The Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (RCIE) announces the hiring of James “Jay” Bailey as its President and CEO, effective March 2018. Bailey joins RCIE with more than a decade of senior leadership experience in the non-profit and economic empowerment space. Most recently, Bailey founded one of the nation’s most innovative private equity firms, Greenwood Archer – dedicated to reimagining the way America’s most under-served communities leverage assets, establish wealth, strengthen infrastructure and create jobs.
Before Greenwood Archer, Bailey served as CEO for the Southeastern Region of Operation HOPE, a global nonprofit organization focused on financial literacy. Under his leadership, Operation HOPE’s southeastern region grew from a single person operation in 2007, to nineteen offices by 2015, helping more than 160,000 youth, adults, and families start businesses, buy homes, raise credit scores and increase their financial dignity.
“Growing up in Atlanta, Herman Russell was one of my greatest heroes,” said Bailey. “I am honored to have this opportunity to build on his incredible legacy, paving the way for the next generation of doers, innovators and job creators. Much more than another accelerator or incubator, we want RCIE to become the epicenter of economic advancement and entrepreneurship for underrepresented communities across the country, and it’s so fitting that it will evolve in the former H.J. Russell & Company headquarters at 504 Fair Street on Atlanta’s Westside.”
An Atlanta native, Bailey has a proven track record of success. Recognized by three U.S. Presidents for his leadership and community efforts, Bailey was one of eight Americans honored at the White House in 2012 as a “Champion of Change: Following in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” He was also named to both the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Georgia Trend magazine’s “40 Under 40 Best and Brightest Leaders of the Future.” Bailey is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Georgia and the ARC Regional Leadership Institute.
“We are excited about Jay’s addition to the Russell Family. He brings the experience, passion and energy we believe necessary to lead the Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship from concept to reality,” said Jerome Russell, President of H.J. Russell & Company and Chairman of the RCIE Board. “The Russell Center will be a game changer for entrepreneurs in the city of Atlanta and beyond, connecting the next generation of revolutionary entrepreneurs to the tools and relationships needed to turn dreams into reality.”
Currently in the development stages for a late 2018 opening, RCIE will house a 40,000-square foot, world-class, entrepreneurial innovation and leadership center located in Atlanta’s Historic Castleberry Hill industrial neighborhood. The mission of RCIE is to empower entrepreneurs and innovators to create, invent, and learn while being engaged and motivated to develop game-changing new ideas to promote economic empowerment. RCIE will be a collaborative, coworking ecosystem for both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, connecting a customized curriculum with corporate experience. RCIE will help foster and grow relationships between venture capitalists and Atlanta’s top entrepreneurial talent while honoring the legacy of Herman J. Russell by revitalizing the area with hub of innovation, imagination and opportunity for Atlanta’s entrepreneurs. Boardwalk Consulting of Atlanta led the President and CEO search for RCIE.