Ellen Johnson


  • Biography

Ellen is a Director at Afton and a seasoned facilitator, capacity-builder, and workforce development consultant. Prior to joining Afton, Ellen served as the Director of the Frontline Focus Training Institute at the Chicago Jobs Council. In this role—through curriculum development, best practice research, and coalition building—she led the development of a premier, nationally recognized professional development training program for the workforce development field. Ellen has served as a thought partner and project manager for several strategic capacity building projects across the City of Chicago, including overseeing the revision of a curriculum used within Chicago Public Schools to train school counselors on students’ post-secondary options; supporting a Collective of workforce organizations to serve as a single point of access for employers looking to hire overlooked talent from the south and west sides of Chicago; and developing a combined program delivery model for two merging workforce organizations. In her early career, Ellen honed her fundraising skills as the development director for a small nonprofit, provided respite care and programming for individuals with disabilities, and developed supportive services for mothers in prison. There is nothing she enjoys more than working collaboratively with other social-justice minded individuals and organizations to advance a shared mission.


Ellen is originally from Des Moines, Iowa and attended Drake University where she received her bachelor’s degree in English Writing and Sociology. She also received Masters degrees in both Social Work and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She resides in Evanston, IL with her husband and two young children.