For its associate director position, the Fiserv-Rutgers-Newark (RU-N) Program for Inclusive Innovation has turned to Karen Brown Stovell, a local leader with more than a decade of experience working with Newark entrepreneurs.
Brown Stovell, a Newark resident, previously served as executive director at the nonprofit Forward Ever Sustainable Business Alliance. There, she created the city’s first shop local effort, the Shop Newark Property Tax Rebate Program, and worked with business owners and city stakeholders to design programs to spur economic growth.
She is also the co-founder of Impact Hub NY Metro, a global network of locally founded and operated impact innovation incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces and nonprofit organizations that collectively own and govern Impact Hub Co.
In her new role with the Fiserv RU-N Program for Inclusive Innovation, Brown Stovell will work with the RU-N community and Fiserv Inc. to diversify the financial tech field by providing opportunities for students and local business owners.
“I’m beyond excited to manage the partnership between Fiserv and Rutgers-Newark, which ranks highest among schools in the Northeast for diversity of its students and faculty,” said Brown Stovell in a press release.
The program, described as a multi-faceted initiative designed to leverage diversity while driving innovation in the fintech industry, will provide annual scholarships for undergraduate students over a five-year period; support career development; offer mentorship to students preparing for internships and jobs; and establish a research and incubation space for the RU-N and local business communities.
The center is scheduled to open this year.
Brown Stovell, a Rutgers alum, noted that the opportunity allows her to expand her personal mission of “developing business with a purpose.”
“What gaps will we fill? Who will we help?” she asked. “I’m ecstatic to be here.”
Rutgers-Newark Provost Jeffrey Robinson, a professor at Rutgers Business School and academic director of the school’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, described Brown Stovell as a perfect fit for the job.
“Karen Brown Stovell’s experience in business, entrepreneurship, sustainability, mentorship and business acceleration makes her uniquely qualified to lead our Rutgers-Newark partnership with Fiserv,” said Robinson in a statement. “Our corporate partners at Fiserv are looking forward to working with her and our faculty and staff will learn how her collaborative approach will benefit our campus.”
Brown Stovell added that as a self-described “data geek,” she has spent the past few years connecting the dots in Newark’s economic development ecosystem and looks forward to seeing where that research leads in this new role.