Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship serves as the nexus for entrepreneurship education and research—and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives on the UC Davis campus.
To accomplish this, the institute brings science, engineering and business students and faculty together with experienced entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in an highly collaborative environment that blends effective theory with hands-on participation and solution-driven innovation.
Under the direction of Professor Andrew Hargadon, the institute provides researchers, MBA students and others with the necessary skills, resources and network support to turn their ideas into action. Whether for profit or for social benefit—or both—the institute’s programs enable students to envision a better world and make it a reality.
Brad Gersich represents both emerging and sophisticated private companies, and helps them manage their complex businesses, secure equity and debt financing and complete strategic business combinations. He also assists venture capital firms, family offices and angel investors evaluate, structure and complete investments in promising early-stage companies.
Jenna Makus oversees the operations, communications and program planning at the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Before joining the Institute, she worked with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Career Services to implement their MBA Accelerator database, and served as a program manager for the School’s Executive Education. Makus earned her UC Davis MBA in 2006. During her time as an MBA student, she was involved in many activities related to the Institute, including serving as the Big Bang!
Cleveland Justis brings more than 20 years of experience building successful private companies and nonprofits to his role as executive director of the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Justis leads the institute’s strategic direction, program development, fundraising and relations with relevant academic programs at UC Davis as well as its growing network of partners, donors and sponsors across universities, corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, foundations, and state and federal policy makers.
Niki Peterson believes in being the change one longs to see in the world.
Leigh Ann Hartman joined the Graduate School of Management as the Senior Director of Development in June 2012 and was promoted to Executive Director in July 2015. As leader of the Development and External Relations team, she is responsible for building and fostering relationships with GSM alumni, business partners, donors and friends of the University in an effort to strengthen the GSM network, increase public awareness of the School’s programs, and secure the maximum amount of private financial support in order to meet the School’s goals.
Professor of Technology Management / Charles J. Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship / Founder and Director, UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship / Founding Director, UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center
UC Davis MBA students experience firsthand what it takes for an idea to become a product in the market. They emerge having actually built businesses from the ground up, and developed close and lasting relationships with faculty, their peers and the entrepreneurial community both on and off the campus.