La Tonja Ellis
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
- Marianne Williamson
La Tonja D. Ellis is a Pastor, innovator, educator, and community leader. A native of Yazoo City, Mississippi, La Tonja learned at an early age the power of education. La Tonja’s educational accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (2002), Master of Public Administration (2005), and a Master of Human Resources Management (2010). While in leadership at Arnett Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, La Tonja accepted her call to ministry and was ordained in September 2019. She was appointed the Pastor of Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church in Bronzeville just two days later. Recently, La Tonja graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary with her Master of Divinity in May 2020.
La Tonja currently serves as the Director of Human Resources and Culture for the Children's Defense Fund since January 2022. She also serves as the Project Director for Morgan Park Freedom School. Her previous work spans other industries to include Higher Education, Manufacturing, Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Operations, Corporate, Non-Profit and Faith Based Organizations. Her extensive background includes formal training in Mental Health First Aid, Crisis Intervention, Sexual Assault Advocacy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Trauma Healing Facilitation.
La Tonja’s work in the community has made a local and international impact. She has held leadership roles in various organizations to include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Chicago, United Way, Live Free Chicago and African International House.
La Tonja serves as the President/CEO of ELITE Communities and the Founder of Speak Nation LLC, a company committed to showcasing and fashioning collaborative spaces for the creatives of the world. She serves as Mentor Co-Lead for the McCormick Theological Seminary RISE Together Mentee Program, a national mentorship network for women of color in ministry through Union Theological Seminary in New York.
La Tonja is happily married to her partner in life, Mr. Eric Ellis, and is the proud mother of two sons, Kenyatta Jay and Eric Jr., and one daughter, Ericka. Eric and La Tonja also parent two dobermans, Rollo (deceased) and Roman.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”