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News & Announcements: USASBE News Updates

USASBE Selects Julie Shields as Inaugural CEO

Monday, March 9, 2020  
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The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) announced today that its Board of Directors has overwhelmingly chosen Julie Shields as the organization's inaugural chief executive officer. Shields, who currently serves as director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin University and formerly served USASBE as an interim executive director, will step into the leadership role on March 9, 2020.


"After a comprehensive search process, the board is pleased to have found the best individual to assume leadership of this world-class entrepreneurship education organization," said Dr. Jill Kickul, president of USASBE. "Julie brings a wealth of leadership experience in entrepreneurship education and programming, as well as a deep understanding of USASBE’s operations, mission, and the evolution of board priorities in recent years. The combination of these attributes uniquely positions her to represent and work alongside the board to continue building on USASBE’s positive and growing momentum. Julie’s strong sense of integrity and perspective will provide a necessary foundation and sense of continuity and lead our organization into a bright future."


The selection of Shields caps a search process facilitated by Sallin Search, a non-profit executive search firm that specializes in placing executives at prestigious non-profit organizations. A large initial prospect pool was narrowed by stages to a group who interviewed with the board's succession committee and then to a final round who met with board leadership.


"Julie brings the forward-thinking and collaborative mindset needed to move this organization forward," said Dr. Doan Winkel, president-elect of USASBE. "She has been a bold change agent able to actively lead a broad spectrum of entrepreneurship educators both at Millikin University and USASBE. Even more important, she’ll be able to intentionally lead USASBE to a year-round value model for its membership and help create strategic partnerships with organizations interested in working with the generation of students developed at the institutions engaged with USASBE."


"I'm honored and humbled for the opportunity to lead this organization with a rich history built by courageous and talented educators into its next iteration. Our annual conference has been truly inspirational and has changed the trajectories of educators and their respective students. I look forward to working with the board, our membership, and partners to connect, create, and build the next generation of innovative, relevant and insightful programming. The students impacted by entrepreneurship educators are building the future through their enterprises and with the innovative companies who hire them. We can connect that dot even better,” said Shields.


Dr. Thom Pittz, assistant professor of management at the University of Tampa, has been USASBE’s interim executive director through this transition. “Thom has worked tirelessly as a diligent and dynamic steward of the organization, and under his leadership, USASBE held the most attended conference in the organization’s history,” said Dr. Eric Liguori, past president of USASBE. “Thom has been a remarkable leader responsible for a great portion of our success this year. The board wants to extend our gratitude for his commitment and tremendous efforts to help USASBE through this transition, and also to the University of Tampa for supporting Thom’s leadership within USASBE for the interim," said Liguori.

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