Ellen Carney

Senior Associate

As Associate Program Director on Geneva Global’s education team, Ellen supports the design, delivery, and management of Geneva Global’s education programs. Much of Ellen’s work is dedicated to Speed School, an accelerated learning program for out-of-school children, currently operating in Ethiopia and Uganda.

As a member of the education team, she maintains regular communications between Geneva Global’s headquarter offices and field offices in Africa, engaging various stakeholders and providing bi-monthly reporting on the team’s work. Additionally, Ellen is responsible for monitoring and evaluation to ensure maximum impact and effectiveness of all education programs.

Prior to joining the Geneva Global team, Ellen has spent her career in the education sector working to increase access to education opportunities for children in the developing world. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied Rhetoric and Public Advocacy, Ellen moved to Thailand to teach secondary school English. During her time as an ESL teacher, Ellen was responsible for 50 classes of more than 40 Thai students. She realized in this role that the education system was failing her students, which directed her passion for education toward the development sector.

Ellen later founded a small community-based nonprofit organization in Nepal where she spent three years in the role of Managing Director.  There she designed and implemented a series of programs dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty in a community dependent on child labor. These programs focused on increased access to education; child marriage prevention; health and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and personal empowerment.

Ellen’s experience working in the classroom and leading a community-based organization has provided her with a unique perspective on the benefits of utilizing grassroots organizations as catalysts for sustainable change. Ellen also brings firsthand knowledge of best practices for collaborating with internationally-based community partners and stakeholders that closely mirror those she now supports through Geneva Global’s education initiatives.

What book, film or quote has shaped the way you think?

There’s a story I heard often as a child, and I will do my best to paraphrase it here: A man is walking on the beach covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. He spots a young boy walking along, picking them up, and throwing them back into the water. “What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.” The boy thoughtfully picks up another starfish and tosses it into the ocean and says to the man, “It sure made a difference to that one.”

What three words would you use to describe your coworkers?

Compassionate. Innovative. Intelligent.


What’s your best travel advice?

Keep a journal! There are so many magical little moments that happen that will slip away with time. There is nothing better than looking back at a journal years after a trip and being transported back to a place in time you couldn’t otherwise access.

What brings you joy?

Sunsets! They happen every single day, and yet no two are alike. I spent six months backpacking Asia in 2015, and, on that trip, I challenged myself to take a photo of the sunset every day, no matter the weather or location. There’s something special about just taking a moment to put life on pause and reflect on the passing of another beautiful day.