Center for Entrepreneurship hires new executive director

Closeup of Paul Warner
Paul Warner

Paul Warner, an experienced business owner, digital marketer, and consultant, has been appointed executive director of the Washington State University Center for Entrepreneurship in the Carson College of Business. He officially began director duties Feb. 19.

Warner’s role is new and an expansion of leadership within the Center for Entrepreneurship (CfE). Marie Mayes has served as director since 2013 and grown entrepreneurial opportunities for WSU students. Mayes, a scholarly associate professor in the Carson College’s Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship, will serve as faculty director for the CfE and work in close partnership with Warner to ensure a successful transition.

Prior to joining WSU, Warner led a team responsible for global advertising, digital marketing, localization, and analytics efforts at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Starting with his first marketing role at a Silicon Valley startup, he continuously gained marketing, journalism, and sales experience across several industries. After launching his own business in 2009, he consulted for clients in government, education, and private industry.

“We are excited for Paul to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with students across WSU who have an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Debbie Compeau, Carson College interim dean. “The work that occurs in the Center for Entrepreneurship is core to the college’s goal to work in partnership with other WSU colleges to provide premier business education to all WSU students who seek it.”

Established in 1995, the CfE offers entrepreneurial opportunities to students and promotes engagement, scholarship, and dialogue across the university and with stakeholders throughout Washington and the world. The CfE is open to all students across the WSU system and provides programming, activities, resources, and events that help them identify the next step for their entrepreneurial journey.

One of the CfE’s signature programs is the annual Business Plan Competition that allows high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to compete for thousands of dollars in prize money as they pitch new business ventures to a panel of judges. Competitors gain entrepreneurship experience in a real-world setting and receive guidance from business professionals in the process. Warner has served as a judge since 2015 and also taught entrepreneurial marketing for a year in the Carson College.

“Marie has done a tremendous job of building an amazing program and solid foundation,” said Warner. “My role will be to build a sustainable future for the center by expanding relationships, reach, visibility, and accessibility. Outreach to a variety of communities will be critical in our efforts to champion entrepreneurship’s ability to support people in any career path.”

Warner will spend his first few months meeting with all stakeholders to understand their perspectives and reaching out to all students who may not be aware of the opportunities available to them. He said he is also interested in exploring a redesign of the entrepreneurial space in the WSU Commons to better accommodate students and visitors.

“I see the center as a beacon for all students or alums who have an idea or dream and want to start their own business and/or take their career to the next level,” said Warner. “We want to continue to expand and earn additional recognition as a committed resource for advice, education, innovation, funding, and mentorship.”

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