Mission Log

12.18.20

Activating Pittsburgh Innovation

Behind the scenes during Liftoff PGH 2020

As our region’s first virtual healthcare innovation summit, Liftoff PGH’s charge was to activate the leading disruptors across Pittsburgh’s technology, health, education, and entrepreneurship sectors. Throughout the month of December, attendees were transported to a digital kitchen table and asked, what can we create together? Our incredible community of experts took up the call to action, both to recognize Pittsburgh’s current potential and to stake Pittsburgh’s rightful claim as an innovation hub. A mission of this kind could never have been done alone, and we are grateful to everyone who decided to board the rocketship with us.  

We are proud to have hosted such a diverse group of expert speakers for Liftoff’s programming. Their insights and generosity of time and ideas were the lifeblood of our workshops, thought talks, panel fireside chats, and sessions of networking and wellness. In particular, we thank Dr. Vivian Lee of Verily Life Sciences, One Medical’s Amir Dan Rubin, Dr. Justin Barad of Osso VR, palliative care specialists Dr. BJ Miller and Dr. Jessica Zitter, and Shankar Vedantam, host of the Hidden Brain podcast and our keynote speaker.  

Our crucial link to Pittsburgh, our community partners (SisterFriend, Women & Girls Foundation, Assemble PGH, PGH Lab, Idea Foundry, All for All/The Global Switchboard, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Pittsburgh Innovation District) engaged their networks to spread the message of Liftoff across the region. With the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Generation Fempreneur summer summit showcased and elevated women+ in innovation, growing the conversation into a workshop as part of the winter conference. We also partnered with the Pittsburgh Innovation District to organize a three-part workshop with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, and to present Liftoff workshops on Pittsburgh’s life sciences ecosystem. Along the way, the Pittsburgh Innovation District helped us with pop-up events and recruited speakers for our summer Liftoff in Motion series, and we are sincerely grateful for their Rocket-Level sponsorship of Liftoff PGH.

We must also thank our Advisory Committee, the guiding light behind the operation. Formed in the summer of 2018, the Liftoff PGH Advisory Committee aided in shaping the initiative’s breadth and depth. From our local universities and foundations to our health, life science, and innovation organizations, we cannot thank you enough for helping us to realize our vision.  

And finally, thank you to our sponsors. Liftoff PGH would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, most especially the McElhattan Foundation, our second Rocket-Level Sponsor who supported two discussions on end-of-life care and were generous and collaborative partners every step of the way. We would like to extend a wholehearted thank you to each of our sponsors here:  

  • Carlow University
  • Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Cook Myosite
  • The Grable Foundation
  • Highmark / Allegheny Health Network
  • IKM
  • Innovation Works
  • LifeX Labs
  • Luxe Creative
  • McElhattan Foundation
  • Optum
  • Partner4Work
  • Philips
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
  • The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Pittsburgh Innovation District
  • PNC Healthcare
  • Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • Robert Morris University
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Women In Bio – Pittsburgh Chapter
  • Unpack U