Ellen O’Connell has over three decades of experience working in the non-profit sector. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Farm Sanctuary, a non profit organization founded in 1986, that fights the harmful effects of factory farming on animals, people and the planet. Through rescue, education and advocacy, Farm Sanctuary works to move our food systems to more sustainable, healthier and more equitable systems. Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary in July 2022, Ellen served as as the President of Ngaren, Inc. a project spearheaded by Richard Leakey to build a museum in the Rift Valley of Kenya to tell the story of the origins of humankind through the lens of climate change and adaptation. In addition, Ellen is the founder and president of Sankhara, LLC, a consulting firm specialising in non-profits that work in the conservation and humanitarian aid sectors. Ms O’Connell is a Strategic Advisor for the Terra Conservation Initiative, a board member of the Good Sheperd International Services (GSIS), a member of the Honorary Council of Born Free USA, and a Board Member of Friends of Wildlife Justice Commission. She was the Executive Director of Tusk USA from 2014 to 2018, where she oversaw conservation projects in 20 countries in Africa. From 1999 to 2014, Ms O’Connell served as a Senior Vice-President at the International Rescue Committee overseeing programs in 40 countries and 22 cities in the USA. Before that, Ms O’Connell was the Associate Executive Director at Covenant House New York from 1991 to 1999 and the Director of Fundraising at Covenant House International from 1989 to 1991.
Ms O’Connell has a degree in English from Georgetown University , a Master in Public Administration from NYU, a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research, and a certificate in Executive Non-profit Management from Columbia University.