Ilsa became ivoh’s executive director in 2017. Before that, she launched and led a national initiative to disrupt and shift the public discourse on a wide range of social issues from poverty to domestic violence to youth development. Ilsa has long been captivated by the power of language and stories to persuade and influence and activate. As the founding director of social and environmental change initiatives at national and global institutions she grounded her work in understanding institutional lexicon, values, and culture. Ilsa launched the University of Chicago’s Office of Sustainability and started the Sustainable Development department at LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO, a global financial institution and an early corporate leader in embodying the triple bottom line.

Earlier in her career, Ilsa spent over a decade in Washington, DC where she was head of public policy for the United Way of America. A firm believer in the power and importance of nonprofit advocacy, her primary focus was to build the capacity of 1,300 local United Ways to find their voice and align behind common policy goals, positioning the United Way system as an important voice on Capitol Hill. Ilsa lives in Chicago with her husband, photographer Scott Fortino, and her two, very small dogs.

You can reach Ilsa at or connect with her on Twitter @ilsaflanagan.