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THE WOMEN OF TTN

Our members are the heart and soul of The Transition Network.  Our chapters are born, nurtured and grown through the vision and energy of these exceptional women. And they come to TTN with wonderful life stories of successful careers, diverse families, and plentiful life experiences to share.  

Browse through our Member Profiles to learn more about what brought our members to this point in their lives, what they are hoping to accomplish next and how they view their impact on the world.

Ellie Giles

By Naomi Orwin

Profile On:
Ellie Giles, TTN Chapter: Washington DC
Position: Co-Chair of Steering Committee
Member: 3 years

Her attitude about life: Believe you can do it, and don’t be afraid of the journey.

*****

From working with special needs children to advising business leaders, Ellie Giles never does anything small.

When Ellie Giles retired after 36 years working as an administrator in the Montgomery County, Maryland school district, she rebranded herself and began a second career as director of the Montgomery Business Development Corporation, an advisory board that “works collaboratively with County officials and agencies as well as the business community to develop economic strategies to keep our community vibrant and strong. It’s a wonderful place to live, and we want to work to keep it that way,” she says.

How did you make the transition from working in the education system to working with business leaders?

I loved teaching, I loved being involved with cutting-edge educational theories and practices, but after I got my Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership, and retired I had to go out and see how I could expand my horizons. That’s when I joined TTN. It gave me connections to discover more about myself.

Through friends and networking I realized that I have a skill set in organization and operations, what I had to do was learn how to generalize it. I became enamored with the world of non-profit.

I started asking: What else is out there for me? What can I give to the community? Economic development is crucial to every community to keep the schools strong and maintain the quality of life. It just hit the right chord for me.

Although I had never done anything in the business world before, the organization has been successful in getting funding from the county council to promote strong businesses practices of local companies. So far we’ve just been laying the foundation. I’d like to stay with the organization until we are able to realize some of our goals

Are you still involved with education today?

I’ve never stopped working with children. I’m still involved as a consultant in child advocacy. I help parents of children with special needs find the services they need for their children. My dissertation was on a hot topic in special ed - training paraprofessionals for work in the classroom. Because of the teacher shortage, there’s a growing need for paraprofessionals in the classroom. I got a book deal. The book is called Paraprofessionals' Perceptions of Training and Efficacy: A Phenomenological Study, and it’s available at amazon.com.  I also still teach at Johns Hopkins University.

What role did TTN play in your transition?

Once I retired, I was open to the next chapter and looking forward to seeing where the path would take me. I heard about TTN from a good friend. I wanted to meet other professional women. I joined a small special interest group Don’t Retire - Rewire.

I’m TTN’s number one cheerleader. Once I joined TTN, I got very involved. The more engaged you are the better TTN is. I can’t emphasize how important it is to make connections with other professional women. I have a very supportive husband, but a woman’s perspective is unique

What do you love about your life today?

I’m always up for something new. I love getting up each day and absorbing what life has to offer. Just being available is wonderful.

Ellie and her husband, to whom she has “been happily married for thirty years,” live in North Potomac, Montgomery County, Maryland. Their three children, two daughters and a son, were raised “with a very strong social conscience.” They are now established in their own careers in fields that include occupational therapy and deaf advocacy. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her family, but you can also find her on the ski slopes, and with children grown and no pet to care for at the moment, she’s indulging her passion for travel, having just returned from a trip to Hawaii.