Tech Transfer Central

Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Format: On-Demand Video/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Price: $197
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With the passing of the SUCCESS Act (Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success) in October of 2018 and the release of the IPO’s Women in IP  Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit, as well as a report by the USPTO regarding the SUCCESS ACT, it looks like things are headed in the right direction – yet there’s so far to go.

For TTOs and universities in general, the benefits of inclusiveness and diversity are clear – more ideas emerge, more IP is created, and a wider swath of your community becomes part of the innovation ecosystem. Clearly encouraging a shift toward parity in research commercialization is more than just the societal right thing to do – it promotes economic growth. But how?

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has secured leaders from two of the most successful university programs designed to bolster inclusiveness and diversity for this strategy-filled, eye-opening webinar:

Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Please join Kathy Sohar, PhD, Director of the Women’s Collaboratory for Innovators with UF Innovate at the University of Florida, and Nichole Mercier, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis and the Managing Director of the Washington University Office of Technology Management.  These two dynamic leaders will discuss their respective programs, how they are bringing underserved communities to the commercialization table, and bringing positive change to their campuses — and how you can too. They will also address:

  • Gaining support from university administration
  • Engagement tips for reaching out to underserved populations on campus
  • Addressing bias: it’s not always obvious or purposeful
  • Barriers that can block the path to commercialization
  • Lessons learned and success stories
  • Review of the USPTO report regarding the state of the SUCCESS ACT
  • Overview of the IPO Women in IP Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit

Meet your panelists:

Kathy SoharKathy Sohar, PhD, is the Director of the UF Collaboratory for Women Innovators. Professionally, her experience spans both the public and private sectors, has a strong technology focus, and includes economic development, technology transfer, educational outreach, grant writing and administration. A seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in the innovation arena, Dr. Sohar was an early employee in two technology start-up companies (both acquired), managed a university emerging tech collaborative, and has served as an evaluator and best practice technical trainer for statewide grants. She is also the prior Assistant Director of technology incubatory UF Innovate-The Hub and co-founder of EWITS an experiential program designed to educate, inspire and empower women to pursue leadership roles in technology-based companies. She is the immediate past Chair for the AUTM Women’s Inventor Committee (WIC), whose mission is to increase women’s participation in the commercialization process, and the past Chair of the AUTM/WIC Metrics committee. In that role led the first baseline survey of university technology transfer offices regarding gender tracking, as well as successful follow up outreach/advocacy efforts to engage more universities to begin innovator gender tracking. She is also a mentor for Gainesville Girls Rock Camp, a week-long program that teaches girls aged 8-17 empowerment through music. She has won awards for her work on innovation projects and is a frequent guest speaker on innovation, entrepreneurship and gender panels.

Nichole MercierNichole Mercier, PhD, is an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Washington University in St. Louis and the Managing Director of the Office of Technology Management.  In this role, she sets the strategy for technology transfer at the University and oversees all operations relating to the licensing and protection of intellectual property assets.   Dr. Mercier originally joined OTM in 2005 as a member of the licensing team.  In addition to her licensing background, she developed and directed all educational outreach to the University community and instituted the Women in Innovation and Technology (WIT) Program so that her office could better engage female faculty and post-docs in technology transfer related activities.  Prior to joining Washington University, she worked as a licensing associate for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Intellectual Property Office and received her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  Dr. Mercier serves on several not-for-profit boards including Academic Venture Exchange, Midwest Research University Network, and the Balsa Group.  She also serves as a member of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

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