iZone’s new ‘magnetic’ director

The River Campus Libraries taps a local entrepreneur to lead the Barbara J. Burger iZone into its next era of creative problem-solving.
Author: Matthew Cook
Yasmin Mattox headshot

Since 2018, the Barbara J. Burger iZone has cultivated a space, program, and community that empowers the University of Rochester community to explore their ideas, be creative, and tackle the issues keeping them up at night. That problem-solving culture is now in the capable hands of entrepreneur Yasmin Mattox, iZone’s new director.

On June 13, Mattox assumes the leadership role previously held by Julia Maddox, iZone’s founding director, who stepped down on February 1.

“We couldn’t be happier to have found Yasmin,” says Kevin Garewal, vice provost and the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of the University of Rochester Libraries. “Her rare blend of academic and entrepreneurial experience and close ties to the local community is a perfect fit for iZone. I’m looking forward to seeing how she continues to shape this unique program.”

Mattox comes to Rochester as the former leader of Arkatecht, a company she founded in 2017 to provide online professional development and training for direct care workers in the mental and behavioral health field. To address this crucial yet overlooked element, the company redirected efforts in 2022 to advocate for federal policy around training and development. Before launching Arkatecht, she served as program manager for the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship at the Rochester Institute of Technology; there, she led the development of the Future Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Program.

Mattox holds a master’s degree in international studies from St. John Fisher College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Alfred University. She describes herself as an intellectually curious professional who champions continuous learning, evidence-based practices, and innovation. 

“Yasmin was magnetic from the moment we met her,” says Zoe Wisbey, program manager for iZone. “She’s an excellent listener and a proven connector and leader. We are thrilled to have her and can’t wait to cook up amazing new ideas that will take iZone to the next level.”

A strong entrepreneurial background has helped Mattox establish and nurture connections throughout the innovation and technology spaces. She looks forward to leveraging her experience to strengthen existing iZone partnerships and cultivate new relationships to serve students and the broader University community better.

“I’m ecstatic about joining the iZone team,” says Mattox. “I was so impressed by how this program and community offer the holistic support students need to make a positive impact on their interests now, rather than after years of ‘paying their dues.’ I’m grateful to be inheriting such a strong foundation and eager to build on it in new and different ways.”

For more information on the latest at the Barbara J. Burger iZone, contact Zoe Wisbey at z.wisbey@rochester.edu.

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