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Advisory Board

Tony DeSimone headshot  

Dr. Anthony DeSimone

Vice President of Engineering & Technology,
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS)

Biography

Dr. Anthony (Tony) DeSimone is the Vice President of Engineering & Technology at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS).

In this role, Dr. DeSimone is the principal technical leader for the RMS business area and its nearly 13,000 engineers and scientists. With an emphasis on creating a world-class, all digital development environment, he focuses his team on developing disruptive technologies, driving superior program performance, and delivering innovative solutions that exceed customer and company expectations.

Most recently, Dr. DeSimone served as the Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Integrated Weapons Systems and Sensors (IWSS) line of business with RMS. He was responsible for leading all engineering and technical aspects for IWSS products, systems, and platforms. This includes ground-based sensor systems such as Space Fence and the Long- Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), as well as surface combatant systems such as the Aegis Combat System and Littoral Combat System.

Before his transition to Chief Engineer for IWSS, Dr. DeSimone served as the Technical Director for the capture and execution of the Missile Defense Agency’s LRDR establishing the solid-state radar franchise for Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii (HDR-H), former Aegis Ashore Japan program, now Aegis System Equipped Vessel (ASEV), and the Canadian Surface Combatant. Prior to working the solid-state radar franchise, Dr. DeSimone was the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) architect overseeing the integration of the SM-3 missile into the AN/SPY-1 Radar for the Aegis Combat System. Dr. DeSimone is a recognized subject matter expert within the missile defense community for both ballistic missile defense and radar discrimination.

Dr. DeSimone has been recognized for his efforts through numerous awards from Lockheed Martin and government agencies for his leadership and technical excellence, including Operation Burnt Frost (2008), a NOVA award for Technical Excellence on the LRDR program (2016), and his government-issued patent that uses just radar phase for discrimination. Dr. DeSimone is also one of the select recipients of the MDA’s prestigious Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Pathfinder Award (2016).

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Lockheed Martin Aculight Corporation and the Lockheed Martin Sonar Systems Corporation. He is also an industry advisor to Drexel University for the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. DeSimone received a doctorate focused on Theoretical Physics and his bachelor’s degree in Physics from Drexel University in Philadelphia. His Ph.D. thesis is in non-equilibrium thermodynamics. He received his MBA from William and Mary University in Virginia.

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Amy Ellixson

Vice President, Finance, North America Hospital Medical Devices 
Johnson & Johnson

Biography

Amy Ellixson assumed the role of Vice President, Finance for the North America Medical Devices segment at Johnson and Johnson in August 2018.  Over the past two years, she was Vice President, Finance for the Medical Device Global Supply Chain in June of 2016.  In this role, she provided financial leadership across three global franchises of Ethicon, Interventional Solutions and DePuy Synthes as well as newly formed Supply Chain councils within the EMEA, LATAM and APAC regions.  Her main areas of focus were providing increased transparency and improvement to gross profit, inventory, capital and continuing the journey of Medical Device Supply Chain Transformation.  She transitioned from Consumer Supply Chain where she spent four years as Vice President, Finance for Consumer Global Supply Chain, partnering with the organization driving significant improvement in cost competitiveness supporting the growth agenda and return of US over-the-counter (OTC) products to the market.  Prior to that role, Amy spent one year as, Vice President, Finance for US OTCs, WW Nutritionals and Wellness & Prevention.

Amy also spent four years in the Pharmaceuticals segment as a Senior Finance Director for the Global Pharmaceutical R&D organization, providing financial and strategic leadership across all five therapeutic areas and the Global Medical organization. The first 15 years of her career were spent with the Consumer Segment where she held numerous positions of increasing responsibility with McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Before moving to Pharmaceuticals, she was an OTC Marketing and Sales Finance Director and served on the McNeil OTC Board.

Amy earned her MBA from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance and Accounting from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Amy and her husband Jim have three children, Tyler, Mckenna and Meghan.

Jennifer Flaisher Headshot

Jennifer Flaisher

Chief People Officer (CPO)
Spark Therapeutics

Biography

Jennifer Flaisher is the Chief People Officer (CPO) at Spark Therapeutics, where she has responsibility for Human Resources (HR); Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Corporate Communications and Community Engagement, and is focused on enabling, empowering and inspiring Spark’s most important resource – its talented people.

Jennifer and her team are responsible for translating business priorities into talent, communication and engagement strategies that strengthen Spark’s competitiveness and ability to fulfill its mission to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease. To support this mission, Jennifer’s team is focused on building a strong, values-driven culture, where everyone is respected, feels a sense of belonging and can thrive, and communicating with all of Spark’s key stakeholders, including the broader community, to enable meaningful engagement with the Company.

Jennifer joined Spark in 2017 and previously served as the Head of HR, leading the team that recruited, hired and onboarded hundreds of team members to more than double the Company’s size over four-year period. During her more than 20 years in HR, Jennifer has held a number of senior-level roles at leading bio-pharmaceutical companies. Her expertise is centered in business transformations and, organizational effectiveness, change management, HR effectiveness and creating employee-centric solutions. She served as Vice President of HR for Teva Pharmaceuticals, leading the HR function for its U.S. business, and at Shire Pharmaceuticals (now part of Takeda), as the Chief of Staff to the CHRO, in addition to a number of senior-level HR Business Partner roles.

Jennifer holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Villanova University. She sits on the board of Women Golfers Give Back, a non-profit focused on helping girls build resilience and confidence through golf.

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Michael A. Innocenzo

President and CEO
PECO

Biography

Michael Innocenzo is responsible for leadership of PECO’s overall performance associated with service reliability, customer satisfaction, financial management, and regulatory and external affairs. 

Based in Philadelphia, PECO is Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility.  The company employs about 2,600 people, owns $10 billion in assets, and generates approximately $2.8 billion in annual revenues.  A subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, the nation’s largest competitive energy provider, PECO serves 1.6 million electric and more than 520,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.

Michael Innocenzo previously served as senior vice president and chief operating officer, where he was responsible for leadership of PECO’s overall performance associated with operations, safety, service reliability, customer satisfaction and financial management. 

Prior to this position, he served as vice president, Distribution System Operations and Advanced Grid and Meter Technology, where he was responsible for the operation of the company’s electric and natural gas distribution systems as well as the design and deployment of PECO’s new metering technology system.  Innocenzo also served as the director of Gas Operations, Quality Services and Performance Improvement.  He also served as a regional director in Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties, as well as a regional engineering manager for Chester and Delaware counties.  Innocenzo also was the emergency services supervisor in Philadelphia and a project engineer in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. 

Michael Innocenzo serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Free Library, the Philadelphia Police Athletic League, the Southeastern Electric Exchange, the American Gas Association, the Energy Association of Pennsylvania, and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.  Innocenzo also led special projects with the Edison Electric Institute and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

Michael Innocenzo holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Widener University and an MBA from Villanova University.

Paul B Redman headshot 

Paul B. Redman

President & Chief Executive Officer
Longwood Gardens

Biography

Paul B. Redman is an award-winning leader of public gardens, known for his dedication to the beauty and sustainability of gardens, and to the training of future generations of horticulture professionals. A hallmark of Paul’s leadership is building a culture of planning to propel a shared vision forward.

Over the last 12 years, Paul has implemented institutional and strategic reforms that have positioned the Gardens as a premier horticultural, cultural, and educational institution of the 21st Century, while respecting the values of its founder, Pierre S. du Pont. The result has been nothing short of astounding with overall attendance doubling to almost 1.6 million visitors per year; an incredible climb in Membership support from 17,000 to 66,000 households; and earned income that has almost tripled. Most recently and notably, Paul led one of largest projects in Longwood’s history: the $90-plus million revitalization of the Main Fountain Garden, which reopened in May 2017.

A consummate professional, Paul freely shares his time and expertise, serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Garden Conservancy; Leadership Cabinet Co-Chair for Seed Your Future, a national initiative to promote awareness and careers in horticulture; and previously serving as Board President and Treasurer of the American Public Gardens Association. His honors include: 2018 National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence; 2017 Distinguished Alumnus from the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University; 2016 American Public Gardens Association Award of Merit; the International Garden Tourism Network’s 2015 Person of the Year; 2015 American Horticultural Society’s Professional Award; 2014 Wyck Strickland Award; 2014 American Society of Horticultural Science’s Dr. William A. “Tex” Frazier Lecturer; 2012 CEO of the Year by the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Business & Industry; 2008 Distinguished Horticulture Alumnus from Oklahoma State University; and where his professional career first began, Franklin Park Conservatory, receiving the Ann Islay Wolfe Award for extraordinary contributions to the organization.

Paul has been working and studying in the field of public horticulture for more than 25 years. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Science Degree in Horticulture from Oklahoma State University.

Bill Strahan headshot

Bill Strahan

Executive Vice President, Human Resources
Comcast

Biography

Bill Strahan leads the Human Resources function for Comcast Cable.  He has responsibility for all aspects of Human Resources including talent, compensation, benefits, learning, employee, and labor relations.

Bill Strahan has been involved in various aspects of Human Resources work for almost 30 years.  He began his career with over a decade of work at Macy’s Department Stores and Riggs National Bank.  The second decade of Bill’s work included practicing law in Washington, D.C. in the area of Compensation and Benefits – mostly in the context of mergers and acquisitions and in initial public offerings.  For nine years, Bill was a consultant and manager at Mercer HR Consulting.

Bill holds a B.A. in Religion from Villanova University; a Certificate in Employee Benefit Administration from Georgetown University; and a Juris Doctorate from the George Mason University School of Law.  He is an Active Member of the Virginia State Bar.

Along with his wife and two sons, Bill resides in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.  He serves as chair of the board of Philadelphia Works, an organization that connects employers to a skilled workforce and helps individuals develop the skills needed to thrive in the workplace.

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‚ÄčNicole Tranchitella

Senior Managing Director
Accenture

Biography

Nicole Tranchitella is a Senior Managing Director within Accenture’s Products Consulting practice and is the Global Client Account Lead for a Fortune 50 corporation. With over 25 years of consulting experience, Nicole's primary expertise is enabling business transformation programs which she has done across multiple industries including Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Chemicals, and Energy. 

Nicole is also the Philadelphia Office Managing Director for Accenture focusing on our market and community presence and supporting our 2300+ Accenture personnel.  She is member of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the CEO Council for Growth.  Nicole is a past recipient of the 40 Under 40 award, YWCA Women of Distinction and the Tech Impact Founders award. 

Nicole is married with three children and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.  A lifelong resident in the area, she is an avid Philly sports fan and enjoys spending time with her family (and dog) particularly at the shore, reading, and recently completed her first triathlon in August of last year.

April Walker Headshot

April Walker

Senior Vice President of Customer Success
Salesforce

Biography

April a digital transformation expert, board member, published author, industry thought-leader and C-suite advisor. A career spanning more than 30 years, April has held leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. She has been the catalyst for driving change, direction, and developing enterprise-wide and global strategies for digital transformation and innovation for a myriad of Fortune 500 companies that include: MetLife, NBCUniversal, and AOL Time Warner.

Today, April serves as the Senior Vice President of Customer Success for the Manufacturing, Automotive, and Energy (MAE), Canada and SMB Operating Units in Northern America at Salesforce. She is responsible for leading the team that makes every customer committed to Salesforce for life across a $3B+ business. Her remit further includes, marshalling all customer resources to address customer satisfaction, adoption, professional services, and renewal issues, resulting in clear accountability, consistent service, and a unified approach to the Salesforce customer. In this role, she carries lead responsibility for Customer Satisfaction and Success through the sale and delivery of Salesforce’s Premier and Services products and add-ons.

Most recently, she was Microsoft’s General Manager of the US Microsoft Technology Center. In this role, she led a national organization and was accountable for fifteen technology innovation centers and industry centers-of-excellence across the US. In this capacity she led a team of technical and industry experts chartered to guide industry leaders and enterprises with achieving their digital transformation goals and helping them to become digital businesses.

April an avid learner – she received her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as an Executive Certification in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Additionally, she possesses an M.S. in Engineering Management from George Washington University and a B.S. in Global Business from the University of Maryland. April is an adjunct professor for the executive MBA program at Drexel University's Lebow College of Business. She has amassed a notable portfolio of published articles on emerging technology trends and industry transformation and frequently sought after for speaking engagements across the US.

It is April's mission to do her part in bridging the digital divide and to advocate for women and communities of color to explore careers in STEM - and she sits on non-profit boards that contribute to this mission. Appointed by the Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney to the Philadelphia Works board, she serves in the capacity as an officer and Treasurer and helps to lead efforts for digital skilling for the community at-large. She was the recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal's 2020 Women of Distinction award and previously featured in 'Essence Magazine's' Careers To Watch, and most recently recognized by Radio-One, the largest urban radio network in the country as one their ‘Power of Women” honorees.