Meet our CEO
Visionary Leader, Small Business Champion, Inclusion Advocate
Jill Johnson is the Co-founder/CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL). She has nearly 30 years of experience as a business strategist with expertise in financial analysis, marketing, and business development. She is an advocate for community businesses and microenterprise, and is a leading authority in the area of minority inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Jill is a speaker on topics including: community economic development, business plan development, entrepreneurship, minority and women small business growth, and access to capital.
Meet the Board
Not attending college, the odds were not necessarily in my favor. Being born and raised in Newark, I developed the resiliency to not give up. It's easy to give up when you don't have a lot of resources. If we can empower more people with the tools they need and help them to not give up, we can have a huge impact.
I see how hard entrepreneurs who have significant resources have to work to be successful. I want to make sure that those who don't, have a shot to make it as well. Much of my success comes from networking. The IFEL community is so vast and wide; it is an invaluable resource for any small business owner to get connected to networks of influence.
Just out of college I opened a bookstore. It was a tremendous community asset, but the economics just weren't there. I made every mistake in the book, just because I didn't know what I didn't know. I think about how things might have been different if I had a resource like IFEL back then. My goal is to help others have the opportunity for success that I didn't.
I believe emerging and established small businesses are part of the backbone of our country and I am happy to work with an organization that supports entrepreneurship, now regionally, and eventually nationally.
Pasquale (Pat) Nocito
When I was a banker I spent a lot of time explaining why we couldn't help people. As a member of the IFEL Community, I get to share resources that help them succeed and give them hope. It feels so much more rewarding.
Supporting small business creation and growth has always been a passion of mine, especially giving an opportunity to those with less means to get started. As a tech entrepreneur, I love being able to impact the non-tech businesses that are needed to build thriving communities that become the organic incubators for tech businesses to thrive.
As an entrepreneur from a young age, the mission resonates with me. Entrepreneurship and small business ownership enable people to chart their own course. IFEL enables people, regardless of their level of resource, to access the tool required to make the journey.