I believe in what UNeTech does. Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold has said, more than twice, the research doesn’t end until it touches a patient’s life. For me, at my core, it’s simply a privilege to work at UNeTech and be a link in the chain that connects discovery to actual human benefit. I struggle to explain that sometimes – the sense of meaning that comes from doing something I really, really believe in.
I don’t have to explain that to Lamonte Russell.
Lamonte Russell, Strategy & Ventures Manager
When I sit in on his weekly Maverick Technology Ventures Alliance production meetings, Lamonte does not lecture as a professor of business strategy. He does not push to meet deadlines or criticize the gaffes that students make. Lamonte is a coach, who tries to get the best performance out of every team member. To that end, he stays with students while they struggle to answer questions and write reports. He focuses on the details that are incorrect and on the details that are correct. He provides students with his own confidence that they’ll figure it out – even when their own confidence is lacking.
For a man of action, he is committed to a process that is intentionally, necessarily slow. Lamonte commits to that slow process not with bloody-minded resignation nor grim determination but with joyful enthusiasm. What keeps Lamonte motivated enough to do the work to lead that team of students? What gives him the energy to inspire them and end every meeting with an enthusiastic ‘be blessed!’
There was only one way to find out: prepare an FDA submission together. The process for approving new medical products through the FDA is full of twisty details.
Lamonte will sit in with entrepreneurs on endless meetings to discuss the finishing process for injection molding or the finer points of particulate testing. He does more than stay engaged through the meeting – Lamonte will independently check the conclusion of consultants, experts, or even the FDA’s own guidance against other standards – just to be sure. It matters so he does it.
What keeps Lamonte motivated enough to do the work?
I try to live up to the aspirations and ideals that the university represents. When I am at my best, I serve those ideals and find ways to live up to them by my choices. That best part of me is inspired by Lamonte Russell. It is not what he does. Although he is a servant leader, a diligent technician and a generous colleague. It’s not what he accomplishes that inspires, but the reverence he holds for his work. Lamonte’s reverence elevates his work and I am so grateful for the sense of mission I feel from his collaboration.
A startup creates something from nothing. Literally. Lamonte not only sees the mighty tree in the humble seed but reveres work whereby it will grow. Coaching the students; drafting the FDA submission; strategizing the venture – tilling the earth; staking the sapling; watering the seedling. Lamonte manages to take two widely different tasks and unite them with that shared sense of purpose. His reverence of business strategy, regulatory submissions, and the myriad of tasks UNeTech asks of him, creates a culture where UNeTech will not merely grow a tree but raise a whole forest.
So, what is UNeTech reverently? It is the recognition that the difference between doing the job and advancing the mission is all in your attitude. It is the quiet confidence that earnestly, joyously doing the work advances the bigger ideas: mind body and soul. It is the courage to believe, often in the face of reality, that the dignity of the work is a thing that elevates our lives and makes the results matter. It is the infectious inspiration that comes from believing in what you do.