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About Ellen


Leadership coach and tech pioneer Ellen Petry Leanse has spent 35 years working with extraordinary leaders at Apple, Google, Facebook, as an entrepreneur, and with dozens of startups. She’s a widely-followed writer on topics of workplace dynamics, a Stanford instructor, and the mother of three grown sons.

In her nine years at Apple Ellen served on the Macintosh launch team (1984) and led the company’s pioneering work in creating digital communities (1985). Her work since then has spanned entrepreneurship, corporate leadership, investing, and strategy consulting.

Today, combining decades of life lessons with insights from neuroscience, design, and mindfulness practice, Ellen guides companies and individuals to “think different” about life satisfaction, relationships, impact, and the paths that build them.

An author, Stanford instructor, and respected Silicon Valley influencer, Ellen is passionate about intentional living and how our brains can shape or interfere with our sense of purpose. She’s been featured on CNN, the BBC, and in publications including Inc. Magazine, Time, The New York Times, Vogue.com, Teen Vogue, Forbes, and Business Insider, where her essay on the world “Just” has received nearly five million views.

The mother of three adult sons, Ellen’s book “The Happiness Hack,” a guide to the brain and how to use it to increase life satisfaction, launched in November 2017.

Professional Highlights

  • Served on the Apple Macintosh launch team (1983 – 1984); launched Apple’s pioneering online presence (1985). Nominated as an Apple Hero, the company’s highest employee honor
  • Featured in Inc. Magazine’s cover story on successful part-time entrepreneurs (1994) and in Time Magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, and The Today Show stories on balancing professional life and parenthood
  • Guided more than 40 start-up companies through launches, growth, and/or exits as an advisor, consultant, investor, or business partner (2010 onward)
  • Named a Silicon Valley Women of Influence (2012) and one of technology’s Top Five Marketers (2013)
  • Joined Stanford’s Continuing Studies faculty to teach the neuroscience of innovation through on-campus and online courses (2013 onward)
  • Published multiple articles on brain-aware leadership, well-being, gender, and interpersonal dynamics. Articles have been globally syndicated, receiving up to 8 million views and guiding readers everywhere to new levels of self-awareness and empowerment (2014 onward)
  • Shared a vision for “Happiness by Design” at TEDx Berkeley (2016)
  • Authored The Happiness Hack, a brain-aware guide to success and satisfaction published by leading well-being/business publisher Sourcebooks (2017), named one of the top ten publishers in the U.S. by Publisher’s Weekly