Linda Darragh, who has served as the Booth School of Business’s clinical associate professor of Eentrepreneurship and director of entrepreneurship programs since 2005, will leave for a similar position at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University last month.
Darragh discussed the expansion of the entrepreneurship programs on campus and around the city under her leadership, which has increased ties to the local Chicago business community.
“We try to highlight innovation among core businesses in Chicago,” Darragh said. “In the Midwest that includes agriculture and trade, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
Darragh also attributes her success to her personal ties in the Chicago entrepreneurship community, which includes her service as the vice president of the Women’s Business Development Center downtown and her tenure on the Illinois governor’s team on economic development.
In addition to directing the entrepreneurship program on campus, Darragh teaches the New Venture and Small Enterprise Labs and leads the Hamer Small Business.
Despite her departure, Darragh believes that the programs will continue to blossom.
“Momentum here is in full tilt,” Darragh said. “There’s a great team here and once you have role models, the program just continues to grow.”
Under her stewardship, there were a record number of entrants into the New Venture Challenge at Booth, a business competition that encourages hands-on learning in the field of entrepreneurship.
Robert Rosenberg, Associate Vice President of Communications for the University, praised Darragh for her efforts in fostering entrepreneurship on campus.
“She is distinguished by her energetic, insightful, optimistic, and passionate approach to entrepreneurship, more a calling than a career,” Rosenberg said. “The enduring memory is of having Linda as an outspoken partner in defending non-traditional startups, including social ventures, NFPs etc.—startups where the financial bottom line was not the sole criteria for success.”
The work at Northwestern will be a “completely new challenge” rather than replication of the Booth programs, said Darragh.
So far there has been neither discussion as to who will replace Darragh, nor any time frame established for selecting a candidate.
Darragh will officially begin her position as executive director of the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital at Kellogg on July 1.