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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces New Head of Bellagio Center

Elena Gelosa joins The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center as Vice President, succeeding Pilar Palaciá

BELLAGIO, ITALY | July 27, 2023 ― The Rockefeller Foundation announced that Elena Gelosa has joined as Vice President of the Bellagio Center, where she will oversee all strategic and operational activities and serve as the Foundation’s representative in Italy. Ms. Gelosa begins her role with the Foundation in September after serving six years at Bocconi University. She succeeds Pilar Palaciá, who will depart following an 18-year tenure leading the Bellagio Center and working with The Rockefeller Foundation for over 30 years.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Elena Gelosa, a proven leader and natural connector, to The Rockefeller Foundation at a time when we are meeting a unique combination of challenges and opportunities,” said Natalye Paquin, The Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Bellagio Center is one of the most special venues in the world, and it has been the setting for driving collaborations and innovations that have advanced society. Elena will ensure its impactful legacy continues while finding new ways for it to help all of us promote the well-being of humanity”.

Ms. Gelosa joins The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center from her alma mater, Bocconi University, where she was Director of Alumni Community. In this role, Ms. Gelosa led a global alumni network spanning 45 countries with 75 chapters and 12 topic groups, covering themes such as sustainability, digital & innovation, and governance. Over the course of her time with the Bocconi University, Ms. Gelosa was also Marketing Topic Group Leader, Board Member, and an activist at the forefront of Alumni Community activities. Prior to Bocconi University, Ms. Gelosa held positions at Manpower Group, Focus MGMT, IBM, and UNISYS, during which she managed transformations and cultivated relationships with international stakeholders across varying sectors.

“I am excited to join The Rockefeller Foundation, become part of this exceptional team, and lead the Bellagio Center in its pursuit of delivering ideas and momentum to tackle decisive issues and improve people’s well-being,” said Ms. Gelosa, incoming Vice President of The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. “I am committed to strengthening the Bellagio Center and ensuring its unique capacity to convene can ensure a better future for all. It’s time to wow!”

Ms. Gelosa will become the eighth head of the Bellagio Center since it was launched in 1959. Situated on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center has a long history of convening the very best in their fields to solve the world’s most pressing problems, including meetings that led to the Global AIDS Vaccine Initiative (GAVI), supporting innovations in technology and communities of dedicated engineers and scientists, and changing the course of philanthropy by coining the phrase, “impact investing,” in 2007.

For over 60 years, the Bellagio Center residency program has welcomed more than 5,000 artists, policymakers, scholars, authors, practitioners, and scientists from 130 countries, including 100 recognized as Nobel Laureates. Each year, the Bellagio Center residency program offers approximately 100 best-in-class thinkers and doers the chance to develop the ideas, art, policies, and breakthroughs that will help to promote the wellbeing of humanity by making opportunity universal and sustainable. Former residents include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dikgang Moseneke; renowned author Maya Angelou; creator of The 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah Jones; and human rights activist Ilwad Elman.

During Ms. Palaciá’s 18-year tenure as head of The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, she helped advance the residency and conference programs to address a wide array of key global challenges, including leading the Center through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Pilar’s impact can be felt on every inch of the Bellagio Center and every member of the Foundation’s team,” said Ms. Paquin. “Pilar is a leader with a true gift for getting the best out of people and place. We wish her all the best in the years ahead.”

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We make big bets to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to health care and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

Media Contact

Abby Sickles
The Rockefeller Foundation

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