Having experienced the empowerment of entrepreneurship first hand,
Julie Lenzer Kirk is tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and focused on igniting innovation-based cultures while bringing together entrepreneurial ecosystems to drive economic change. She is currently the Executive Director for the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.She is also co-chair of Startup Maryland.
Ms. Kirk co-founded the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010 as a nonprofit that develops and delivers innovative programs to expand economic opportunity for women through entrepreneurship. This passion was fueled from six years instructing the internationally-acclaimed ACTiVATE® program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), which the Center has now taken over to expand internationally. Through this program, which was named “Best Specialty Entrepreneurship Program” by the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Julie is expanding her proven “Boot in the Butt” facilitation process to accelerate women’s business and leadership growth, resulting in expanded opportunities for them as well as the communities they serve.The ACTiVATE program is one of the entrepreneurial programs being offered through the MCE as catalyst for economic growth as Julie remains active at the Path Forward Center as a volunteer board member.
Ms. Kirk founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in 1995 as an IT solutions firm focusing on manufacturing operations and inventory control. With Fortune 500 clients, she grew the company to multi-millions in revenues, winning several national awards for workplace excellence. Through her 10-year leadership, ACT developed and commercialized ACTrax , a leading-edge production and warehouse management system, for which she negotiated the sale in 2005.
Ms. Kirk is an award winning entrepreneur receiving the Athena Award in 2004 as recognition for her contributions to other business women and the community and was named to Maryland's Top 100 Women 2005 and 2008 sponsored by The Daily Record. She is a member of the Life Sciences Advisory Board of Astia,
a charter member of the Startup America Partnership's women's entrepreneurship working group, a member of the steering committee for the We Own It Summit, and on the advisory board several start-up companies.
She is also a part chair of the DC Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
A requested speaker across 4 continents in what has been heralded as “life changing” keynotes and workshops, Ms. Kirk’s approaches to leadership, innovation, and success are inspiring and uniquely engaging. She is frequently quoted in the media – from Entrepreneur to Redbook and Family Circle Magazines - and having appeared in numerous broadcast interviews, she also writes a column for Enterprising Women Magazine. Her book, "The ParentPreneur
Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business"
(John Wiley & Sons), which shares business tips and advice for starting, growing, and running a business using parenting metaphors, is available online on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.
Ms. Kirk graduated from Texas A&M University
with a B.S. in Computer Science and participates in and leads
numerous community organizations and events. She currently resides
in the Baltimore / Washington D.C. metro area with her husband and two very active teenage daughters.
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