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Spotlight: Q&A with Megan Wallace, Associate Director of Business Development for LINK: Center for Advancing Partnerships, Washington D.C. area, LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH

Megan Wallace portrait.
Megan Wallace.

Megan Wallace says she’s at her best when the work is clearly aligned with LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH’s strategic goals and objectives, has a clear path forward, and metrics to prove success. She feels supported in her role because her team members are also dedicated to the work and help each other to be successful.

How does your background contribute to where you are right now in your career?

I have over 15 years of experience in higher education, information technology strategy consulting, and sales, which have allowed me to develop a unique skill set and perspective that I can apply to my current role. I enjoy building mutually beneficial strategic partnerships and I am passionate about identifying opportunities for industry to engage with higher education institutions; both emerge stronger because of the collaboration.

My time in industry gave me an understanding of how organizations function and how to work with the people within them. To be a successful consultant, one must understand client needs, cultivate lasting strategic relationships, and work with diverse stakeholders. The same is true in my current position in the LINK: Center for Advancing Industry Partnerships.

In my previous roles in higher education, I worked at the intersection of the student and alumni experience serving as a liaison between internal and external stakeholders. This included building engagement programs, cultivating relationships, and identifying opportunities for partnerships between industry and the academy.  This is directly applicable to the work I do for LINK which primarily involves working with organizations to discover partnership opportunities with Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and other university strategic initiatives. I focus on providing value to companies and creating multi-faceted and long-term engagements with the university through a variety of opportunities including, but not limited to sponsored research, experiential learning, and inclusion and diversity programs.

Megan in front of a Hokie statue.
A Hokie at heart.

What support do you provide for the research community?

My role is to connect the research community with our philanthropic partners. The first step is understanding the big, innovative ideas of the research community. The next step is finding industry partners who want to collaborate with Virginia Tech and invest their resources. Both the Virginia Tech research community and the organizations benefit from bringing their great minds together to solve problems that matter.

How has COVID-19 positively impacted the way you do your job today?

I was originally one of the few remote members on the LINK team, being strategically located in the Washington, D.C. metro area to leverage the strong alumni network and extensive industry partner community. The only drawback to this was my physical distance from the team in Blacksburg. Now that we are all working virtually, we are more thoughtful and intentional about how to stay connected and engaged with each other and with our external partners through the various virtual channels we have available.

Megan with her son, William.
Wallace finds inspiration in her son William.

What inspires you?

Historically, I have been motivated by making processes and procedures more effective and efficient, which is why I enjoyed my time as a consultant. I am also motivated to ensure students have the resources they need to pursue their education and post college goals. However, most recently, my inspiration has come from my one year old son. His curiosity, development, and constant motion keep me energized and smiling.

When do you think you are at your best, professionally?

I am at my best professionally when the work I am doing is clearly aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, has a clear path forward, and metrics to prove success. It also helps when I am working with a cohesive team that is dedicated to the work we are doing and helping each other to be successful. These are clear traits of my current colleagues that make up LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH.

In what ways does Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community guide you?

It is in LINK’s DNA to enable big ideas that directly support learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. As a connection point to the university, I keep the principles of community at the forefront of my work each day.  

NASA photo.
During the National Association of Colleges and Employers conference in 2016, Wallace coordinated a keynote session for University of Richmond alumni and former astronaut Leland Melvin to share his experiences at NASA and the current initiatives he is working on in support of STEM education activities. Pictured: Wallace with members of her previous University of Richmond Alumni and Career Services employer development team and Leland Melvin during an exclusive reception with employer partners and alumni in Chicago.

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