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Michelle Cote, Top 25 Women in Business 2022 Honoree

Michelle Cote Employer: Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Title: Instructor, Director of Strategic Partnership Check out all of the WIB honorees here!
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In her role at the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UConn’s School of Business, Michelle Cote helps students and faculty start and grow new companies. In 2016, Cote was asked to develop a strategy to make Hartford a visible and vibrant hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

She assembled a coalition of over 30 local corporations, colleges and universities, and community organizations that committed to make Hartford the best place on the East Coast to start or scale a business. Cote also serves as director for that effort, known as Launc[H].

Q: What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Working with tremendously talented and committed members of this community to form Launc[H] is an opportunity that I continue to be grateful for. The role pushes me to continue to grow.

Q: What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

I’d love to document some of the insights that I’ve gained through my work in Hartford and share them more broadly. Our community has a lot to be proud of, and a lot that others can learn from. Helping to elevate our city’s recognition and reputation would be a thrill.

Q: What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

Learning to recover from failures big and small has been a big professional challenge for me. I’ve had to reframe falling short of my expectations as a first attempt in learning. I’ve worked to understand that taking the leap under uncertain odds has to be considered the true win.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

The last two years have helped me strengthen my innovation muscle. Proven strategies for communication, making new connections and community building changed overnight. So, I have had to build experiments to deal with imperfect information, practice prioritizing and re-prioritizing, and ask for help a lot.

Q: What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over?

I would love to contribute to a mindset of continuous improvement based on a sense of possibility, instead of negativity. Dreaming big is easy to do. Staying present with the positive is sometimes more difficult.

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