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Jennifer O’Brien

Director of Learning & Development
Hometown: Glenview, IL

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Jen grew up in a family with a strong sense of social justice, and has been working within or for the nonprofit sector her entire career. For four years, Jen served as a Senior Director at Elevate with clients of all sizes, budgets, and issue areas. Jen is a problem solver and strategic thinker who loved to help her clients find their voice in grant writing to support important programs and progressive action. Jen has experience fundraising in higher education, early childhood education, out-of-school time programming, music education, human and social services, immigration, health/disease, environmental education and conservation, and international development.

In 2021, Jen became Elevate’s first-ever Director of Learning and Development, overseeing internal training and external learning product development, including customized webinar and workshop trainings. Jen loves being in a position to help make everyone’s lives easier through learning.

Before joining Elevate, Jen worked for over a decade for the Bringing Theory to Practice project, a national initiative in higher education focused on student civic engagement and well-being, and consulted for a small international nonprofit focused on women and children’s education and empowerment in Jordan and Palestine.

Jen earned her Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Philosophy and Social Policy and a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Psychology and Women’s Studies, both from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also has a Certificate in Executive Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.

Jen grew up in the suburbs of Chicago but has now lived in and around the DC metropolitan area for just as long, calling both places “home.” Jen loves to cook and explore the ever-changing DC food scene, loves to be around friends and chosen family, and spends most of her non-working time being tutored in Minecraft by her son.

What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

Sit on the steps of the Lincoln at midnight.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

A question mark…I’m curious about everything.

What's your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Well, I do it on Saturdays, but cooking a gourmet meal for friends and family. And then eating it.

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