Meet Our Team
Office of Innovate Carolina
Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, UNC-Chapel Hill
A veteran of national and international entrepreneurship programming, former Kauffman Foundation executive Judith Cone brings extensive experience to drive UNC-Chapel Hill’s innovation agenda. Cone is vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. She leads Innovate Carolina, a pan-university commitment to being a place where innovators thrive. A main focus is on expeditious action to help solve the most pressing problems in North Carolina and around the world. She is a co-founder of Launch Chapel Hill, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network and Carolina Research Ventures.
Before coming to Carolina, Cone served as vice president of emerging strategies and entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, capping a 15-year career with the Foundation. During her tenure, Cone led many of the foundation’s signature education and entrepreneurship initiatives and programs, including a business startup training program that has been used worldwide by millions of entrepreneurs; an award-winning web resource for entrepreneurs; and the Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which has transformed the culture on university campuses by making entrepreneurship education accessible to students and faculty across all fields of study. As global ambassador for the Kauffman Foundation, Cone worked with leaders around the world to help transform economies.
For the previous 12 years, Cone co-founded two management consulting firms serving Fortune 500 clients. Her first career was as a learning disabilities teacher working with disadvantaged children in a low-income area, where she experienced first-hand the pervasive and devastating effects of poverty on children and families.
Cone writes and lectures nationally and internationally on entrepreneurship and innovation.
Director, Office of Social Innovation
Melissa Carrier is a professor of the practice in the Department of Public Policy and the director of the Office of Social Innovation at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the founder and former executive director of the Center for Social Value Creation at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Melissa joined the Smith School in the 2006 after a decade of leading organizational growth for technology companies. Before launching the Center for Social Value Creation in 2009, Melissa led venture investment programs at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. During this time, she noticed increasing student interest in working for and creating companies that address social and environmental issues through the tools of business. She created the Social Venture Consulting program, a platform for students to apply their skills in designing scalable solutions for nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. At the Center for Social Value Creation, Melissa led the Center’s strategic direction across co-curricular programs, curricula, research and career. In collaboration with the Provost’s office, Melissa led cross-campus initiatives to embed social entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and served as UMD’s Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Change Leader. Melissa taught undergraduate and graduate courses in social entrepreneurship and sustainability, receiving the Top 10% teaching award each year. She also served as Assistant Dean for the Office of Global Initiatives.
Melissa currently lives with her husband, three boys and flat-coated retriever in Raleigh, NC. She serves as a strategic consultant to corporations and universities including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Ohio State University and an MBA with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Social Innovation Initiatives Coordinator, Campus Y
Sista Jakelin “Jaki” Bonilla graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2012 with a major in Global Studies and a minor in Entrepreneurship. At UNC, she founded Linking Immigrants to New Communities, which helps ease the transition of recent immigrants through student interaction and awareness-raising in the community, and served on the UNC Emerging Communities Taskforce that established the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, dedicated to developing a greater awareness of Latina/o issues, cultures and identities. Jakelin also conducted ethnographic research and volunteered in Central and South America, served as co-chair of the Great Decisions Program, mentored in the Scholars Latino Initiative, and worked as a Senior Intern in the Bonners Leaders Program at the Campus Y. After graduating from UNC she served as the director of the Campus Y’s Global Gap Year Fellowship for three years before she was awarded the Henry Luce Scholarship and worked at the United Nations Official Migration Agency-International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Thailand. Jakelin has recently returned to the Campus Y to continue supporting students’ social justice and social innovation initiatives.
Near Peer Mentors
Near Peer Mentors are experienced student social entrepreneurs who support, mentor, and guide fellow student entrepreneurs through the social innovation process. Near Peer Mentors also serve as advocates for SI@UNC and connect students, the university and the surrounding community for meaningful impact.
Near Peer Mentor
Anum Imran ’21 is a rising junior double majoring in political science and statistics and analytics. She is co-founder and director of business development for Traditional Kitchens, a refugee women-led cooperative cookery in Chapel Hill.
Near Peer Mentor
Emily Kian ’20 is a rising senior studying Environmental Studies, Global Health, and Strategic Communication. In 2019, she made it to the final round of the Hult Prize competition with Phyta, a student-started business that combats global warming through temperate water seaweed farming. Aside from her professional ambitions, Emily works for My Name My Story, an education organization that hosts empathy workshops in high schools all over the country.
Near Peer Mentor
Angelina Patel ’21 is the founder of Kids Code, an Innovation Scholar and rising junior in computer science and economics. So far, she’s grown Kids Code from her hometown of Savannah to Chapel Hill and Durham.
Near Peer Mentor
Jane Tullis ’20 is a rising senior majoring in public policy. In 2018, she founded FairEd, a business dedicated to make the college admissions fair and accessible to all students. Jane also serves on UNC’s Student Government Executive Board and as a Legal Compliance Officer at UNC Press.
Get the latest news.
Sign up for the Innovate Carolina newsletter and get weekly updates on a wide variety of innovation and entrepreneurship activities, events and initiatives at UNC.