The work Evan Ishida loves is designing solutions and experiences that help people, teams, and organizations learn, collaborate, create, and innovate together. His expertise lies in building thriving cultures by facilitating and coaching his clients to craft new approaches to learning, growing collaboration, applying agile principles to planning, and applying the latest technologies to keep everything connected. Evan does this work with corporations, mid-sized companies, healthcare systems, nonprofits, and academic institutions as a Partner and Co-Founder of a creative partnership called Thrive at Work.
As a proud Ohio University Bobcat, his career began as an internal consultant, and team leader in large global Fortune 200 corporations where he focused on learning and development, instructional design, communities of practice, and learning technologies. In 2010 he helped to co‐found Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect young people to organizations, issues, and institutions in Greater Cleveland. In 2013, he left the corporate world to fuse his professional and civic passions by pursuing entrepreneurial efforts in consulting and technology.
His passion for civic engagement, innovation and collaboration led him to Social Venture Partners in 2012. Initially he served on the Education and Investment teams to help engage SVP partners in the core work of the organization. He is currently serving as Lead Partner with Home Repair Resource Center, one of SVPs Investees, and was elected to serve as vice-president on the SVP board.
Evan wakes up every day excited to work with the most talented people in the world, and have a ton of fun along the way. When not “on the clock,” he plays in the Cleveland Metroparks, enjoys a Tremont happy hour, or connects with his community of local music lovers to see live shows. As they say, Cleveland Rocks!
Evan Ishida | A Teacher and Activist by Design
By: Hilary Sparks-Roberts, Executive Director
Surprisingly, the skills Evan learned at 16 as a shoe salesman have served him well ever since. He quickly discovered the importance of active listening in order to identify his customers’ real needs so that he could talk them out of flashy high tops for more sensible running shoes. As the Manager of Performance and Learning Consulting for Eaton’s Eaton University, Evan uses active listening to assess training needs, to stimulate innovative solutions by the consultants and designers who work for him, and ultimately to develop learning solutions that will benefit the entire company.
Evan’s prowess at instructional design and his love of teaching may have been hardwired from birth, as his father was an AP Calculus teacher for 40 years in Lancaster, Ohio. Evan majored in IT at Ohio University and later earned an MBA in Marketing. He worked for Nationwide Insurance for 2½ years as a senior performance improvement analyst before working for Eaton. Evan’s teaching extends beyond his work world with his mentoring of an eighth grade student at E-Prep through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.
Since moving to Cleveland, Evan has thrown himself into young professional circles, serving as a board member of Cleveland ConneXion, and a founder and co-chair of Engage! Cleveland. Most recently he became a board member of Global Cleveland, an organization which attracts and retains talent in the region. He’s inspired to find ways to actively involve younger folks in the Cleveland community and to work on linking business, government and nonprofits to accelerate progress. In order to promote the boomerang effect of drawing young Clevelanders back to the city, Evan believes we need to work on shaping their perceptions of the city even before college. Evan certainly has the vision, the expertise and the energy to make this happen.
In his spare time, Evan plays tennis, volleyball and golf. He loves vinyl records and singing at the top of his voice to the car radio. Although Evan claims that he cannot finish a book and that there is chaos behind his organized façade, he is clearly a master at pulling everything, and everyone, together. From what we’ve seen at SVP thus far, the shoe certainly fits.