Co-founder and CEO — Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL)
Jill Johnson is the Co-founder/CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL). She has over 30 years of experience as a business strategist with expertise in financial analysis, marketing, and business development. She is a strong believer in the value of community businesses and a champion for Women of Color entrepreneurs who have the potential to grow, scale, and exit. She is an advocate for inclusion within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and recently launched a groundbreaking initiative to promote diversity and inclusion within the angel investing sector. Ms. Johnson is an expert moderator and a speaker on topics including: community economic development, business plan development, entrepreneurship, minority and women small business growth, and access to capital.
Ms. Johnson started her career as a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co in mergers and acquisitions where she worked across industries groups to help clients execute deals at a minimum transaction value of $100 million. Following her time at Goldman, Sachs, she joined the family business, City News Publishing Company. There she was responsible for advertising, sales and strategic partnerships for YES Magazine, a national youth magazine circulated in schools and organizations in over 30 states. After being promoted to Associate Publisher of YES Magazine, she added production oversight to her list of management responsibilities. In her next professional experience and immediately prior to launching IFEL, Ms. Johnson was the President of On Point Consulting, a strategic business planning consultancy. In that capacity she advised early stage businesses through a variety of strategic planning and growth issues.
In her capacity as CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Ms. Johnson is responsible for the strategic direction of the organization and capacity building. She is especially focused on creating earned revenue opportunities and strategic partnerships. She has led the organization in successfully winning contracts with the New Jersey Department of Labor, the Newark Urban Enterprise Zone, Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and Greater Newark LISC to provide entrepreneurial training and support services.
Ms. Johnson is a member of the National Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NCEI) Entrepreneurship Council and the Excelsior Growth Fund Advisory Board. In the past, she served on the Red Tape Commission created by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and was an appointee of Mayor Cory Booker to the Board of Trustees of the Newark Public Library. She was also a co-chair of the South Orange Main Street Economic Development Committee.
Ms. Johnson has a B.A. in economics from Harvard University and is married with four amazing sons.