Ali Carella

Senior Consultant

Chicago, IL
Practice Areas of Interest


Economic Equality

Education/ Youth

Immigrant Rights

Social Impact

Social Justice/ Advocacy/ Policy

Meet Ali,

one of our Senior Consultants.

Ali (she/her) is an experienced educator and applied researcher with roots in the human rights ecosystem at both local and international levels. Her approach to supporting nonprofit and philanthropic leaders is characterized by her deep commitment to equity and her ability to help organizations make tangible sense of messy challenges. Her thoughtfulness and comfort with both details and higher-level strategic thinking is evident in how she designs processes related to strategy development and implementation, impact measurement, business planning, strengthening organizational culture, and more.

With over fifteen years of nonprofit experience, Ali was on staff at the Heartland Alliance in Chicago prior to joining La Piana. Most recently, she served as the Associate Director of Quality and Performance Improvement with Heartland Human Care Services, and she was previously the Senior Project Manager of Evidence-Based Learning for Heartland’s Social IMPACT Research Center. Ali is highly proficient in Spanish.

Impact Approach

Ali is passionate about working with organizations that work to combat threats to equity and social justice for all. She believes impact is amplified when organizational leaders and staff work collaboratively with community members to discuss challenges and define success. This results in a beautiful reciprocal process that places equity at the center of the conversation.


  • University of Illinois at Chicago ‒ Ph.D., Education: Literacy, Language, and Culture

  • Portland State University ‒ M.Ed., Secondary: Language Arts

  • University of Barcelona ‒ Spanish Language and Latin American Literature

  • University of Kansas ‒ B.A., English and Socio-Cultural Anthropology

Select Clients

Select Publications

  • American Lung Association

  • BUILDing for Growth Program with the Ford Foundation

  • Helping Hand

  • Holyoke Health Center

  • Justice for Migrant Women

  • National Partnership for New Americans

  • Rung for Women

  • Sphinx

  • Tapestry

  • YWCA Hamilton

“I am committed to equity and energized by the ability to help kind and smart people solve big social problems... Most solutions are out there - it is my job to create the space to thoughtfully and collaboratively help organizations discuss and clarify those solutions to bring them to a place of feasible implementation.”

Outside of Work

Ali is based in Chicago and is a single mom of two sweet little ones. Ali loves spending time with her family, long early morning walks with friends, reading, and exploring art museums.