Cleveland Justis, an accomplished organizational leader with more than two decades of experience, has been named executive director of the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He started this week.
“We’re very excited to have Cleve join us,” said Andrew Hargadon, a professor at UCD’s Graduate School of Management and the founder and faculty director of the institute. “His deep experience building both successful private companies and nonprofits provides a strong foundation for his leadership as the institute enters an exciting new phase.”
The Child Family Institute serves as a nexus for entrepreneurship education and research and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives at UCD. Its programs bring science, engineering and business students and faculty together with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in an environment that blends effective theory, hands-on participation and need-driven innovation.
The institute is a Center of Excellence at the Graduate School of Management.
Justis will lead and manage the institute, with responsibility for strategic direction, program development, fundraising and relations with relevant academic programs at UCD as well as the institute’s growing network of partners, donors and sponsors across universities, corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, foundations, and state and federal policymakers.
He will oversee the institute’s diverse programs, including its entrepreneurship academies, the Big Bang! Business Competition, the Business Development Fellows program, Angels on Campus, undergraduate Innovation & Entrepreneurship Workshops and the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center.
“The Child Family Institute does important work leveraging the immense intellectual, research and business assets of UC Davis and the Graduate School of Management,” Justis said.
“Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand the power of entrepreneurship to create jobs, spur innovation and make the world a better place. I’m honored to be chosen to lead the institute to its next level of impact and success.”
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, part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Under his leadership, the organization won California’s most prestigious environmental award, the Governor’s Award for Economic and Environmental Leadership. Previously, Justis was the executive director of the Headlands Institute in Sausalito.
He has taught and lectured at top universities, including the UCD 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.
Justis serves as the board chair of the Marin Community Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community foundations with more than $1.5 billion in assets. He 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 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the UCD Graduate School of Management Alumni Association.
Justis studied biology and environmental sciences at Swarthmore College and UC Berkeley. He received his MBA in strategic management and finance at UCD in 2004, and is pursuing his doctoral degree here.
— UC Davis News