Ellen Taaffe
Ellen Taaffe

Clinical Assistant Professor of Leadership
Director of Women's Leadership Programs

Print Overview

Ellen Taaffe is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Leadership at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She leverages over thirty years of leadership, marketing, and management experience as the Director of Women's Leadership Programs. Ellen oversees the strategy development, operational plans, and implementation of this critical initiative.  

Following a 25-year career in senior brand management and corporate strategy roles, Ellen served as President of Smith-Dahmer Associates, an award-winning brand strategy and custom market research consultancy serving Fortune 500 clients.  Prior to that, Ellen led brand marketing, including profit and loss responsibility, in divisions of PepsiCo, Royal Caribbean, and Whirlpool Corporation.  She also led strategy and programming for PepsiCo's Health and Wellness strategic initiative, reshaping the product mix and pipeline direction, installing new corporate marketing and advertising practices, co-developing nutritional guidelines, and leading external partnership programming. 

Currently, Ellen is a member of the Board of Directors of John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., (NASDAQ: JBSS) and Hooker Furniture Corporation (NASDAQ: HOFT), where she serves on their Audit, Compensation, and Governance Committees. Since 2015, she has been an independent marketing and business strategy consultant and executive leadership coach. 

Ellen received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in 1997.  She also holds a BS from the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business.  Ellen lives in Wilmette with her husband and two daughters. 


Print Vita
MBA, 1997, Northwestern University
B.S., 1983, Marketing, University of Florida

Other Professional Experience
Vice President, PepsiCo, 1999-2001
Vice President, PepsiCo, 2001-2003
Vice President, PepsiCo, 2003-2005
Senior Vice President, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, 2005-2007
Vice President of Marketing, Whirlpool Corporation, 2007-2009
President, Smith-Dahmer Associates, 2010-2015
Independent Consultant and Executive Coach, 2015-present
Board of Directors, Hooker Furniture Corporation, 2015-present
Board of Directors, John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., 2011-present
Clinical Assistant Professor of Leadership and Director of Women's Leadership Programs, Northwestern University, 2016-present

Honors and Awards
Directors to Watch 2017, Directors & Boards Magazine

Print Research
Taaffe, Ellen. "What Will Good Men Do?." November.
Taaffe, Ellen and Eli Finkel. "Kellogg Insight: Give Better Feedback." Kellogg Insight, November.
Taaffe, Ellen. "We talk about Gender Diversity, but what we really mean is this.." December 2016.
Taaffe, Ellen. "Finding the pipeline -- Where Women Leaders Begin.".

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