Office of Strategic Partnerships Update

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It is with mixed feelings that I share the news that UWM Chief Partnership Officer Jennifer Abele will make a professional transition to lead her new venture capital enterprise supporting women and undercapitalized founders. This change is effective at the end of this calendar year. I am exceptionally grateful for Jennifer’s four years of service as the inaugural leader of our Office of Strategic Partnerships, in which she established strong relationships and foundational components of our partnership structure. I wish her the best as she turns her focus to supporting and advancing leaders and am pleased that she will continue to champion the Milwaukee region.

We will conduct a national search in 2023 for our next permanent Chief Partnership Officer, after examining the ideal structure for our partnerships work – an area of rapid advancement and growth. We expect to launch a search for the permanent role in summer 2023.

In the meantime, I am pleased to announce that Director of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and President of the UWM Research Foundation Brian Thompson will serve as the Interim Director of Strategic Partnerships. He stepped into a similar role earlier in 2022 when Jennifer Abele took a leave of absence to work for City of Milwaukee then-Interim Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Brian brings 17 years of experience of advancing research, discoveries, and economic development at UWM. During this interim role, Brian will be on a leave of absence from the UWM Research Foundation. He will report directly to me and serve on the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet.

Several other institutional leaders will serve in supporting roles during this interim period, including Director of Corporate Relations Chris Menden in the Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) who coordinates interactions with companies like Microsoft; Associate Vice Chancellor Phyllis King who supports educational partnerships including M-Cubed, Moon Shot for Equity and the Higher Educational Regional Alliance; Chief of Staff Sue Weslow who will organize stewardship partnerships; and Director Keri Duce who will liaise with Brian on her work in external relations and government relations. Brian will serve as a coordinator for all these efforts, as well as lead the flagship initiatives in OSP that include the Connected Systems Institute, Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute and more.

Please join me in wishing Jennifer well in her new endeavors and congratulating Brian on his new interim appointment.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD