• Staff

Ann Nygard


Director, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Ann Nygard is the inaugural Director of The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship which launched with Vermont State University in July 2023. Previously, she was the a serial educational program entrepreneur at Northern Vermont University where she served as Director for the Center for Professional Studies (2016). During her tenure, she started Do North Coworking (2018), the Forest Accelerator (2020), and Sustainable Trail Building program (2022). These programs stemmed from a wide variety of initiatives undertaken throughout her previous leadership positions as Director for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (2013) and Incubator without Walls program (2020). These programs yielded the Academic Summer Camps, Regional Business and Education Summit, and Kingdom Career Connect.

Before returning to her native Vermont, she held the position of Associate Director of Operations at the National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations in Washington, D.C. where she oversaw operations of global geotourism programs, developed corporate responsibility strategies, and supported responsible business planning for small businesses and multinationals alike. She was appointed Geotourism Expert for the Intercontinental Hotel Group in 2008, overseeing workforce training program development and rollout for its 60,000 employees worldwide. Her work with Inter America Development Bank (IADB) and the UN Foundation scaled up innovative business practices to further Sustainable Tourism cluster development.

From 2005 to 2007, Nygard was executive director of Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association. She led the National Geographic Northeast Kingdom Geotourism Program, resulting in the Geotourism MapGuide of the Northeast Kingdom connecting NEK businesses to the global market by featuring local products and services. She has lived and worked for 13 years in Finland, Sweden, the UK, France, and Rwanda. She was employed by Tiffany & Co. in New York and London as an international marketing analyst. Her other positions included working for U.S. Library of Congress-East Africa Division in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ms. Nygard earned a MBA from Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and a BS from the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University.