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Jennifer Nelsen

Chief People and Culture Officer (she/her)


Headshot of Jennifer Nelsen
Todd Spoth

Jennifer is responsible for harnessing the energy and expertise of the organization’s more than 100 employees as they seek to solve some of the nation’s most intractable problems. Jennifer also oversees efforts to develop and implement strategies to engage and empower employees, strengthen and activate the organization’s operational power, and fuel Arnold Ventures’ values and principles in pursuit of sustainable policy change steeped in research and evidence.

She previously served as chief of staff to the Arnold Ventures president and CEO as well as assistant general counsel for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Prior to joining the organization, Jennifer served as a litigator with Winston & Strawn and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. While in private practice, Jennifer provided pro bono legal services, working alongside organizations like Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Human Rights First, Tahirih Justice Center and Disability Rights Texas.

She began her career as a judicial law clerk for The Honorable Melinda Harmon, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas.

Jennifer has been actively involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations in Houston. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Hana and Arthur Ginzbarg Nature Discovery Center, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Grants Committee, Houston Advisory Council for Tahirih Justice Center, and Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University. Jennifer holds degrees from Washington and Lee University and New York Law School.

Headshot of Jennifer Nelsen
Todd Spoth
Meet the Team