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JFK University Names New Director of Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership

November 12, 2014
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PLEASANT HILL, CA – John F. Kennedy University President Dr. Mac Powell has announced the appointment of Les Schmidt as Executive Director of the University’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (IEL). Schmidt succeeds Dr. Raul Deju, Founding IEL director, who is retiring as of the end of 2014.

Schmidt has a long history of service to education and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an experienced entrepreneur and leader with experience across many industries, stages of companies, and educational organizations. Schmidt led two companies to their Initial Public Offering and raised substantial capital for others. As a member of the Keiretsu Forum, he has spent the last three years as an advisor, mentor, and investor helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

In addition to his entrepreneurial spirit, Schmidt has a passion for education. He has held C-level roles in two educational technology companies – The Learning Company and GlobalEnglish Corporation. He served nine years on the board of Golden Gate University in San Francisco, including four years as Chair. In a brief departure from entrepreneurship and education, Schmidt took on transforming the San Francisco 49ers as that organization’s COO.

Schmidt earned his BA from Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio, one of a handful of higher educational institutions to fully embrace experiential education. He went on to earn an MS in Taxation from Golden Gate University, and a Certificate of Accounting from UC Berkeley.

In addition to Schmidt’s appointment, Dina Finta has been promoted to Associate Director – Operational Manager of IEL.

Schmidt and Finta will continue the excellence of IEL started by founding Director Raul Deju. Under Deju’s leadership the Institute has helped over 80 businesses achieve amazing success, amassing combined revenues of just under $2 billion in the current year. Many of these companies are owned by women, minorities, veterans, and veterans who were service disabled through campaigns on behalf of our country.