Liftoff PGH in Motion Speaker Series

Electrify your summer with a riveting line up of entrepreneurs and innovators straight to your armchair. We're spotlighting ingenuity thriving throughout the pandemic, with an inside look into the world of rapid research and commercialization. Keep checking back for new speakers. 

Registration is required for each virtual session.


Generation Fempreneur Summit

Generation Fempreneur:

Women+ in the Age of Innovation

AUG 25th-28th  at 12pm-1pm

Generation Fempreneur is a four-day summit exploring the experience of women+ in spaces of innovation. Every day at 12-1pm, award winning journalist Natalie Bencivenga will interview Pittsburgh women+ about a different facet of invention, including product design, social barriers, the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and local investment pipelines. Each session questions challenges facing women+, while generating new opportunities for fempreneurs.


How do we design for women+?
with Dr. Sonya Borrero and Dr. Tamar Krishnamurti

Our first session will explore the innovative FemTech Collaborative at the University of Pittsburgh, which leverages technology to improve individual’s reproductive decision making. Researchers and Pitt Medical Professors Tamar Krishnamurti and Sonya Borrero will discuss their novel MyHealthyPregnancy app, which aims to decrease complications during pregnancy and birth.


Where are the women+ inventors?
with Audrey Murrell and Ayana Ledford

Next we explore the social and organizational barriers that impact women+ in innovation. Pitt Business Professor and mentorship expert Audrey Murrell and CMU Director of Diversity and Inclusion Ayana Ledford will lead an intersectional dialogue on how organizations can actively cultivate women+ leaders.


Who are the women+ CEOs?
with Courtney Williamson

On Wednesday we welcome Founder and CEO of AbiliLife Courtney Willamson to discuss her experience as an entrepreneur in Pittsburgh. Williamson invented the Calibrace+, a specialized back brace for patients with neuromuscular diseases. The product has been prescribed by physicians at the Mayo Clinic, Emory, UPMC, Highmark, and varied VA hospitals.  


How do you invest in women+?
with Erica Friedman and Kim Cauley Eckel 

The final day features UpPrize Coordinator Erica Friedman and the 2019 UpPrize winner Kim Cauley-Eckel in a discussion about the innovation pipeline. The women will examine new recruiting methods, exploring ways to identify entrepreneurship in unconventional places. An longtime human services professional, Cauley-Eckel will share how she came to start her own business, and the challenges she faces in seeing herself as an entrepreneur.



Past Speakers

Addressing Disparities During a Pandemic

An Interactive Panel 


Moderated by InnovatePGH’s Sean Luther, this interactive panel focused on innovations to address isolated and underserved populations. Sean will be joined by Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Dan Swayze, Associate VP Clinical Affairs for Community Support Services UPMC Health Plan, and Geng Wang, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Civic Champs.  We are also thrilled to welcome Vivian Lee, President of Health Platforms at Google's Verily.


Po-Shen Loh: Disrupting the Spread of COVID-19 

Hosted by Kenny Chen

JUL 14th 

NOVID is the world's first contact tracing app able to annonymous and accurately measure the spread of COVID-19 spread. Founder and CMU Math professor Po-Shen Loh chatted about innovating for social good, interviewed by Co-Founder of the Partnership to Advance Responsible Technology (PART) Kenny Chen. 

Gal Inbar: StartUp Nation

JUN 30th

Founder of 412x972, Gal discussed how Israel became the world's largest entrepreneurship ecosystem. He explained Pittsburgh strong partnerships with Israeli firms, and how to enable more frequent collaboration.

Don Burke: Mapping a Pandemic

JUN 17th

Former Dean of the Pitt School of Public Health Don Burke founded Epistemix, an epidemiological mapping platform, to model how specific communities would react to a wide range of behaviors. His company is now at the center of the pandemic he predicted 20 years earlier, and he presented how Allegheny could fair in a number of different policy scenarios. 

Women in Healthcare Innovation

Featuring Liz Kaselitz and Amy Hartman

JUN 9th

This spotlight on women's responses to the pandemic featured maternal health researcher Liz Kaselitz of Michigan State University and Amy Hartman, professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Vaccine Research. Liz detailed how pregnant women were responding during COVID019, while Amy explained how she came to run one of the most prominent (and dangerous) infectious disease laboratories in the world. 

Make Sure You're In the Know

We'll keep it short and snappy.