Elizabeth Castillo

USE 250
Arizona State University
PO Box 870604
Asst Professor
TEMPE Campus
Senior Sustainability Scientist
TEMPE Campus


How can we create a sustainable economy that works for everyone? Dr. Castillo investigates this problem through the lens of prosocial resource exchange. Her interdisciplinary research uses ecological principles such as mutualism, energy flows across trophic levels, and multi-level group selection to develop theories and practices that promote equity, inclusion, antifragility, and open-endedness in organizations and society. 

Dr. Castillo is a 2020 recipient of the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Worth Teaching award, a global prize for innovation and thought leadership that transforms business education. She serves as Secretary of the International Humanistic Management Association U.S. chapter. She is also on the leadership team for the Early Scholars section of ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) and the International Integrated Reporting Council's U.S. community. She is active in the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative and serves on the economic justice advisory committee for the Nonprofit Quarterly

Castillo's research is inspired by two decades of management experience at the San Diego Natural History Museum and Balboa Park Cultural Partnership. Her scholarship is published in academic journals like The Leadership Quarterly and professional publications such as Nonprofit Quarterly. She is an avid hiker and nature photographer and a member of Conscious Capitalism Arizona. Her mission is to repair the world through scholarship that promotes thriving organizations, fulfilled people, connected communities, and a world we can be proud to pass on to our children.

Media Coverage

ASU Now (2020 Oct. 20). ASU organizational leadership course and professor earn prominent Aspen Institute award.  https://asunow.asu.edu/20201020-asu-organizational-leadership-course-and-professor-earn-prominent-aspen-institute-award

Terrell, M. (2019 June 11). “New business tool demonstrates responsibility toward society.” ASU Now. Retrieved from https://asunow.asu.edu/20190611-solutions-what-is-social-accounting-business-tool


  • Ph.D. Leadership Studies, University of San Diego 2016
  • M.A. Nonprofit Leadership and Management (Award of Distinction), University of San Diego 2010
  • Certificate in Fundraising Management. The Fund Raising School, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University 2006
  • B.A. Philosophy and History (Summa Cum Laude), University of San Diego 1985                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Google Scholar

Research Interests

How can we create a sustainable economy that works for everyone? My use-inspired research investigates four interdependent levers:

1) Identify and develop intangible resources (e.g., social, political, spiritual, reputational capital), explaining their flows, conversion, and interaction effects across multiple levels (people, organizations, societies, and the biosphere);

2) Theorize resource exchange, especially the role of reciprocity as a mechanism to promote sustainability in organizations and societies;

3) Illuminate how value creation simultaneously constitutes values (e.g., social ontology, structuration);              

4) Promote humanistic management (human dignity, inclusiveness, cooperation, mutual well-being).

My interdisciplinary approach draws from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to solve theoretical puzzles. Specifically, my work develops integrative theories that offer new approaches to solving practical problems through actionable tools and frameworks.

Key Words: capabilities, capacity building, collaboration, complexity, cooperation, embeddedness, emergence, generativity, governance, humanistic management, intangible assets, integrated reporting, leadership, multiple capitals, mutualism, nonlinear dynamics, process, public benefit, reciprocity, resources, sustainability

Methods: I analyze phenomena through the lens of Complex Adaptive Systems, using agent-based modeling, case studies, conceptual analysis, content analysis, critical analysis, dynamic modeling, grounded theory, process tracing, statistical analysis, and surveys.                                                                

Research Group

Faculty Affiliate, Biomimicry Center, Arizona State University

Faculty Affiliate, Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment, Arizona State University

Faculty Affiliate, School of Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University



Trinh, M.P. & Castillo, E.A. (in press). Practical wisdom as an adaptive algorithm for leadership: Integrating Eastern and Western perspectives to navigate complexity and uncertainty. Business Ethics: A European Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/beer.12299

Castillo, E.A. & Jones, J.A. (2019). The paradox of growth and giving: Critical case sampling to illuminate the catalytic potential of an under-researched phenomenon. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, e1678, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/nvsm.1648

Castillo, E.A. (2018). Qualities before quantities: A framework to guide dynamic assessment of the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 9(3), article 5. doi:10.1515/npf-2018-0009

Castillo, E.A. & Trinh, M.P. (2018). Catalyzing capacity: Absorptive, adaptive, and generative leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management. doi 10.1108/JOCM-04-2017-0100

Castillo, E. A. & Trinh, M.P. (2018). In search of missing time: A review of temporal effects in leadership studies. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), 165-178. (Yearly Review issue). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2017.12.001

Jones, J.A. & Castillo, E.A. (2017). A fundraiser’s journey: A developmentally-informed, grounded theory analysis. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 22(4), 1-8. doi: 10.1002/nvsm.1584

Ihm, J. & Castillo, E.A. (2017). Development and transformation of collaborative networks in events. Journal of Convention and Event Tourism, 18(3), 205-224. doi: 10.1080/15470148.2017.1322021

Castillo, E.A. (2016). Beyond the balance sheet: Teaching capacity building as capital building. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 6(3), 287-303. doi: 10.18666/JNEL-2016-V6-I3-7586

Castillo, E.A. & Titus, A. (2015). Activating the power of place: A case study of Market Creek. Foundation Review, 7(3), 6-22doi: 10.9707/1944-5660.1252

Castillo, E.A., McDonald, M.B., & Wilson, C.P. (2014). Where heart meets smart: The making of a grantmaker. Foundation Review, 6(2), 27-40. doi: 10.9707/1944-5660.1199


Castillo, E.A. (in press). Teaching 21st century leadership in nonprofit organizations. In K.C. Bezboruah & H. Carpenter (Eds.), Teaching nonprofit management. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.


Castillo, E.A. (2019). Review of “Passing the torch: Planning for the next generation of leaders in public service.” Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 9(1), 120-124. https://doi.org/10.18666/JNEL-2019-V9-I1-8468


Rollins, D. & Castillo, E.A. (2020 Nov. 2). Using six conceptualizations of capital to achieve the SDGs. Stanford Social Innovation Review online. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_six_conceptualizations_of_capital_to_help_achieve_the_sdgs#

Castillo, E.A. (2019 Summer). Nonprofit capacity building: A multiple capitals approach. Nonprofit Quarterly, Summer 2019, 44-48. Also published online 07/16/19 at https://nonprofitquarterly.org/nonprofit-capacity-building-a-multiple-capitals-approach/

Castillo, E.A. (2019 Spring). A new theory of U.S. nonprofits in a democracy gone awry. Nonprofit Quarterly, Spring 2019, 18-28. Also published online 05/09/19 at https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/05/09/a-new-theory-of-u-s-nonprofits-in-a-democracy-gone-awry/

Castillo, E.A. (2018 Winter). Counting what counts: Why social accounting matters. Nonprofit Quarterly, Winter 2018, 78-84. Retrieved from https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/02/11/counting-what-counts-why-social-accounting-matters/

Castillo, E.A. (2018 Nov 20). Why are we still struggling with diversity, equity, and inclusion in nonprofit governance? Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved from https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2018/11/20/why-are-we-still-struggling-with-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-nonprofit-governance/

Castillo, E.A. (2017 Dec 7). Vital signs: Catalyzing community well-being indicators. Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved from https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/12/07/vital-signs-community-wellbeing/

Castillo, E.A. (2017 Oct. 31). Restoring reciprocity. How the nonprofit sector can help save capitalism from itself. Nonprofit Quarterly, 10/31/17. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/10/31/restoring-reciprocity-nonprofit-sector-can-help-save-capitalism/

Castillo, E.A. (2015) Are we there yet? A conversation on performance measures in the third sector. Nonprofit Quarterly,     12/08/15. http://nonprofitquarterly.org/2015/12/08/are-we-there-yet-a-conversation-on-performance-measures-in-the-third-sector/

Research Activity

My use-inspired research focuses on developing a theoretical framework & practical road map to help social enterprises become financially sustainable. Projects include:
1. Developing a theory of capacity building that incorporates economic principles and complexity theory to explain causal mechanisms of how and why capacity building works.
2. Explaining organization and exchange using principles of biomimicry (nature as a model) to promote sustainable value creation.
3. Theorizing Integrated Reporting (a type of social accounting).                                                                                                   4. Establishing philanthropic frameworks that build adaptive capacity in organizations based on process structures. An outcome of this research will be actionable grantmaking strategies that foster emergence, fitness, and sustainability in nonprofit organizations.

Invited Research Talks

Castillo, E.A. (2019 October 23). Catalyzing capacity: Leadership as “power to” vs. “power over”. Plenary presentation at the Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2019 conference, St. Louis, MO, October 23-25.

Castillo, E.A. (2019 April 12). Bio-inspired governance principles to reorient democracy gone awry. Plenary presentation at the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership 2019 Governance conference, University of Missouri Kansas City, April 11-12.

Castillo, E.A. (2019 April 5). Creative and spatial capital as drivers of economic dynamics. The Arts, Creativity, Cultural Capital, & Economic Dynamism seminar. National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Research and Analysis, Washington, D.C.

Castillo, E.A. (2018 July 17). Preliminary analysis of integrated reporting in the United States. Invited webinar presentation for the U.S. Integrated Reporting Council. Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlw-pCCW6FA 

Castillo, E.A. (2018 April 5). Enacting conscious capitalism: The promise of humanities-inspired management. College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Humanities Lecture Series, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. Video available at https://cisa.asu.edu/humanities-lecture-series  Program description at https://asuevents.asu.edu/content/humanistic-management-art-conscious-capitalism

Academic Conference Presentations

Castillo, E.A. (2019). Giving Voice to Values: A Critical Examination of Financial Reporting and the Case for Social Accounting. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, San Diego, CA, November 21-23.

Trinh, M.P. & Castillo, E.A. (2019). Practical wisdom: The integration of Eastern and Western perspectives of virtue ethics. Academy of Management annual meeting August 11-14, Boston, MA.

Trinh, M.P., Kirsch, R., Castillo, E.A., & Bates, D. (2019). Integrating harmony with rhythm: Transcending the interdisciplinary discord of modern academia. Academy of Management annual meeting August 11-14, Boston, MA.

Castillo, E.A. (2019). Creative and spatial capital as drivers of economic dynamism. American Association of Geographers, Washington, D.C., April 3-7.

Castillo, E.A. (2018). Resource allocation through a critical theory and design lens. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Austin, TX, November 15-17.

Castillo, E.A. (2017). Dynamic modeling methods to study complex adaptive systems. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Grand Rapids, MI, November  16-18.

Castillo, E.A. (2017). Economic Sudoku: Untangling the logic puzzle of the double bottom line. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Grand Rapids, MI, November 16-18.     

Castillo, E.A. (2016). Spinning straw into gold: A study of resource creation, flow, and conversion in a nonprofit collaboration. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Washington, D.C., November 17-19.

Castillo, E.A. (2016). Hitting a moving target: The use of process tracing to study resource mobilization. West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference, University of Nevada Las Vegas, April 21-22.

Castillo, E.A. (2015). Beyond the balance sheet: Teaching nonprofit business model development using multiple forms of capital. Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, Chicago, IL, July 15-16.

Castillo, E.A. (2014). Fractured philosophy=the confused sector: An exploration of the logics, sciences, and economics of the social sector. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Denver, Colorado, November 20-22.

Castillo, E.A. (2014). Putting the map in motion: A typology of capitals and their activating processes. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Denver, Colorado, November 20-22.

Academic Panel Presentations and Symposia

Nickels, A., Weaver, R.L.,  Taylor, J.A., Castillo, E.A., Winfield, G., Einolf, C., & Wood, Z. (2019). Examining the research-practice continuum: Perspectives from across the nonprofit and voluntary studies field. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, San Diego, CA, November 21-23.

Steckler, E. & Castillo, E.A. (2019). Co-creating the inclusive organization: Advancing well-being, dignity, and inclusivity through humanistic management. Professional development workshop at Academy of Management annual meeting, Boston, MA, August 9, 2019.

Child, C., Witesman, E., Abzug, R., Castillo, E., LePere-Schloop, M., Langer, J., Mandiberg, J., Moody, M., Nesbit, B., and    Steinberg, R. (2018). The State of Nonprofit Theory. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, Austin, TX, November 15-17.

Professional Development and Certificates


Project Management certificate, Arizona State University (May-June 2019)

Junior Faculty Development workshop, Social Issues in Management division, Academy of Management, August 2018, Chicago, IL.


Applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation and global systems evaluation

Agent-based modeling for sustainability (SOS 591), Arizona State University

Master Class for Teaching Online, Arizona State University


Provost’s Teaching Academy, Arizona State University

Independent Applying the QM Rubric Certificate, Quality Matters

Diversity Mentoring workshop, Arizona State University

Social Network Analysis methods workshop, ARNOVA

Dynamic modeling for the social sciences (PSY 576), Arizona State University

Agent-based modeling Winter School, ASU Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment




Spring 2021
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
OGL 562 Resource Development in Orgs
Fall 2020
Course Number Course Title
OGL 550 Leading Organizational Change
Summer 2020
Course Number Course Title
OGL 550 Leading Organizational Change
Spring 2020
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
OGL 260 Resource Allocation in Org
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
OGL 350 Diversity and Organizations
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
OGL 300 Theory Practice of Leadership
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
OGL 350 Diversity and Organizations


Castillo, E.A. (2019 June 4). Incorporating intangible assets into management education. Presented at Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Regional Meeting North America, Jun 2-4, 2019. Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

Castillo, E.A. (2019 March 29). Stakeholder orientation. Conscious Capitalism ASU graduate workshop, Arizona State University.

Castillo, E. A. (2018 February 12). Teaching principles of humanistic management. Learning Innovation Showcase, Arizona State University.  


  • Aspen Institute Ideas Worth teaching award for innovation that transforms business education (2020)
  • Stakeholder theory summer workshop, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, August 1-7, 2019 (awarded tuition, lodging, and meals).
  • $5,000 research grant, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions (2019). Developing Meaningful Metrics for Value Creation in Public Research Universities (Co-PI with Laurie Mook).
  • Faculty Fellow, ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics (2017-18). $1,250 for Moral Capital scale development project (Co-PI).
  • Research award, 2017 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits ($750 travel grant). Presented by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Independent Sector. 
  • $500 Travel Grant, Public Performance and Management Review, paper presentation at PPMR pre-publication symposium, George Washington University, June 7, 2017.
  • Outstanding Collaboration Award (co-recipient), Faculty of Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (May 2017)
  • Emerging Scholar award, Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (2016)
  • Finalist, William P. Foster award for outstanding dissertation, University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education Sciences (2016)
  • Joseph Rost Scholarship (faculty award for outstanding doctoral student), University of San Diego, Department of Leadership Studies (2015-16)
  • Doctoral Fellow, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (2015)
  • Nu Lambda Mu honor society, awarded for academic excellence by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (2015)
  • Servant Leadership Scholar Award for nonprofit service, awarded by the University of San Diegos Master of Science in Executive Leadership program (2008).
  • US Forest Service "Taking Wing" award, for outstanding community collaboration for the San Diego County Bird Atlas project (2003).
  • Award of Distinction, an award from the faculty for an outstanding nonprofit master's student, University of San Diego
  • Outstanding Student Awards, two awards from the Department of History and Department of Philosophy faculty, University of San Diego 


Frontiers in Organizational Psychology (Review Editor)

Professional Associations

Academy of Management (AOM): Social Issues in Management (SIM), Public & Nonprofit (PNP), and Management Education (MED).

Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)

International Humanistic Management Association (IHMA).  Member, U.S. steering committee. Co-host of monthly Lunch & Learn webinars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mME6hEIz0AI&feature=youtu.be



Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

Journal of Organizational Change Management

Nonprofit Management & Leadership                

International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing

Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership

Global Economics and Management Review (2015)

Evaluation and Program Planning (2014)



Academy of Management annual meeting 

International Leadership Association Annual Meeting



Nonprofit Quarterly (2014-2017)

Guidestar User Advisory Committee (2015-16)



Chair, faculty search committee for tenure track professor, Arizona State University (2017-2019)

Member, college assessment committee, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (2019-present)

Member, ad hoc committee to explore adoption and implementation of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

Member, Faculty Annual Report committee (2018-2020)

Member, faculty search committee, Arizona State University (2016-17)

Member, Graduate Studies Committee, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (2016-present)

Student Member, faculty search committee for tenure track professor, University of San Diego (2014)

Member, Outstanding Leadership Book Award selection committee, University of San Diego (2013-2015)         



Ambassador, Conscious Capitalism Arizona

International Integrated Reporting Council--USA Community



Castillo, E.A. (2019 February 20). How can we create a sustainable economy that works for everyone? Arizona State University Emeritus College. 

Castillo, E.A. (2018 April 5). Enacting conscious capitalism: The promise of humanities-inspired management. College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Humanities Lecture Series, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. Video https://cisa.asu.edu/humanities-lecture-series

Castillo, E. A. (2017). Building capacity: A multiple capitals approach. Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation 2017 Nonprofit Sustainability Conference, Arizona State University, October 18.

Castillo, E.A. (2014). Expanding the capitalization conversation: Creating a wheel of wealth creation for your nonprofit. Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, November 5.

Castillo, E.A. (2011). Action research as a tool to explore new business models. Action Research Conference, University of San Diego, May 6.



State of California. California Cultural and Historical Endowment (2006)

California Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning Program (2002)



Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (2014-2017)

Graduate Faculties / Mentoring History

Guest LecturesGraduate

Interdisciplinary Applied Learning Lab (BUS 593, CON 598, DSC 598), 09/25/18

Human Resources Management for Nonprofits (NLM 540), 11/13/17

Student Mentoring

  • Faculty advisor, ASU Conscious Capitalism Club, 40 MBA students, November 2018-present
  • BIS 401: served as faculty supervisor for 25 undergraduate students 2016-present
  • Provided academic and career mentorship to 25 graduate students (School of Sustainability, School of Public Service and Community Solutions, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, College of Integative Sciences and Arts)
  • Provided career mentorship to fifteen undergraduate Organizational Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies students
  • Research mentorship to PhD students and candidates, Humanistic Management PhD Network


Evaluation Consultant (2015). Conduct data collection for $3 million arts-based innovation research project funded by the National Science Foundation.



Industry Positions

2009-2012        Director of Development, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership (San Diego, CA)

1999-2009        Director of Foundation Relations, San Diego Natural History Museum

Raised over $28 million for these organizations and partners, primarily through grants, major gifts, and government contracts. Coordinated research and development for new initiatives, including Park-wide membership collaborative business model. Responsible for marketing, membership, and government relations. Expertise in developing and sustaining interagency collaborations with public, nonprofit, and private agencies. Experienced working in multi-cultural environments.



Pro Bono

Pro bono grant preparation for City of Poway Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center and other health, social service, and community agencies. Generated $1 million in federal and state funding for these organizations (1996-2012).

Member, Biomimicry advisory committee, San Diego Zoo Global (2010-2012).

Madrina (mentor for Latina girls), Niñas de Aztlán Focus on Literacy, San Diego City Schools’ LLAMA Advocacy Program (2001).