iDE Global

Press Release: iDE announces selection of Lizz Ellis as CEO - 28 Jan 2019

After a robust search beginning in November of 2018, iDE’s Board Chair, Bob Hill, announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Elizabeth “Lizz” Ellis as Chief Executive Officer.

January 28, 2019


CONTACT: KC Koch, iDE Director of Global Communications,

DENVER, CO — After a robust search beginning in November of 2018, iDE’s Board Chair, Bob Hill, announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Elizabeth “Lizz” Ellis as Chief Executive Officer.  “On behalf of the full board, we are excited to see Lizz step up from the position of Chief Operating Officer at iDE,” said Bob Hill. “Lizz has been instrumental in promoting innovation and increased collaboration across our global teams and has helped to scale iDE’s impact as we continue to deliver on our mission and vision through business-thinking that addresses poverty and livelihood opportunities.”

Kim Hunter, iDE board member and head of the search committee, shared, “As a longtime leader within iDE’s executive team and a seasoned development professional, Lizz brings a deep knowledge of iDE and experience touching every function of the organization including technical, communications, finance, operations, business development, IT, and human resources.”

“I’m proud to have led our teams in achieving success over the past five years and I’m looking forward to achieving even more in the future as CEO,” Lizz said. “We have recruited, hired, and retained top-notch talent. We launched and surpassed the halfway point in our ambitious 20 Million More strategy for impact at scale. We challenged our global leaders and staff to double down on our most successful approaches while also incubating new and emerging innovations. We developed and deployed a global key performance indicator dashboard which tracks our impact in real-time and together we’ve delivered a return on investment to our donors of more than 10:1 every year.”

Prior to taking this appointment, Lizz amassed 20 years of experience working in challenging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America, travelling and working in more than 22 countries. Lizz speaks French and Moroccan Arabic, and has a working knowledge of Spanish. She holds a master’s degree in public administration/public policy with a specialization in international non-profit management from Rutgers University and a BA in History and Global Development Studies from Grinnell College.

“This is a turbulent time. Domestic and international priorities and funding continue to shift, while the problems we are addressing are becoming more complex, requiring creative solutions and dynamic partnerships spanning multiple sectors. As CEO, my responsibility will be to ensure we’re putting our clients’ needs first and delivering sustained impact,” Lizz stated. “We are accelerating our scale every year with market-based approaches, and I believe this, combined with our second-to-none return on investment, is what makes us a smart investment for funders who want to deliver sustainable impact at scale.”

Lizz has been a long-time champion of women’s empowerment, including writing her masters thesis on economic and social empowerment of women in Morocco. She is recognized for her passionate commitment to mentoring the leaders she works with. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Morocco with her husband Nathan, raising their three children in Morocco, Nigeria, and now the US. She also serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for the Posner Center for International Development and on the Hydrologic Social Enterprise and iDE UK Board of Trustees. 

About iDE

Formed by life entrepreneur Paul Polak in 1982, iDE uses the power of business to solve poverty. Working in agriculture; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and access to finance, iDE creates opportunities for low-income people to form businesses and support market solutions that bring transformational products and services to people living on less than $2 per day.

iDE is a 501(c)3 organization based in Denver, Colorado with offices in London, England and Winnipeg, Canada. It operates programs in eleven countries—five in Africa (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Zambia), four in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam), and two in Central America (Honduras and Nicaragua). With a current operating budget of $30 million, iDE has 1,100 staff, 96 percent of whom live in the countries they support and 93 percent of whom are citizens of those nations.

iDE Global