Americares Chief People and Systems Officer Elana Lopez oversees global human resources for the health-focused relief and development organization. She is responsible for developing and implementing best in class human capital leadership as well as recruiting, training, development and performance management for all Americares employees worldwide. She is also tasked with cultivating a collaborative and inclusive global culture that reflects Americares values, attracts top talent and advances innovation.
Lopez brings to Americares over a decade of experience in the social impact sector. Prior to joining Americares, Lopez served as the chief people officer at Change.org, the world’s largest platform for social change, where she led the organization’s human resources, DEI, recruiting and talent and people and culture teams. Prior to Change.org, Lopez held several senior-level operations and human resources positions at the Avaaz Foundation, where she oversaw staff management and development, strengthened organizational culture, developed and executed leadership and development trainings and led recruitment efforts.
A steadfast social justice advocate, Lopez’s experience also includes serving as the vice president of communications for Tzedek Chicago, a Jewish congregation rooted in justice and equity, and as a crisis counselor for victims of sexual and domestic violence at YWCA Chicago.
Lopez earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative culture and media studies from the University of Maryland, where she developed her own major focusing on the role of media in war and conflict. She holds a master’s degree in narrative theory and communication studies from the University of Chicago, where she also created her own course of study centering on how individuals use stories to traverse war, personal trauma and other difficult events.