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Kris Torkelson, President

With 40 years of expertise in nonprofit HR, operations, administration and development, Kris has helped hundreds of small and midsized nonprofits and foundations build the capacity to pursue their missions. She is passionate about serving clients in social justice, arts and culture, health and homelessness prevention, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion with every engagement. While her practice focuses on HR, operations and the development of future nonprofit leaders, her work with clients goes beyond recruiting and HR support. Kris’ laser-like ability to hone in on the strategic needs and direction of a specific organization enables her to design thoughtful strategies and work quickly to help clients achieve sustainable growth.

In addition to leading clients through organizational, personnel and board strategic restructuring, Kris has conducted assessments and audits to improve efficiency, managed and taught annual work planning and budgeting processes, written personnel policies and HR/operations manuals, coached senior and mid-level management, conducted board development, and organized back-office collaborations. As a search coordinator, she has also screened, interviewed and recommended candidates for over 125 nonprofit roles.


  • Facilitator, Top Talent Institute, Pierce Family Foundation’s nine-month leadership development program
  • Facilitator, Leadership Development Institute, Advocate Bethany Community Health Fund
  • Workshop Presenter, Pierce Family Foundation and Crossroads Fund and Woods Fund Chicago
  • Guest Lecturer at Dominican University, Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies and Chicago Women in Philanthropy
  • Editorial board member, The Chicago Reporter
  • Founding board member at Project Exploration and Public Allies, Chicago
  • VP of Operations, Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust
  • Deputy Director, Project Exploration, a youth science education nonprofit
  • Deputy Director, Urban Gateways: Center for Arts Education
  • Director of Development and Communications, Community Renewal Society
  • Director of Development and Communications, Chicago Foundation for Women
The energetic staff of Project Exploration, an extracurricular science education program for youth.
Wonder Women! The early years... the staff in the late '80s that shaped the Chicago Foundation for Women.
Michelle Obama was the founding Executive Director of Public Allies, with Kris as founding Advisory Board member and Treasurer.