Research News

Vanderbilt’s Donna Ingles named to prestigious Harvard leadership program to advance Nashville’s biomedical sector

Donna Ingles (Vanderbilt University)

Donna Ingles, director of operations for the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, has been named to the 2024 Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School by the Global Action Platform.

Ingles is among 10 Middle Tennessee leaders chosen for an intensive workshop this summer, which aims to create a biomedical economic development strategy for the region using cluster models devised by Harvard economist Michael Porter. The leaders represent corporate, academic, government and nonprofit organizations.

“I’m honored by the opportunity to be part of this program and look forward to continuing to expand Vanderbilt’s cross-sector collaborative engagement and leadership,” Ingles said. “One of the recent cohorts leveraged this experience to secure a $1 million workforce development grant. We’ll be learning from and building upon their success.”

The program’s objective is to cultivate a dynamic network of Nashville leaders who can collaborate across traditional boundaries to promote prosperity and inclusive growth for all residents.

Porter’s cluster model concept emphasizes that geographically concentrated businesses and institutions in a shared industry can significantly boost regional economic development by enhancing productivity, innovation and business creation.

Based on research by the Global Action Platform, improvements in workforce skills, education and infrastructure are lagging, potentially leading to economic disparities in the U.S., especially among working-class and middle-class Americans.

Nashville’s robust biomedical community spans various fields, including medical research, health care technology, pharmaceuticals and patient care. Developing a biomedical cluster strategy is crucial for addressing U.S. competitiveness on the global stage.

“There is incredible potential for Nashville to become a powerhouse of innovation in the biomedical arena and to make true progress toward a more inclusive economy that benefits our entire region,” Ingles said. “Investing time and resources to unite leaders from multiple sectors to develop and refine mutually beneficial strategies is key to achieving this goal.”

The Young American Leaders Program brings together leaders from 14 U.S. cities to foster community prosperity through cross-sector collaboration. Participating cities include Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Previous Vanderbilt faculty and staff who have participated in the program include:

  • Mario Avila, assistant professor of the practice, Owen Graduate School of Management (2016)
  • Samar Ali, research professor of political science, College of Arts and Science (2017)
  • Caroline Randall Williams, writer in residence of medicine, health and society, College of Arts and Science (2017)
  • Alex Jahangir, professor of orthopaedic surgery, School of Medicine (2018)
  • Nathan Green, vice chancellor for government and community relations (2019)
  • Bonnie Dow, professor of communication studies, dean of academic affairs and vice dean, College of Arts and Science (2021)
  • Charleson Bell, research assistant professor of biomedical engineering, School of Engineering, and director of entrepreneurship and biomedical innovation at the Wond’ry (2022)
  • George Wilson, assistant director of new venture programs at the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (2022)
  • Chris Rowe, executive director for industry collaborations, Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation (2023)

Ingles joins this distinguished group, poised to contribute significantly to Nashville’s biomedical sector and broader economic development.