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Åsa Fanelli, (pronounced “Osa”) is the Founder & and Chief Strategist of IdeaLift Group LLC, a boutique strategic consulting firm in Boston, MA, that engages consultants who have served in leadership roles to provide key insights and support to boards and executives, project management and thought leadership. Åsa is a Certified Teacher with Search Inside Yourself (SIY) Leadership Institute, a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence program based on neuroscience and developed by Google. The program teaches emotional intelligence and mindfulness techniques that increase health, wellbeing and creativity in life and work. SIY trainings help develop self awareness, self management, empathy, and resilience, leading to more effective, compassionate leaders and more collaborative and inclusive workplaces. Åsa is also a Teacher with Journey Meditation, a powerful Stress Management & Mental Wellbeing Program to reduce burnout, turnover, and stress-related illness while increasing productivity and engagement. As a Journey Meditation Teacher she leads meditation sessions at corporations and nonprofits in the Boston area.
With over 20 years of broad-based leadership experience in the global corporate and nonprofit sectors Åsa believes that recruiting and developing a high-performing, passionate Board of Directors and leadership team is the key to a nonprofit’s success to remain sustainable and have the greatest impact on the mission. She works with a variety of client organizations to help with board development, drive strategic planning, facilitate collaborative innovation among teams, develop fundraising plans, and build organizational capacity to advance the ability of nonprofit boards, executives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists to be effective social change leaders. Åsa is known as a passionate, engaging personality with an entrepreneurial spirit who has contributed to significant growth and great impact in her career, both as a leader and a consultant.
Prior to starting IdeaLift Group, Åsa served as CEO and President of Horizons for Homeless Children, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides high-quality early education and play for young homeless children. During her time at Horizons, Åsa led the development and implementation of a new strategic plan that strengthened the organization as a national thought leader and advocate on early education and homelessness. Åsa also served on several advisory councils, including the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, and the Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Office Advisory.
Before joining Horizons, Åsa spent more than 15 years at EF Education First, a global company providing language education, cultural exchange, academic programs, and immersion travel with offices and schools spread across 52 countries with 23,000 staff, teachers and volunteers. She held numerous leadership positions in business development, sales/marketing, operations and talent management in this highly entrepreneurial, fast growing organization.
Åsa started her career with EF Education in Rome, Italy and later moved to Boston as President of EF’s High School Year student exchange program. While at EF, Åsa also served as head of Human Resources and Talent Management. In addition to overseeing recruitment, training and performance management for the North American EF offices, she was appointed to lead a global cross-company talent management initiative where she created and facilitated leadership seminars and professional development trainings for managers in the US, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Åsa graduated in Human Resources Management and Economics from University of Stockholm and has Boston University's Fundraising Certificate Program as well as the Board Source Certificate of NonProfit Board Consulting and Certificate of Nonprofit Board Governance. Åsa serves on the Board of Trustees of the Epiphany School in Boston as well as the Newton Health and Human Services Advisory Board. She is active on the Governance Committee of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and is a member of The Boston Club where she serves on the Nonprofit Board Committee to organize educational events for members and facilitates the search for women to nonprofit boards.
A Swedish citizen, she was born in India and grew up internationally in Africa, Asia and Europe. As a cancer survivor and a curious life-long learner, she is continuously seeking to expand her capabilities, most recently by studying various mindfulness-based practices to incorporate in her work, practicing Zumba and her greatest passion - traveling the world.
Åsa lives in Newton with her long-time partner, Rufus. She has two adult sons, a dog and many cool friends.