Volunteer Profile: Ellen B. Kagen, Creating Visions Greater Than Our Fears
Ellen B. Kagen is a Senior Policy Associate of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (CCHD) where she directs the Georgetown Leadership Program. For the past five years Ellen has generously volunteered her time as well as her professional and personal experience as trusted advisor, architect and faculty member of The Initiative’s annual, week-long leadership training program in Washington, DC, Leadership Academy, designed to empower students to achieve their central role in the success of The Initiative’s mission.
Leadership Academy is a capstone experience of workshops inspired by The Initiative’s mission and core values led by nationally and internationally recognized experts in their fields. The series includes lectures on leadership principles and empowerment; media and communications; as well as workshops on academic and professional road-mapping and resume and cover letter writing. Special emphasis is given to the areas of diversity and inclusion to give the women in our program, who represent a number of politically polarized ethnicities in Afghanistan, an opportunity to create a supportive network which will sustain them throughout their lives and careers. Students have the opportunity each year to interact with leading US academics, journalists, policy- and lawmakers to speak on behalf of Afghan women.
With her Georgetown University CCHD colleague, Dr. Phyllis Magrab, Ellen Kagen is the very heart of Leadership Academy. “Working with Ellen has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and career,” said Christian Wistehuff, Executive Director of The Initiative. “Ellen’s application to The Initiative of her life’s work, ‘to create visions greater than our fears,’ has done so much to strengthen our organization and program as well as align The Initiative’s entire community - especially our students - toward a shared mission.”
Ellen is the editor of a leadership training curriculum that focuses on leadership within complex organizational change and community transformation. Ellen has 25 years of experience working at the national, state and local levels on leadership development and managing collaborative change processes. At the heart of Ellen’s work is a focus on innovation and the creation of breakthrough strategies that sustain the evolution of constructive change. Ellen has been recognized for the creation of an innovative coaching and consultation model called Transformation Facilitation, which strengthens leadership effectiveness in reaching goals.
A civic activist, Ellen is the inaugural recipient of the International BBYO One Voice Award for her leadership in enhancing youth engagement and activism in communities worldwide. She holds an MSW in Social Strategy from the University of Maryland and a Certificate in Leadership from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is a Fellow of the Wexner Foundation Leadership Program. Ellen is a contributing author in The Leadership Equation, Leadership Function and Styles and The Work of Leadership in Systems Change edited by Phyllis Magrab and Gary Blau and published by Brooks Publishing. In 2014, Ellen conceived and delivered the US Afghan Women’s Council Rising Afghan Women Leadership Initiative at the Georgetown University Doha, Qatar conference.
Thank you, Ellen, for all you do!
“Working with Ellen has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and career. Ellen’s application to The Initiative of her life’s work, ‘to create visions greater than our fears,’ has done so much to strengthen our organization and program as well as align The Initiative’s entire community - especially our students - toward a shared mission.”
- Christian Wistehuff, Executive Director