Since assuming her new position as executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association on December 1, Maureen Miller Brosnan has not wasted a single minute.
“As one of the premier membership associations in our state, the MVCA has a lot to contribute to advancing Michigan’s economy, especially the entrepreneurial community, where our 100 member companies have made considerable investments,” explains Brosnan, who succeeded former MVCA Executive Director Carrie Jones. “Our association’s role as an economic driver in our state has been on a steady upward trend, and we expect to see that continue.”
Right now, Brosnan’s biggest job is getting to know the venture capital industry from the inside out. “During my first month as executive director, my goal was to meet as many MVCA members as possible,” she says. “I asked them where they envision the organization heading and what they would like to see it accomplish in the next few years.”
One of the top priorities identified by MVCA members is the formation of a new state-funded fund of funds that would invest in VC funds located in Michigan. “There is a new crop of state legislators in Lansing who will be trying to make decisions that are best for the state,” Brosnan says. “One critical decision facing these legislators in 2015 will involve the launch of another major fund of funds and the amount of money allocated to the fund to support Michigan’s growth curve in venture capital investment. We want to make sure the MVCA is their first point of reference when they talk about investing in entrepreneurial business and raising the state’s VC investment profile nationally.”
MVCA members also have asked the trade association for assistance in grooming new, capable leaders within the venture capital community. “We are continuing our Venture Fellows program, which enables venture funds to bring new, younger people into their firms as analysts or associates,” Brosnan says. “In addition, we are launching a new Executive Connect program later this year.” Executive Connect builds and curates a list of current and retired Michigan C-level executives and CEOs who want to continue contributing to the state’s economy and entrepreneurial companies at a board level. These individuals would serve as board members for Michigan start-up and early stage companies, fulfilling their need for seasoned advisors.
Brosnan’s 25 years of experience in nonprofit, government, association and corporate communications and management has prepared her to take the helm at the MVCA. She has been elected four times to four-year terms on the Livonia City Council, beginning in 1996, and currently is council president/mayor pro-tem and chairperson of the Committee of the Whole. As an independent contractor, she worked on former Governor Jennifer M. Granholm’s 2002 election campaign and served as campaign manager for Connie Kelley during her 2012 bid for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. A stint on the State Transportation Commission provided insights into the policy-making body for all state transportation programs. In addition, Brosnan is chair of the board of directors of St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Lovonia and serves on the board of directors of the St. Joseph Mercy Health System as immediate past chair.
“Having served as an elected municipal leader in a Michigan community struggling to rebuild its economic base, I understand that an aggregate of small, entrepreneurial, high-tech businesses ─ rather than a single large manufacturer ─ will be needed to stimulate its economy,” Brosnan says. “That perspective will help me bridge the conversation gaps in discussions of what it will take to drive growth in local communities and the state’s economy.” She also plans to leverage her prior experience as executive vice president of Publicom Association Management Inc. and the many valuable relationships she’s forged over the years in the Michigan legislature and various industry sectors.
“My new world is venture capital and I’m working hard to get up to speed and totally embrace it,” Brosnan says. “The MVCA is a great organization and I’m proud to be leading it.”