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Apple Wiki
Badge 3039 Ellen Petry Leanse

Leanse's re-issued badge with her 1981 hire date.

Ellen Petry Leanse (born Ellen Petry on August 12, 1958) is an American author, entrepreneur, and online community pioneer. Leanse has spent decades working in the tech industry with companies such as Apple Computer, Facebook, Google, and many startups. She’s a writer on topics of workplace dynamics and a Stanford instructor.


Leanse graduated from Presentation High School in San Jose, California in 1976 and was named a Bank of America Bicentennial Scholar and was also a National Merit Scholar. She studied art and international business and graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in International Marketing in 1981. Upon graduating, Leanse was in a serious bicycle accident and returned to San Jose to recover at her parents' home. It was at that time that she sent an application to Apple Computer and received a rejection letter, which she challenged and was hired in November 1981.


Apple Computer[]

1988 Apple User Group advisory council

Leanse (seated, right) in front of the Apple User Group advisory council in 1988.

Leanse joined Apple as employee #3039 on November 10, 1981, originally in the intercontinental division, dealing with user frustration directed at the company from the Apple II and III installed base. She became part of the Macintosh launch team in 1984. Leanse then launched the company's first online activity through the Apple User Group Connection in 1985. She became the first "User Evangelist" in September 1985 and later left the company in 1990.[1]

After Apple[]

Leanse created a social list-making app "Lists by 222do" for the initial launch of the Facebook development platform in 2007.[2] She worked at Google from 2008 through 2010.

Her article about the word "Just" and its use across genders has received nearly 5 million views on Business Insider in 2017. It was originally published via Women 2.0, an organization she advised from 2012 through 2016.[3] She spoke on "Happiness by Design" at TEDx Berkeley in 2016.[4]

Leanse is presently an instructor at Stanford University and teaches through the university's Continuing Studies program. Her work has spanned entrepreneurship, corporate leadership, investing, and strategy consulting. Leanse is also a contributing writer to Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global platform.


  1. The Story Of Ellen Leanse, Apple’s First User Evangelist by David Spinks, The Community Manager. 2014-01-14. Archived 2014-01-15.
  2. Lists by 222do: About, Facebook. 2007.
  3. Petry Leanse, Ellen (June 25, 2015). Former Google and Apple Exec Says This Word Can Damage Your Credibility. Business Insider.
  4. Berkeley, TEDx (February 19, 2016). Happiness by Design. TEDx Talks (Youtube).

See also[]


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