Linda Darragh's professional and volunteer experience has focused on enhancing entrepreneurship in Chicago for four decades. In 2018, she was awarded the 'Entrepreneurial Champion Award' by 1871 and in 2021 received the Richard J. Daley award from the Illinois Venture Capital Association for an individual who has given direct and extraordinary support to the State of Illinois by participating in or being an advocate for the venture capital and private equity industry.
As the Larry Levy Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Darragh rebuilt the entrepreneurship program at Kellogg. Darragh updated and enhanced the curriculum, expanded the faculty and increased engagement opportunities for students and alumni. Darragh retired from this position in the fall of 2021 but will continue to teach a course on global entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Previously, Darragh was the Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at the Booth School of Business. Darragh taught several courses and coached for the New Venture Challenge and Social Venture Challenge, and launched the Global New Venture Challenge.
Darragh started her academic career in 1999 as an adjunct professor at Kellogg and later became Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship.
Darragh has always explored new avenues to bring together the Chicago entrepreneurial ecosystem to create avenues of opportunity, investment and community engagement. As the Finance Director of the Women’s Business Development Center, she organized Springboard: Mid-West 2001 and 2003, a nationally recognized investor forum for women entrepreneurs. The forums raised more than $85 million for participants. In 2011, through a Kellogg – Booth partnership, Darragh organized the first Impact Investment conference in Chicago and then launched Impact Engine as a for-profit social impact accelerator. Impact Engine has since grown into an impact venture capital and private equity firm investing in companies and funds that align financial and social returns. Darragh serves as a board member.
Darragh has been a long-time board member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center/1871 and a board member for the Golden Apple Foundation and Injustice Watch. In 2021, she received the ‘Legacy Award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.
Darragh is blessed to have a wonderful husband, Alex, three children, their spouses and three grandchildren. In her free time, Ms. Darragh will be on the golf course or paddle tennis court or in her garden.