Renee Kelly is assistant vice president for innovation and economic development for the University of Maine. She serves as a liaison to the state’s economic development community and identifies opportunities for the University to partner with national, state, regional and local organizations to improve Maine’s economy. In addition, she leads the University’s entrepreneurship and innovation support activities including the Foster Center for Student Innovation, which helps students become innovators and entrepreneurs. Ms. Kelly leads UMaine’s efforts in the Innovation Engineering Institute, a collaboration to commercialize its Innovation Engineering curriculum with education institutions worldwide.
Ms. Kelly was a founding member of the leadership team for the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative in Maine, which recently transitioned to Maine Accelerates Growth. This initiative seeks to create a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation in Maine that connects high potential growth companies to each other and provides the resources, talent and networks they need to prosper and transform our economy. As part of this effort, Ms. Kelly led the creation of the Innovate for Maine Fellows program, which was given the Maine Development Foundation’s Champion for Attraction, Retention and Engagement award.
Prior to joining the university, she developed training products for Manpower of Connecticut, worked for a financial services start-up company in San Diego, CA and served as an aide to then U.S. Representative Olympia J. Snowe. She received her A.B. from Smith College and her M.A. from the University of Maine. She has served on the boards of several economic development and service organizations, including recently completing a term as a trustee for the Maine Rural Development Authority and serving as the current board chair for the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.