In a new position designed to capitalize on Virginia Tech’s growing role in the Roanoke region, Lesa Hanlin has been hired as the executive director of Roanoke Regional Initiatives.

As a key member of the Outreach and International Affairs leadership team, Hanlin will serve as the chief administrator for the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center and the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement.

Both centers provide educational opportunities through professional development and customized training, while the Roanoke center also offers several graduate programs, including a master of business administration, master of arts in education, and a doctoral program in education leadership and policy studies.

Hanlin will also collaborate with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute to create engagement programs that focus on the fields of neuroscience, health sciences, and technology.

Most recently the director of the Virginia Tech Richmond and Hampton Roads centers, Hanlin will assume her duties in Roanoke on Feb. 12.

In less than a minute, Hanlin talks about how an orientation toward entrepreneurship can help higher-education administrators be better at their jobs.

Before joining the Virginia Tech Richmond and Hampton Roads centers in 2015, Hanlin worked at the University of Virginia and Troy University and spent 15 years as a teacher and administrator in the Newport News school system.

Hanlin earned her doctorate in educational administration and policy studies, as well as a master’s degree in education and human development, from George Washington University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology education and safety from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

Hanlin also has a background in entrepreneurship. In 2001, she co-created a direct sales company specializing in bead jewelry that grew to 35 states, and she is the founder and executive director of the charity Gowns for Hounds.

Written by Melissa McKeown