Amy Cell Headshot

Meet Amy Cell, an entrepreneur whose journey from Ford to Silicon Valley shaped her into a vibrant force at the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). After contributing to Michigan’s economic transformation and founding a consulting firm, Amy now shares her wealth of wisdom with students. Amy’s journey into the entrepreneurial realm is a tale of twists, turns, and a lot of Michigander grit. Let’s dive in!

Amy first encountered entrepreneurship in the buzzing hub of Silicon Valley back in 2000. She had just left the secure walls of Ford Motor Company, where she had envisioned a 30-year career with a cushy retirement plan. However, life had different plans for her when she found herself in the innovation hotbed of California, surrounded by entrepreneurs while working at the Stanford Research Institute. “I got to meet entrepreneurs and was surrounded by innovation,” Amy said.  It was a culture shock, but Amy embraced it, diving into consulting and contributing to a life science technology company. 

Amy returned to Michigan and in 2006, she joined Ann Arbor SPARK during a pivotal period for the state. She played a crucial role in the economic transformation, focusing on talent and entrepreneurial education. Her journey continued as she became an integral part of the CFE board, witnessing the dynamic changes happening at the University of Michigan.

After her stint at SPARK, Amy ventured into the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to further support the state’s transformation. In 2015, she took the entrepreneurial plunge herself, founding a consulting firm aimed at providing affordable recruiting solutions for startups. Describing her venture, she proudly states, “Now, I have a team of 22 consultants, and we are a recruiting and fractional HR partner for startups, small businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities.”

Introduced to the CFE through her role as an original board member, Amy found herself drawn back to contribute in a different capacity. Teaching at the CFE seemed like a natural progression, especially when her experience aligned with the needs of students seeking coursework in consulting and project management.

What does Amy love most about working with students? It’s hard for her to pick just one thing. “I love the energy, the new ideas, how smart they are, how interesting their backgrounds and goals are,” Amy enthuses. “I love being able to share with them the lessons that I have learned about business and people and getting stuff done.”

Outside the world of entrepreneurship and academia, Amy loves to bake and enjoy her husband’s cooking. Beyond the dining table, she enjoys golf, kayaking, pickleball, gardening, and diving into a good book.

For aspiring entrepreneurs and those looking to engage with the CFE, Amy’s advice is straightforward and powerful: “The more you put in, the more you get. Try something – you will learn a lot. It is a constant journey of trying, revising. Experiment and pilot until you get it right, and then step on the gas.” 

Amy Cell, with her zest for life and a wealth of entrepreneurial wisdom, isn’t just a faculty member at CFE – she’s a vibrant guide propelling students into the thrilling world of innovation at the University of Michigan.

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