Meet Our Staff


Deborah Lielasus

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

Deborah’s long career has been in pursuit of helping the people served by nonprofits. She began as a volunteer in a women’s shelter and, through on the job training and courses in the field, worked her way up to being a development and executive director.

Prior to working for Elevate, Deborah had a consulting business writing grants and providing program development and project management support to nonprofits across the U.S. Her areas of interest and experience include physical and behavioral health integration, mental health, substance use, 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.

When not working, Deborah enjoys watching films and plays, perusing art galleries, listening to music, taking architectural tours, and being absorbed in nature. 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. She considers herself bi-coastal. As a blended family, Deborah and Joel have five grown children ages 24-45.

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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