Foundation Breakfast

February 21, 2024
W Hotel
8:00 – 10:30am

Join PACT at the annual Foundation Breakfast for a lively panel and presentations highlighting the impactful strides made by women in healthcare and technology. Learn from those leading the charge with an inspiring morning dedicated to celebrating the remarkable contributions of women in these pivotal industries. Engage with thought leaders, advocates, entrepreneurs, and CEOs dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion in Philadelphia and beyond. Together we’re illuminating a brighter, more equitable path forward.

Our expert panel will discuss:

  • The impact of collaborative efforts between industry, government, and communities in providing opportunity and access to underrepresented populations
  • Challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in starting and scaling businesses & overcoming obstacles
  • Effective strategies for fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace & the role of leadership in creating inclusive environments

Event Agenda:

8:00 – 8:30am: Registration opens
8:30 – 8:35am: Welcome remarks – Dean Miller, President & CEO, PACT
8:35 – 9:30am: Expert panel & Q&A
9:30 – 9:55am: Presenting companies
9:55 – 10:00am: Closing remarks
10:00 – 10:30am: Networking & exhibits from sponsors/presenting companies


Sushma Akunuru

Senior Vice President, Business Technology Services

Independence Blue Cross


Sushma Akunuru is senior vice president of Business Technology Services at Independence Blue Cross (Independence). She is responsible for solutions that meet emerging market demands, improve efficiencies, and strengthen the company’s security posture as well as aligning the company’s technology, application, and security teams.

Ms. Akunuru is a champion of women in leadership and technology and brings more than a decade of experience in financial services and IT-related functions. She serves on the boards of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies digital transformation advisory board. As chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association CIO Roundtable, she engages in active innovation conversations with other Chief Information Officers. She spearheads the Women in Technology and Analytics event designed to encourage careers in technology at Independence and shares her expertise with the Wharton Health Care Business Conference.

She strongly encourages young people to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by mentoring and tutoring robotics in her community.

Ms. Akunuru received her MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in computer applications from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India.

Joan Lau


Spirovant Sciences


Joan Lau is Chief Executive Officer of Philadelphia-based biotech Spirovant Sciences. She co-founded the company (then called Talee Bio), envisioning the potential for gene therapy for patients with inherited respiratory diseases. Under her leadership, Spirovant gained the support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and was honored as PACT Healthcare Startup of the Year. Spirovant was acquired twice in 2019, once as part of a $3 billion transaction with Sumitomo Pharma.

Dr. Lau co-founded and is partner with Militia Hill Ventures, a firm focused on forming and growing life sciences companies. Previously she held roles as COO of Immunome (IMNM); President and CEO of Azelon Pharmaceuticals; and President and CEO of Locus Pharmaceuticals, a computational chemistry discovery company. VELEXBRU® was discovered & developed at Locus under her leadership. Dr. Lau began her career at Merck Research Laboratories.

Dr. Lau has been recognized for her entrepreneurial accomplishments and leadership in the biotechnology industry and within the Philadelphia and social justice non-profit communities. She serves on the board for the Philadelphia Orchestra & Kimmel Center; the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice; Brandywine Realty Trust; and Rockwell Medical, Inc. She is an Adjunct Professor at Penn in the Wharton Healthcare Management Program. Previously she served as national board chair, Human Rights Campaign Foundation (DC). She was selected as the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Philadelphia Region; a 2020 Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal; and the 2021 Iris Newman Award recipient from the Alliance for Women Entrepreneurs.

Dr. Lau earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BSE in Bioengineering, both at the University of Pennsylvania; and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Danae Mobley (Moderator)


Coded By Kids



Danae Mobley has a wealth of experience in the fields of education, technology, sustainability and design. Danae began their career in 2006 as a Corps Member for Teach For America, where they instructed fifth and sixth grade ESL students and was recognized as a Highly Qualified Instructor. In 2010, Mobley took on the role of Program Manager at Coopers Ferry Partnership. From 2011-2014, they were an Urban Planning Consultant for Sci-Tek Consultants, Inc., where they developed prioritization strategies for Philadelphia Water’s $2.5 billion, 25-year green stormwater infrastructure program. During this time, Mobley also served as a Lecturer for PennDesign City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, where they facilitated a first-year planning studio and taught a variety of planning topics. In 2018, Mobley became the Chief Marketing Officer at Coded by Kids. Most recently in 2019, they founded and became the CEO of Populum, a digital strategy agency that seeks to amplify meaningful, people-centered work. In 2021, Mobley was appointed Chief Operating Officer at Coded by Kids and in 2024, they transitioned to the CEO role.

Michelle Histand

Managing Director

Temple University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute


Michelle Histand is an experienced leader, teacher, and connector. Driven by a passion for changing how people think and work, she takes pride in connecting the dots, motivating teams, and improving outcomes. 

Michelle is the Executive Director of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, where she works with global nonprofit leaders who are using innovative practices to change their communities and combat poverty and injustice. She is also the Managing Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University, where she works with the Temple community to develop new mindsets and business ideas.  

Michelle has led citywide projects with partners in city government and organizations across Philadelphia. She served as Executive Director of B. PHL Innovation Festival, a three-day festival designed to showcase innovation in Philadelphia that she co-founded in 2019, and as the Deputy Director for Ready.Set.Philly!, a collaborative effort between business leaders, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, and the city to restore Philadelphia’s economy post-COVID.  

Michelle built her expertise in innovation after launching and running the Innovation Department at Independence Blue Cross for ten years. She has worked with companies of all sizes in developing new processes, products, and organizational design.  

She earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and her master’s degree in writing from Saint Joseph’s University. She’s a proud Philadelphia native, where she resides with her three kids, three cats, and one husband. 

Tiffanie Standard

Founder & CEO

Stimulus, Inc.


Tiffanie Stanard, a seasoned professional and corporate advisor, transitioned from an executive in vendor management to become an award-winning entrepreneur with two decades of expertise working with vendors and suppliers for some of the largest publicly traded companies. Stanard is the CEO & Founder of Stimulus, a VC-backed technology company. The Stimulus AI-powered relationship intelligence platform combines data insights, relationship-building tools, and a proprietary score to help companies make the best purchasing decisions while optimizing and growing their supplier network.  

Throughout her career, Tiffanie has been hired to consult with influential global brands including Microsoft, Salesforce, AT&T, Intuit, and other organizations. Stanard is a recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Rising Star and Diversity in Business Awards, Walker’s Legacy’s Women in Economic Development Award, and the Philadelphia Tribune’s 10 under 40 Most Influential African Americans Award. Tiffanie has been recognized by Forbes in the Next 1000 Leaders List and she was named as one of the 10 Business Leaders Transforming Supply Chain by Business Insider, among many more honors. 

Based in Philadelphia, she holds a bachelor’s degree in business management. Beyond her professional pursuits, she has actively contributed to her community by serving on boards and committees for numerous organizations including Love Now Media, Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies and others. 


Morgan Berman



Elaine Haynes, RPh, MBA

President and CEO

KaloCyte, Inc.

Madhu Stemmermann


SunRay Scientific, LLC

Dr. Tia Lyles Williams


Goffman Bougard, Inc

Yasmine Mustafa

CEO & Cofounder



PACT is committed to our attendees’ health and safety. Therefore, we are following CDC and local government guidelines regarding COVID-19. We recommend vaccinations, but they are not required for PACT events at this time. For updates, please visit our website at www.philadelphiapact.com.

Sponsored by

Title Sponsor

Event Sponsors

Logo of PACT member organization Bank of America
fox rothschild
troutman pepper

Interested in sponsoring the Foundation Breakfast? Learn more about sponsorship opportunities and contact Chermaina Roundtree, VP of Growth and Success.