Benan Ozakbas Ellis lives in New York City with her husband and three children. Originally from Turkey, Benan graduated from Koc University in Istanbul in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in History. She then spent 12 years working in the contemporary furniture industry, first with Mozaik Design in Istanbul and then with B&B Italia in Istanbul, Milan, London, and New York. At B&B Italia she rose to the position of National Sales Manager, supervising activities in several company-owned sales outlets in New York and Chicago and with franchisees across the U.S. Since the birth of the second of her three children, Benan has focused her time on raising her family and volunteering with non-profit organizations. She has done volunteer tutoring and served on Benefit Committees for the GO Project, which runs tutoring services for at-risk public school students in downtown Manhattan. She has also led fundraising events for the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, including co-chairing its Workshop Performance Benefit. At her children’s schools, she has helped organize schoolwide events like The Dalton School’s Multicultural Festival and co-chaired fundraising events like Barrow Street Nursery School’s Annual Spring Auction.