Elissa Sloan Perry is of African and Mississippi Choctaw descent, hails from Missouri, and is a 30-year resident of California. She supports people with a vision for an interdependently thriving people and planet to be better in what they do. Elissa joined Change Elemental in 2013 as the Program Catalyst for the Network Leadership Innovation Lab and became CoDirector in 2015. Elissa supports Change Elemental clients with equity and liberation-rooted leadership development, culture change processes, and coaching services. In addition to her work with Change Elemental, Elissa teaches in the MA in Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s College where she facilitates diverse, cross-sector learning communities in developing a 5 Elements practice.
Elissa enjoys bringing together theory and real-world practice and is driven by the values of human dignity, interdependence, and love in both what she does and how she does it. She is the author or co-author of numerous resources including “Doing More with More: Lessons from a Shared Leadership Initiative,” in Nonprofit Quarterly, “Practicing the Elements of a Liberating Ecosystem,” and “Leadership and Race: How to Develop Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice.” She is also the lead author on “The Network Leadership Innovation Lab: A Practice for Social Change,” in the 2015 edition of the Handbook of Action Research.
Prior to joining Change Elemental, Elissa was an independent consultant and spent six years with the Leadership Learning Community where she worked with organizers, funders, scholars, and consultants to further the social justice field through the development, sharing, and application of leadership knowledge in its many forms. Elissa has also been involved in innovative initiatives to improve education and was a Vice President for the Different Ways of Knowing arts-infused model of public education.
Elissa earned a BA in Humanities with a concentration in social change and an MFA with concentrations in teaching and diaspora literature. She is also a certified Values & Leadership Coach. When she’s not at Change Elemental or Saint Mary’s (and even sometimes when she is!), you can find Elissa writing prose, dancing, exploring other art forms, and spending time with trees.