Demetria Gallagher

Demetria is a tireless advocate for entrepreneurs, communities, businesses, and policies that positively impact the revitalization of American cities. Armed with actionable data and localized research, Demetria combines smart public-private partnerships, no-nonsense advocacy, and creative financial capitalization to build sustainable, equitable residential and commercial opportunities.

For more than six years at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., Demetria served as a policy analyst and White House Political Appointee in the Administration of President Barack Obama. Aligned with the Obama Administration’s focus on inclusive innovation, Demetria built a new program designed to connect STEM-oriented minority-owned companies with the immense science and technology resources located in the federal government.

As lead innovation policy analyst at the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Demetria spearheaded a cross-agency collaboration to support the growth of minority-owned business with a revenue of $1M or more. She supported several White House initiatives focused on the Commerce Department’s business development efforts, and shaped policy creation and the formulation of key partnerships with a range of national stakeholders. Demetria also oversaw the evaluation process for the Agency’s $13M grant program, a direct-funding vehicle used to operate MBDA’s network of 40+ business centers nationwide.

In 2015, Demetria was appointed Senior Advisor for Policy and Inclusive Innovation at MBDA. She conceived, designed, and scaled up a revolutionary program that connected STEM-oriented businesses and young entrepreneurs to a vital, historic aspect of America’s business development stream: high-quality scientific expertise and quantitative testing and research that aids the commercialization of technological discoveries born in the nation’s 300+ federal laboratories. Known as Tech Transfer or “T2,” the process of connecting private companies to Federally-developed science and technologies is a time-tested feature of the nation’s economic growth during the past century, resulting in major commercial products such as GPS and mobile phones.

Demetria recognized the importance of opening the T2 process to a wider array of minority entrepreneurs. She formed intra-agency relationships across the Federal space, including with scientists and administrators at NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, designed the protocols for locating and vetting academic partners including Historically-Black Colleges and Universities. With the support of former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Demetria built the program and branded it the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3).

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Demetria, a Chicago native, served as an academic advisor at the African American Academic Network at the University of Illinois, where she helped first-generation/low-income students achieve college completion, and successfully transition into the working world.

Now, as Senior Director for Social Innovation of the Jamii Group, Demetria Gallagher leads the company’s focus on cross-sector business development, innovation, and social impact. A data and policy nerd at heart, Demetria manages all aspects of research development, strategic alliances and social impact metrics for a range of national clients.

Demetria is also Founder and President of UrbanCycle, a social impact real estate incubator she created to combat urban development barriers in her home of Chicago. UrbanCycle empowers social entrepreneurs and innovators by matching them with social impact real estate developers, and quarterbacking partnerships to the finish line: Developing sustainable, equitable real estate projects that improve the quality of life in underserved areas.

Demetria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Urban Planning, which she received from George Washington University. In 2016, she was selected to participate in the Social Impact Investing Program at University of Oxford. Demetria currently resides in Washington, DC.