Since 2014, LaVigne has been president and CEO of the 27-county venture development organization that she co-founded with other regional boosters. The group’s mission is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture of Upstate New York.
Since 2012, Launch NY has provided pro bono mentoring to more than 1,000 startups in the region and introduced the most active seed fund in New York state and one of the most active in the country, as part of the first Invest Local financing platform in the country allowing investors a chance to make a profit while doing good in their own backyard.
Also chair of the New York State Economic Development Council, LaVigne has spent more than 25 years in both the private and public sectors creating new products and start-up businesses, driving innovation and economic growth in high-tech industries, such as life sciences, informatics and advanced manufacturing. Her passion for working with start-ups took root from her experience launching health informatics businesses with colleagues in the 1990s as she finished her doctoral work at the University of Rochester, which resulted in growing two companies with more than 100 employees and two initial public offerings.
Previously, she led economic development efforts involving work with hundreds of firms at the University at Buffalo as associate vice president for economic development from 2012 to 2014 and director of business development from 2005 until 2012 at the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology.
In addition to her for profit start-up experience prior to UB, LaVigne also served in lead product development positions in larger corporations in managed care (e.g., Aetna), pharmaceuticals (Bristol-Myers Squibb), medical devices (Welch Allyn/Hill-Rom) and medical informatics (Medscape/MedicaLogic, now GE and WebMD).
LaVigne has a bachelor's in neuroscience and a doctorate in clinical psychology, both from the University of Rochester. She is a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Angels, Insyte Consulting, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, State Science and Technology Institute, Upstate Venture Connect and Western New York Venture Association.
Married to Oswego alumnus Robert Fohl, LaVigne is a Buffalo native with two children and four grandchildren.
More than 500 students are eligible to take part in December graduation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Marano Campus Center convocation hall and arena. The ceremonies will broadcast live locally on Spectrum on Channel 96 (Channel 97.3 for those without set-top boxes), as well as online from a link on the college’s oswego.edu homepage the day of Commencement.