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Paula Ellis

GRGM Board of Director

Paula Ellis, a former Knight Foundation officer, senior publishing executive and journalist, has long been a leader in journalism innovation and community engagement.  A transformative change leader herself, she coaches others and helps design emergent strategies for business, nonprofits and their communities.

Ellis has decades long experience working with the for-profit, nonprofit and government sectors, which gives her a unique perspective on complex challenges.

At Knight Foundation, Ellis helped transition the focus from charity to transformative change making.  As vice president for strategic initiatives, Ellis shaped the “informed and engaged” strategy; shifted the evaluation focus and launched a series of initiatives that would become signature efforts.  She had more than $500 million in grants under active management when retiring earlier this year.

Ellis began her career as a journalist and editor at several metropolitan newspapers.  In 1980, she joined Knight Ridder Inc. where she worked for 26 years rising through the ranks as an editor, advertising and marketing director, publisher and finally a vice president of the Fortune 500 company which she helped sell in 2006. As vice president for operations, Ellis was responsible for aligning the efforts of 20 city group newspapers, including their internet, niche and weekly publications that comprised about 34 percent of EBIDA. She was directly responsible for 15 of them and was a member of the management committee, which set overall company policy and strategy.

 At Knight Ridder, Ellis, known for innovation, creativity and collaboration, often was tapped to lead key strategic planning efforts.  In 1996 a Harvard Business School case study examined her early work at The State in Columbia, S.C., where as managing editor she led the transition to a digital newsroom.

Ellis served in reporting and editing roles in a number of daily newspapers across the country and for Fairchild publications. From Washington, she led Knight Ridder's coverage of the end of the Cold War, the 1988 presidential elections and the Iran Contra Investigation.  She has helped evolve the coverage of issues women care about and advance the role of women journalists and news executives.  Her essay on innovation was published in “On the Edge of Change,” which in 2009 featured women news leaders.

 A respected journalist, Ellis also delivered operational excellence as a publisher.  The Sun News in Myrtle Beach was honored for being the company’s top performing news and information company for five of the seven years she led it.

This richly woven career has been stitched through with one thread: service to community and country.

Ellis has served on numerous business, nonprofit and professional boards over the years. Currently, she is a trustee of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies; a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics; and board member of Grassroots Grantmakers , the Philip Merrill College of Journalism (University of Maryland) board of visitors and the P.I. Reed School of Journalism (West Virginia University) advisory board.

Ellis earned a bachelor's degree in government and politics at the University of Maryland, where she was editor of the award-winning student daily. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master's degree in journalism. She attended executive training at Harvard and the University of Michigan. She is married to Gary Galloway, a retired newspaper reporter and columnist.  She has four stepchildren, 12 grandchildren and three great grandsons.

She is president of the newly-formed Paula Ellis and Associates, LLC.

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, October 26

9:00am EDT