Cleveland Justis
Staff Profile

Cleveland Justis
Executive Director, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Cleveland Justis brings more than 20 years of experience building successful private companies and nonprofits to his role as executive director of the 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. 

He oversees the institute’s diverse programs, including entrepreneurship academies, the Big Bang! Business Competition, the Business Development Fellows program, Angels on Campus, undergraduate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Workshops and the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center.

Justis has worked and consulted widely throughout numerous businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations, including the Potrero Group, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, National Park Service and many leading corporations.

He is the co-founder and former director of the Institute at the Golden Gate, and previously served as executive director of the Headlands Institute in Sausalito, Calif. He is the board chair of the Marin Community Foundation, and formerly served on the board of directors of Net Impact, a 15,000-member international network that employs business to generate social change, and as a commissioner of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission. In 2010 Justis received the Distinguished Service Award from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Alumni Association.

Justis has taught and lectured at the Graduate School of Management—where he developed a course in social entrepreneurship that resulted in numerous successful student startups—as well as at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Georgetown University.

He received his MBA from the Graduate School of Management in 2005, and is pursuing his Ph.D. at UC Davis.

An avid windsurfer, skier, sailor and outdoor adventurer, Justis has led trips in remote areas of Alaska, Mexico, Chile and the U.S. His primary passion is spending time (preferably outdoors) with his children.