Welcome to this edition of Catalyst and thank you for your continued membership, partnership, and support. The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition and the Institute, even through these extraordinary times, have continued to lead in strengthening the state’s innovation economy through its powerful data collection and reporting, policy advocacy, education and impactful programs because you believe in our mission and its importance to our state and our collective success. We are ALL catalysts, conveners and champions and I deeply appreciate all of you.



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When multiple people in my network sent me the CEO job description for the Coalition and the Institute, they knew it was perfect for me, and so did I. I have spent my entire life in STEM. I started my career in nursing and moved into technology where I’ve been an executive leader in digital media, education, entertainment, big data and healthcare. I am a serial entrepreneur, enthusiastically curious and solutions driven. I sit on several boards committed to STEM education, women’s economic empowerment, entrepreneurism and equity. My experience, my passion for STEM, my relationships and my commitment to the innovation economy of my state will make me a good CEO, but where I go from here will hopefully make me a great CEO and I’m thankful you are on this journey with me.

This truly is a journey of discovery and endless possibilities. I have a very talented team and the current work we do is necessary and powerful, and we will continue with this impactful work, but our continued success comes through addressing and supporting the complicated challenges we face in our state with new innovative solutions and partnerships.

I’ve been the CEO for just over a month and already, with my exceptional team, we have created new partnerships, been presented with new opportunities and are developing new impactful programs. Some have excited us, some have surprised us, but isn’t that what innovation is all about?

I’m thoughtfully asked about my strategy for both organizations and the vision is becoming clearer every day, but what I do know is that I develop everything through an equity framework. It’s foundational to my team, our board, and our work. It’s also critical for our members and our state’s success. As we create our equity framework, I invite all of you to join us in creating the strategies needed to support more diverse, inclusive and equitable companies and a stronger state economy, expanding opportunity for all.

As we all continue to navigate through the challenges and complexities of this year, I wish each and every one of you continued health surrounded by moments of joy.

I’m excited about what lies ahead.


Colleen D. Egan

President & CEO

Listen to our interview with Colleen on The State of Innovation podcast, through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Podbean.