Meet Our Staff


Deborah Lielasus

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

Deborah’s long career has focused on helping the people nonprofits serve. She began volunteering in a women’s shelter before college and worked up to holding development and executive director positions.

Before working for Elevate, Deborah ran a consulting business writing grants and providing program development and implementation support to nonprofits across the U.S. Her areas of interest and experience are vast and include behavioral health, employment, education, job training, immigration, environmental issues, justice, housing, food security, literacy, equity, HIV/AIDS, child development, violence prevention, parenting, the arts, and many others.

Deborah enjoys going to films and plays, perusing art museums, listening to music, swimming, and walking in nature when not working. She is an avid reader and New York Times crossword puzzle and spelling bee doer. Deborah lives with her writer husband, Joel, in Chicago but has lived in 10 U.S. states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Deborah and Joel have five grown children.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

Oxford comma because it's important, useful, and always necessary.

What is your grammatical pet peeve?

Not using the Oxford comma.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Thrift stores, adventures, reading, hanging with my hubby and/or family.

What is your hidden talent?

Completing the NYT Crossword Puzzle

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