University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Ellen Havdala

Past Speaker

Managing Director, Chai Trust Company, LLC

Ellen has worked in a variety of capacities for Sam Zell’s affiliated companies since 1990. In her current role, she is responsible for establishing and overseeing the Zell Global Entrepreneurship Network (ZGEN), an organization designed to support students and alumni from Sam’s graduate-school entrepreneurship programs. She also works with the Zell family office, and serves on the board of EGI portfolio company SIRVA, Inc., a provider of moving and relocation services.

Previously, Ellen was a Managing Director at EGI and a senior member of the investment team. During her tenure within Sam’s network, she served on the boards of Rewards Network, Inc., a dining rewards company; WRS Holding Company, an environmental construction and remediation company; East Mediterranean Gas Company SAE, an Egyptian natural gas transmission company; National Patent Development Corporation, a holding company focused on pharmaceutical and home improvement products; and Home Products International, a global consumer products company. She also held the roles of Executive Vice President at Equity International and Vice President of Scott Sports Group, Inc. Prior to joining Sam’s organization, Ellen was a financial analyst with The First Boston Corporation in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Harvard College and recently earned a master of divinity from the University of Chicago.

Session: Valuing Culture in Organizations

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