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Meet our Mentors

Russ Lea

Cureworks, Seattle Children's, Deputy Director

Programs: NSF I-Corps


Industry experience

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Environment

Areas of expertise

  • New business development
  • Project management
  • Environmental policy
  • Proposal writing
  • Strategic planning


Russ is a leader and influencer with over 25 years of experience in R&D operations, intellectual property management, and business development roles within the educational, health care, environmental, and private sectors. He works to positively influence long-term organizational goals by leading dynamic teams from 20 to 200 individuals, communicating effectively with international corporate leaders (ESRI, Google, MicroSoft, SAS, BP, Dole, etc.), managing budgets in excess of $120 million per year, and anticipating future consequences and trends (energy, environmental, social, and economic) and incorporating them into the organizational plan. Russ has expertise in sourcing, creating, developing, and maximizing revenue through strategic partnerships and innovative programs with nonprofits, corporations, citizen science institutions (National Arboretum, NC Museum of Science, Forest History Society), and NGOs. He supports business growth and operational maturity by converting complex issues to fundamentals, creating blueprints for profitability, and implementing systems to deliver measurable results and a sustainable competitive advantage.