Lesa Mitchell is a vice president with the Kauffman Foundation. She has been responsible for the Foundation’s frontier work in understanding the policy levers that influence the advancement of innovation from universities into the commercial market and the new relationships between disease philanthropy and for profit companies.

Under Mitchell’s leadership, the Foundation is defining and codifying alternative commercialization pathways, and identifying new models to foster innovation. Mitchell was instrumental in the founding of the Kauffman Innovation Network/ iBridge Network, the Translational Medicine Alliance, the National Academies-based University–Industry Partnership and leader in the replication of innovator-based mentor programs across the U.S. In addition, Mitchell serves on the boards of Gazelle Growth in Denmark, the University of Kansas Institute for Commercialization and is an advisor to the Institute for Pediatric Innovation.

Prior to joining Kauffman, Mitchell spent twenty years of her career in global executive roles at Aventis, Quintiles, and Marion Laboratories and ran an electronic clinical trials consulting business in support of global pharmaceutical clients.