Ellis Names Lauren Cook as Its New Chief Executive Officer

Lauren Cook
September 20, 2018 — Ellis, a Boston nonprofit that provides intervention and counseling services to children, disabled adults, elders, and families in Boston’s South End and nearby neighborhoods, recently announced it has named Lauren Cook as its new chief executive officer.

Cook replaces Leo Delaney, who retired from the post after leading Ellis for 32 years.

“We are all very grateful to have found our new leader who is deeply passionate about early education and youth,” said Larry Hughes, board chair of Ellis. “The board and I are confident Lauren represents the next generation of extraordinary leadership for Ellis. We are most excited to do all that we can to support her in her new role.”

For the last five years, Cook worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB), most recently as senior executive director of program and partnerships.

Prior to joining BGCB, Lauren was executive director of Healthworks Community Fitness, which operated two fitness and health education centers for women and children in Dorchester. Earlier, she served two years with the Peace Corps in Guatemala as a municipal development advisor.

“I’m thrilled to join such an extraordinary organization and team, and I look forward to serving the children and families of the Ellis community,” said Cook. “Ellis is a leader in delivering the highest quality early education, care, and youth development programs, and it reflects my own interests and values. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to devote my professional energy and expertise to such a meaningful organization.”

Cook earned a bachelor's degree in women's studies and Spanish from Hamilton College and a master's degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She also studied nonprofit management and leadership at Boston University.

“This is an exciting time for Ellis,” said Delaney. “Lauren brings a distinctly special skill set and passion for the organization’s work. I look forward to doing everything I can to support her during this transition.”

Delaney joined Ellis as CEO in 1986, a year after Ellis celebrated its 100th anniversary, just as the organization was enduring financial difficulties, according to the South End News. He was given two years to assess the situation and develop a plan for Ellis' future, and "quickly turned Ellis into an anchor in the South End with continued services to the community and expanded its reach."

The paper further noted, "Under his leadership, the most dramatic improvements and expansion began a decade ago when Ellis embarked on a four-part Campaign for the Future. From creating the Ellis Children's Park on Chandler Street, turning a vacant lot into a playground for very young children, to acquiring and renovating 58 Berkeley Street and renovating 66 Berkeley, ultimately taking two historic buildings and opening a state-of-the-art Early Education Center, expanding its footprint in the South End and increasing programmatic capacity for children aged two months to 5 years and space for its school-age program and community focused events."

In June, Ellis completed renovations at 66 Berkeley Street, which it has owned since 1924 to house education and care programs for children ages two months through 12 years.