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.


Upcoming Events


Generation Fempreneur Summit

Generation Fempreneur:

Women+ in the Age of Innovation

AUG 25TH-28TH 


In partnership with the Pittsburgh Tech Council's Business as Usual podcast, we presented Generation Fempreneur, a four-day summit exploring the experience of women+ in spaces of innovation. Tech Council CEO Audrey Russo interviewed Pittsburgh women+ about different facets of invention, including product design, social barriers, the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and local investment pipelines. The week concluded with award-winning journalist Natalie Bencivenga. 


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

Our first session explored 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, Sonya Borrero, and Mehret Birru-Talabi discussed their novel solutions and applications, including My Healthy Pregnancy, MyDecision and MyVoice:RD.


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

Next we explored 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 led an intersectional dialogue on how organizations can actively cultivate women+ leaders.


Who are the women+ CEOs?
with Courtney Williamson

On Wednesday we welcomed 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 

Interviewed by journalist Natalie Bencivenga, the final day featured UpPrize Coordinator Erica Friedman and the 2019 UpPrize winner Kim Cauley Eckel in a discussion about the innovation pipeline. The women examined new recruiting methods, exploring ways to identify entrepreneurship in unconventional places. A longtime human services professional, Eckel shared how she came to start her own business, and the challenges she faces in seeing herself as an entrepreneur.


Our Community Partners






Past Speakers

Business Resiliency of Health Care in the "New Normal"

In Partnership with PNC

SEPTEMBER 10th @ 12-1PM

Join R. Keith Henry and Louise Perchinsky of PNC as they discuss new tactics in business resiliency, focusing on protecting both people and assets in an evolving operational environment. With expertise in business process automation and the healthcare industry, they will present innovative solutions and strategies to strengthen continuity across organizations.

Automating Patient Safety with Michael McShea

SEPTEMBER 1st @ 5:30-6:30PM 

Join us as we delve into the power of autonomous technologies to improve quality of care and lower medical error. Health Systems Innovation Lead at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Michael McShea will explore how technology integrates with current and new systems. He brings a career's worth of  experience in population health, telehealth, clinical decision support, AI, and digital health.


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.