts & culture sphere.
Upon moving to Chicago in 2004, Chloe became Slover Linett’s first employee and remained a member of the team until early 2019. While at Slover Linett, Chloe designed and led client research projects and acted as a core member of the firm’s leadership team in the Chief Operating Officer role. Some of Chloe’s clients included Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Art Institute of Chicago, Colby College Museum of Art, the High Line (NYC), Lyric Opera of Chicago, and numerous other arts, culture, science, and public media organizations. She is passionate about helping such organizations serve people’s needs and contribute to thriving, connected, healthy communities.
Chloe began her career in a boutique market research & strategy firm, AMP Insights, based in Boston. In her role as Sr. Account Planner, she designed and led large-scale qualitative research studies for major brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Target, the Ad Council, and Reebok. Her inquisitive nature and analytical skills were initially honed as an undergrad at Colby College (Maine), where she graduated magna cum laude with a dual major in Anthropology and Comparative Religious Studies.
Chloe currently lives in Chicago with her husband Andy and three young sons Cal, Sam, & Theo. Her non-working hours are consumed by LEGOs and playing safety-spotter for her kids’ daredevil feats.