Ellen Chisa

About | Portfolio | Writing | Speaking & Teaching | Coffee


Hello! You can find me around the internet or in real life, but this is my story so far.

Right now, I'm the VP of Product at Lola. We're currently in beta. You can sign up to get invited at www.lolatravel.com. I just got back from SVBTrek in San Francisco. Next, I'm headed to Detroit for my birthday, and Bonaire at the end of February. Interested in working with our team at Lola? We're hiring. I'm never bored. I also just launched a PM class on Skillshare, based on my popular blog post on learning PM.

In May, I completed the RC (first year) at Harvard Business School! I wrote down one key lesson from each class. I'm on leave right now, but I'll go back and finish someday - probably around the same time I decide to start my own company.

Last Spring, I taught a seminar in Product Management at Olin College. I've made my syllabus and every lesson available. I'm interested in teaching it again: if you want it for your company or university, please email me.

I love reading. Right now I'm reading Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam M. Grant. Some other things I enjoy are writing, SCUBA Diving, and the Twilight Zone pinball machine. I've heard the Clover Labs in Central Square has one, and I'm always up for a game.

I used to work as a Product Manager at Kickstarter. I worked on a new set of Discovery tools amongst other things. A big part of working at Kickstarter is getting to see (and support!) creative projects. Here are a few projects I recently backed:

Where Is the Dumpling Emoji?

Gift Couture Pizza Wrapping Paper

A Song A Day: For those too busy to discover new music

I was a Dean and Trustee of the Awesome Foundation for three years. If you're interested in learning more about the it, you should check out this talk that I gave with Nikki Lee at Creative Mornings. The talk itself is 17 minutes, and the rest is Q&A.

I used to live in Seattle, where I was a Program Manager at Microsoft. I worked on Office for Windows Phone 8. I also worked on something that I still affectionately refer to as "The Oompa Loompas" and on PowerPoint Broadcast for Symbian. I wrote a longer essay on my time at Microsoft.

Before that, I graduated from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering with a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering. My senior capstone project at Olin was studying "transitioners" - people who were graduating from college and going to work for the first time. My team designed an application called Sundrop: Saving for a Sunny Day, meant to encourage impulse saving. One of my favorite parts of the application was the "Not Starbucks" feature.

At one point, I took a Leave of Absence from Olin. While on leave I co-founded Alight Learning with five of my friends. We attempted to design learning management software from pedagogical principles, rather than automating the existing student-teacher workflow.

I grew up in Michigan. I attended the International Academy for High School, which at the time was the only all-public all-International Baccalaurate school in North America. I'm still a huge fan of the IB curriculum. I was also a member of FIRST Robotics Team 469.

Since this is the internet, here is a video of my cat:

Still reading? I enjoy meeting new people! I'm taking a break for now, but you can email me at ellen.chisa@gmail.com and we can figure out a time for sometime in 2016.