“The Women’s Edge supports systematic, sustained progress for women into leadership roles throughout the business community.”


Elizabeth Hailer, CEO

“There aren’t many places that you can go where the only agenda is for you to be successful.”

CEO forum member

“The Women’s Edge supports systematic, sustained progress for women into leadership roles throughout the business community.”

Elizabeth Hailer, CEO

Registration now open for Strategies for Success Program. Leaders from corporations and nonprofit organizations alike are encouraged to participate.



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“The Women’s Edge supports systematic, sustained progress for women into leadership roles throughout the business community.”

Elizabeth Hailer, CEO

Julie Chen

Chancellor, UMass Lowell

Julie Chen, a recognized leader in research, STEM and economic development in higher education, is the fourth chancellor of UMass Lowell.

Chen was named chancellor after leading the university’s growing research franchise into a nearly $95 million annual operation. She was unanimously appointed by the UMass trustees in May 2022 and assumed her role as just the second woman to lead the university of more than 17,000 students on July 1.

In her first year as Chancellor, Chen led the development of a new five-year strategic plan, focused on four strategic priorities: 1.) Enrollment and Student Success, 2.) A Diverse, Welcoming and Inclusive Campus, 3.) Research Excellence and 4.) Partnering with Our Community for Mutual Benefit. In the past year the university has experienced increases in undergraduate enrollment, retention, six-year graduation rates and philanthropic gifts, which hit a new one-year record of $37.4 million. Forty-eight percent of 2023 first-year students identify as students of color.

Research funding has continued to increase in the last year – reaching $111 million – and UMass Lowell sits on the precipice of Research 1 status, the highest tier of research university in the country. The designation will further accelerate UMass Lowell’s growth in research, external partnerships with industry, non-profits and government agencies. It will also provide additional opportunities for students, faculty and alumni seeking internships, research collaborations and jobs.

Chen previously served as vice chancellor for research and economic development, a role that included managing industry partnerships, technology transfer, startups and innovation, core research facilities and economic development programs. As UMass Lowell’s chief research officer, she facilitated numerous innovative models that brought together industry, government and academia.

Chen joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 1997 after six years as an assistant professor at Boston University. From 2002 to 2004 she was director of the Materials Processing and Manufacturing as well as the Nanomanufacturing programs at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. Chen was appointed UMass Lowell’s vice provost for research in 2009, and she was promoted to vice chancellor in 2016 with an added external and outreach focus.

Chen has served on many editorial boards, advisory committees and review panels for journals and federal agencies including the National Science Foundation; the National Institutes of Health; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; the U.S. Department of Energy; and the U.S. Department of Defense.

She serves on boards of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and MassTech Collaborative, as well as the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative and the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force.

An advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, she served as co-lead for UMass Lowell’s Council on Social Justice and Inclusion. Additionally, she was a co-principal investigator on a $3.5 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to support and elevate women faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Chen received her Ph.D., Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in mechanical engineering, where she was an Academic All-American in softball and field hockey.

In 2019 she was awarded an honorary degree from Queens University Belfast. She is a recipient of the U.S. Army Public Service Commendation Medal – the Army’s fourth-highest civilian honor – for her leadership in developing the innovation ecosystem.

Chen and her spouse, Susu Wong, reside in Wilmington.