Shannon Ellis is a project director with CompassPoint. Shannon works with nonprofit leaders as they hone and develop their organizational strategy, build their financial literacy, and increase their organization’s sustainability. She also teaches public and customized workshops for nonprofits, as well as in CompassPoint’s cohort leadership programs.
Shannon has been working in nonprofits since she was 16-years-old. Before coming to CompassPoint she worked for 18 years in the domestic violence field, spending 10 years in management positions, most recently as the interim executive director at Family Violence Law Center. She has a deep sense of what it takes to run a nonprofit organization, and believes that the nonprofit leaders she works with are the experts in their organizations, with deep knowledge of their field, constituents, and cause. She is thrilled to be able to help them think things through, share tools and information, and find the answers together. Shannon has a deep personal commitment to social equity and believes that nonprofits have an important role to play as we move toward a more just society.
Most of Shannon’s time outside of work is devoted to keeping up her with three young sons. She believes that parenting is one of the greatest acts of philanthropy. Before the kids arrived, she traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, Japan, and Europe, which fed her curiosity and is a driving force for her passion for social justice. Now a resident of Oakland, Shannon was born and raised in Iowa City.
Bachelor of Arts: American Culture
Master of Arts: Nonprofit Administration
University of San Francisco
Certification: Nonprofit Accounting Professional
National Association of Nonprofit Accountants & Consultants
- Center for Youth Wellness (CYW): Shannon facilitated a training with this growing organization’s leadership and finance team to increase communication and understanding about the organization’s finances, and provided tools and templates to deepen and expedite financial decision-making. Read more about Shannon’s work with CYW.
- Monterey Business Model Clinic: Shannon co-designed and co-facilitated three sessions for 17 organizational teams to assess their business models using the Matrix Map. Organizational teams engaged in intensive strategic thinking and ended the series with next steps on how to strengthen their organizations’ sustainability, revenue model, and impact.
- Dolores Street Community Services: Shannon supported this nonprofit in a year-long strategic planning process to re-orient itself and its mission as a multi-service organization after a period of rapid growth. She worked with staff, board, and a core planning team as they thought together about priorities, organizational strategy, and shared values.
- Community Leadership Project Nonprofit Strategy Clinic: Shannon co-designed and co-facilitated this program that supported a cohort of nonprofit leaders from 7 grassroots organizations in the San Joaquin Valley as they guided their organizations through a thoughtful strategic planning process. The clinic culminated with each organization clarifying market-tested organizational strategies and developing a theory of change.
- "The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Organizational Strategy." Stanford Social Innovation Review
- "From Small to Scale: Three Trade-offs for Smaller Nonprofits Trying to Get Big." Nonprofit Quarterly
- d.school: Institute of Design at Stanford
"This consulting engagement shifted the conversation in our organization to a more strategic place and provided the data to actually have those strategic conversations.
It was absolutely fascinating and useful, and Shannon is very good at what she does. We all enjoyed working with her immensely."