Almesha Campbell, PhD
Asst. VP for Research & Economic Dev./Director, Technology Transfer
Jackson State University
Almesha L. Campbell, PhD, is the Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Jackson State University. In this capacity, she supports the Vice President with overall responsibility for the Division of Research and Economic Development, which oversees grants and contracts, sponsored programs, research compliance, tech transfer, federal relations, and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
For more than 10 years, Almesha served as the Director for Tech Transfer at JSU. She provides strategic direction and vision for defining partnerships in commercialization and innovation initiatives between JSU and other institutions, funding agencies, and industry stakeholders. She is the PI for the NSF-funded JSU I-Corps Site and an NSF EAGER grant designed to help change the perception of underrepresented minorities in innovation and entrepreneurship. She was instrumental in the development of the newly established Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at JSU.
What experience do you have working on or with a strategic board of directors?
I have had the honor of serving on several boards, including Innovate Mississippi, The Bean Path, and Gallery One.
Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM.
I am currently a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee where I have contributed to the EDI column of the AUTM Insight, and serve as liaison between the EDI Committee and the Annual Meeting (specifically the Diversity Breakfast). I am also a member of the Women Inventors SIG, where I serve on two subcommittees, Best Practices and the Customer Discovery Task Force. These committees and groups have allowed me to interact with a diverse group of people and empowered me to share my perspectives and talents.
What motivates you to join the AUTM Board of Directors?
My service on the EDI Committee and WISIG have been enlightening, in that I recognize the general paucity of underrepresented minorities in the tech transfer space. The articulated goal of the Board, to increase AUTM’s diversity engagement, is also of great interest. For these reasons, and also for my own professional goal of contributing to and learning from very experienced colleagues, I decided to seek a position on the AUTM Board. I believe I can bring a unique perspective and as a Board member, will be more aptly positioned to effect change in the organization and pave new paths for future members of AUTM. Additionally, if I am to be true to my role on the EDI Committee, I must be motivated to contribute from the highest level of the organization. I believe that my unique perspective from a small TTO, at one of few Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) with a dedicated TTO, as well as the work I am doing in tech transfer, innovation, and entrepreneurship can add great value to the Board.
Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain.
Absolutely. I am a volunteer board member of The Bean Path, where I lead grant funding opportunities. I serve as the volunteer marketing leader for the board of Gallery One. Additionally, for over 10 years I have served as the youth leader for my church, the PR director, as well as on the scholarship committee for our district and Diocese.
AUTM has recently changed how the Chair is appointed each year, with the Chair now selected from amongst the sitting Board members each year. If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you further consider serving as Chair of the Board. Why or why not?
If I am fortunate enough to be elected by the Membership to the Board, I would gladly step up and serve the organization as Chair. I view this as service to the profession and a commitment to the organization's sustainability and integrity.
Please list specific personal strengths that you believe are valuable to the AUTM Board of Directors and/or the strategic direction of the Association?
My high integrity, solid communication skills, comprehensive knowledge and competencies in the R&D profession, strong organizational skills, hard work ethic and commitment to excellence.
What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan in other organizations?
My work in an academic setting has afforded multiple opportunities to participate in strategic planning, assessment processes, and in programmatic design and implementation. I recently served on the University's Strategic Planning Committee on the Academic and Research Sub-Committee, as well as co-chair of the SACSOC re-accreditation committee for the Governance Standards 3-5.
How does the three-year term for the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit in with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board?
I do not anticipate conflicts or issues with commitment if elected to the Board. I believe in the organization's mission, and I believe that my volunteer activities will help me to better carry out my work and family responsibilities.
AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both amongst the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area
As an 11-year employee of a HBCU, I understand well the challenges of underrepresented minorities in R&D. I have also built a solid network at HBCUs and continue to ensure the participation of their faculty and students in innovation and commercialization, particularly as the lead of EnRICH, a pre-accelerator program in partnership with the University of Kentucky Technology Commercialization Office and XLerateHealth. EnRICH allows me to reach faculty and students at 31 HBCUs (to be expanded to all 105 HBCUs next year).
Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote?
I am committed to developing a pathway for underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in tech transfer, which is why I designed the Innovation Fellows program and mentor students.