TechTown Detroit names Ilitch School Dean Virginia Kleist to new board of directors

TechTown Detroit has elected eight new talented business and community leaders to its Board of Directors for three-year terms.

“With a new year comes new opportunity, and we are thrilled to have these eight incredible individuals join our Board,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “We are so fortunate to have an organization that, from the very top, is comprised of talented leaders who not only live and breathe our mission of equitable economic development in Detroit, but who also represent our values of diversity and inclusion.”

The new members join TechTown at an exciting time for the nonprofit business service organization. Named a Crain’s Detroit Business Coolest Places to Work in 2022 and Best Managed Nonprofit in 2021, TechTown has experienced exponential growth in the last few years. In 2022, TechTown was awarded major grants from the Gilbert Family Foundation and the Build Back Better Regional Challenge for its Venture 313 and Global Epicenter of Mobility partnerships. The organization also launched its Catalyst Angel Program, recruiting 67 emerging investors who identify as Black and/or women from across the Great Lakes region to learn about expanding capital in the ecosystem. In 2022 alone, TechTown supported 749 entrepreneurs who created 94 new jobs and raised more than $34,092,045 in startup and growth capital.

About new board member Virginia Kleist, dean, Mike Ilitch School of Business

Virginia Kleist became dean of the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business in 2022. Kleist came to Wayne State from West Virginia University, where she served as the associate dean of graduate programs, research and academic affairs and as a professor of management information systems within the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. Previously, she served as director of the M.B.A./M.S. in management information systems dual degree program at the University of Pittsburgh. Kleist is a three-time Fulbright Specialist award winner, having taught in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and Ufa, Russia, for two of those awards. Before her academic career, Kleist spent 10 years in telecommunications network management at PNC, Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation, Joy Technologies and GTE (now Verizon). Kleist holds a Ph.D. and master’s in MIS and a master’s in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. from Marquette University. She did her undergraduate work in economics and history at Duke University.

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