's professional and volunteer experience has focused on enhancing entrepreneurship in Chicago for three decades. Two key areas of interest have been early stage financing and teaching.
As the Larry Levy executive director of the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Ms. Darragh oversees one of four strategic initiatives at Kellogg. In this capacity, Darragh has updated and enhanced the curriculum, expanded the faculty and increased engagement opportunities for students and alumni. Darragh also teaches New Venture Development, which helps launch student businesses, as well as the Growth Strategy Practicum (capstone) course for the Executive MBA program.
As vice president of the Women's Business Development Center, she piloted innovative lending programs that created collaborations with foundations, banks and all levels of government. Ms. Darragh also organized Springboard: Mid-West, a nationally recognized investor forum for women entrepreneurs, in 2001 and 2003. The forums raised more than $85 million for participants. Another outcome of Springboard was the establishment of the Ceres Venture Fund in which she is an investor.
In 1999, Ms. Darragh started as an adjunct professor at Kellogg where she taught 'Women and Entrepreneurship' and then '462: Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formation'. She later became assistant director of entrepreneurship.
In 2006, Ms. Darragh became the director of entrepreneurial programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Ms. Darragh's accomplishments included organizing global alumni entrepreneurship immersion trips to India and China, launching the Global New Venture Challenge, leading the Exploring Entrepreneurship Series that culminated in annual conferences that highlighted local innovation in the areas of financial trading, education and food. She taught the New Venture Lab and Social Entrepreneurship Lab courses and was also a coach for the New Venture Challenge and the Social Venture Challenge.
Most recently, Ms. Darragh has focused her efforts on early stage financing in the realm of for-profit social ventures — impact investing. In collaboration with Professor Jamie Jones of Kellogg, they organized an 'Impact Investing' conference in 2011 and then launched Impact Engine, an accelerator for for-profit social ventures.
Ms. Darragh is an active member of the Chicago entrepreneurial community. She has been a long-time board member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center/1871.
In her free time, Ms. Darragh will be on the golf course, tennis or paddle tennis court, skiing or in her garden.
Kate Hardwick works as a program manager of Executive Education, offering specific plans and pathways for professional growth and functional development for individuals and teams as well as broader strategies for enterprise-wide executive development efforts.
As a program manager, she oversees all operations and logistics for a portfolio of these programs with special emphasis on global execution including Chicago, NYC, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Jakarta and Hong Kong. As an account manager, she also liaises with our global academic partners in arranging various certificate programs on our Evanston, Chicago and Miami campuses.