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Associate Director of Investor & Entrepreneurial Engagement- University at Buffalo

About University Advancement

UB is a premier, research-intensive public university known for its academic excellence. Driven by our vision—UB 2020—to be counted among the nation’s leading and most distinctive public research universities, a new University at Buffalo is emerging. Building strong connections with our alumni and donors worldwide is critical to our success; the Division of University Advancement is leading the effort. We are creating a new UB environment that broadens opportunities for alumni engagement, capitalizes on positive student experiences and builds philanthropic support specifically for the Boldly Buffalo fundraising campaign.The goal to reach $650 million in support of this university-wide effort is the focus of our division and the guidepost for engagement.

About Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships

The University at Buffalo’s Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships is helping transform the economy of Buffalo Niagara, New York State and beyond by helping UB achieve its full impact as a major economic engine.

The University at Buffalo’s Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships (BEP), a unit of the Division of Research and Economic Development, works to support and grow the regional innovation economy by serving as a bridge that connects academia and industry. It creates and maximizes partnerships to commercialize new technology; advance existing technology; grow existing and start-up businesses; and provide pathways for experiential student learning and employment. UB’s investment in fostering local companies will bolster Buffalo’s reputation as one of the country’s most entrepreneurial cities. The research and work being done in Buffalo through these businesses will help solve current and future problems leading to local, national and global impact.

Position Summary:

UB’s inaugural Associate Director of Investor and Entrepreneurial Engagement (the “Associate Director”) will support the engagement goals of both the Office of Alumni and Engagement and the Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships specifically to advance the growth of the regional innovation economy.This is a unique and exciting opportunity to make a tangible impact on the Buffalo community and to be a key contributor in promoting entrepreneurial activities and programs among local entrepreneurs and the UB alumni population.A successful candidate will have the ability to identify, attract and connect the business resources necessary to support the commercialization of new ideas and technology generated at UB, ensuring that BEP is positioned to support the programs and initiatives in place to strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and improve the climate for business innovation.

The position calls for a strategic thinker with an understanding of the entrepreneurial atmosphere, in order to connect with and attract a diverse group of alumni that have technical knowledge, startup/business expertise, integrity, and a passion for learning/sharing ideas.The Associate Director’s primary objective will be to identify and recruit alumni from diverse backgrounds ranging from technology, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, chemistry etc. to support innovation outcomes.The main focus of this role will be linking alumni who have had entrepreneurial success (startups or within larger organizations), have deep technical knowledge (Subject Matter Experts), investment experience in disruptive technologies/startups, considerable market knowledge in one field or another, or a unique combination of the above, to the entrepreneurs and startups supported by BEP.Once these connections are made, the Director will be responsible for further cultivating and expanding upon these relationships to promote the continued success of the program.

The Associate Director will have a dual reporting relationship to the Executive Director of Alumni Engagement and the Director of Start-up Ventures.

The Associate Director will be a key player in the university’s entrepreneurial initiatives supported by a five-year $32 million dollar award provided by NYS Empire State Development.


An important part of making UB a more vital and impactful resource is challenging traditional boundaries between what has traditionally been the university and what has been the outside business community.The Associate Director will be responsible for encouraging people outside of the university (primarily alumni) to consider how they can lend their expertise and experience to support the commercialization of new ideas generated at UB.To do this, the Associate Director will:

  • Establish a philosophy and framework for connecting with alumni and other external business resources (EBRs), such as business leaders, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and entrepreneurs to understand their expertise, aspirations, and time commitments, in order to explore the most appropriate opportunities to align them with.
    • Opportunities for alumni and EBRs to partner with UB include:
      • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):
      • Investment Advisory Committee members
      • Co-founders of new technology
      • Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs)
      • Mentors
  • In collaboration with the Alumni Engagement and BEP teams, manage a portfolio of alumni and other EBRs moving them through a cycle of engagement, from solicitation, onto stewardship, to sustained and increased engagement/contributions to BEP.
  • Work with the Associate VP of Economic Development and the Director of Startup Ventures to define key performance indicators to achieve objectives.Track and report milestones.
  • Participate in new business meetings and other business development marketing and communications efforts led by the BEP team and Alumni Engagement in order to align messaging and department efforts.
  • Work with colleagues in University Advancement and the Blackstone Launchpad to coordinate outreach and engagement efforts in building and managing networks.
  • Through engagement and communications efforts, initiate widespread deployment of BEP’s purpose and mission to help turn more ideas into businesses that will create jobs, economic activities, and life-changing innovations.
  • Serve as a liaison between the BEP and the EBRs to help them collaborate, innovate and grow together. Help to create a place for mutual improvement and business idea exchange among EBRs and the entrepreneurs.
  • Attend conferences and events to further broaden network of contacts in this space.
  • Partner with key internal stakeholders to better understand the UB environment and to make the appropriate connections between UB and the outside resources and entrepreneurs.
  • Identify, cultivate and move prospects along in the donor continuum with a goal of seeking support for BEP and the Economic Development Center.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Actively engage in diversity efforts, understanding how diversity impacts the role, and how the role impacts the success of the diversity initiatives of the Alumni Office, the BEP and university as a whole.
  • Develop programs that attract, retain, and motivate alumni and other external resources, to ensure they are engaged and fulfilled in their contributions to the BEP, including:
  • Organizing events to bring leaders together / attract EBRs;
    • Understanding the EBRs interests and expertise to offer local opportunities for educational development and entertainment;
    • Being a local resource and providing the utmost in customer care to the EBRs.
  • Lead the partnership between the BEP and the business/entrepreneurial community to create an environment of a unified vision, transparency and trust.
  • Establish a practice of celebrating successes, sharing credit across the team, and reflect on the things that need improvement, while adjusting along the way.
  • Document contacts and strategies through the Advance Web database, Reeher platform and BEP tracking systems.
  • Actively participate as a full member of both the University Advancement staff as well as the BEP staff, attending team meetings, alumni officer meetings, professional development activities, and other staff meetings as appropriate.

Reporting Relationships:

The Associate Director has a dual reporting relationship to the Director, Start-up Ventures, and the Executive Director of Alumni Engagement.


The Associate Director will partner with and complement the activities of the alumni engagement team and will actively participate in supporting the vision and strategy for the university alumni engagement and BEP programs.

Within University Advancement, the Associate Director works closely with colleagues in Alumni Engagement, and partners with colleagues in Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations and Stewardship, Donor and Alumni Communications and Prospect Research.The Associate Director collaborates with other alumni officers across the university and with school/unit based advancement staff. The Associate Director also will work closely with alumni and other external business resources to fulfill the expectations of the role.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Minimum of 6-8 years working in the entrepreneurial/startup community, alumni engagement, capital campaigns, and/or major gift initiatives.
  • Understanding of startup culture, funding, and where to find mentors, connectors, and resources desired.
  • Ability to influence and educate leaders/entrepreneurs about the local and national entrepreneurial environment
  • Superior presentation, public speaking, and business management skills
  • Self-motivated, entrepreneurial, mission-driven, and a team player
  • Demonstrated commitment to building diverse teams and an inclusive environment
  • Significant interpersonal skills and the ability to show up, listen, be present, and stay authentic
  • Ability to effectively manage change and smoothly shift responsibilities; highly effective in ambiguous environments and able to produce maximum results with little direction or guidance.
  • Ability to leverage external and internal resources and a people network to execute quickly, effectively and consistently in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.
  • Strong decision-making and problem-solving; proven research skills to gather data, best practices, and points of view to ensure sound judgment.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree preferred.
  • A working knowledge of marketing and public relations a plus
  • Experience in entrepreneur activity or programs

Catapult has been retained to conduct the search for UB

Please email your resume to AND apply directly at UB jobs to be considered for the position.