Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us: email@example.com.
Myra Norton was promoted to CEO at Baltimore-based Arena Analytics this month, stepping into the top day-to-day role as the company that uses predictive analytics to assemble teams is ready for its next stage of growth.
With the move, founder Michael Rosenbaum is following a similar pattern as he did at Baltimore’s Catalyte. The former White House economic advisor will remain in a role as executive chairman, which includes overseeing the company’s board, after leading the company through its early stages.
“Arena now has the product and the go to market moving, and the role of the next stage of this is scaling,” Norton said.
Norton joined the company, then known as Pegged Software, in 2012. About two years later, it formally spun out of Catalyte, then rebranded as Arena about two years after that.
Norton most recently held the position of president and COO. With the new role, Norton will take on more of the outward-facing roles with the company, and do less of the operational side. (Read more about her operational approach in Technical.ly’s 2019 interview.)
“This transition has been an organic one over the last couple of years, and this is the natural next step here,” Norton said. “We will continue to build out the leadership team as part of this next stage of growth.”
In a statement, Rosenbaum called Norton the “heart and soul of the company.”
"I think the most important thing I can do is scale Arena to be another fabulously successful tech company in the region, and that is what I intend to do."
“She has built the business with me over the past eight years, driving our mission and our customer focus with an unparalleled combination of left- and right-brained skills that run the gamut from exceptional data analytics to empathic human relations,” he said. “She is exactly what Arena needs as the company enters its next chapter of growth and impact in the world.”
Arena’s uses predictive analytics is designed to help employers and the folks seeking jobs determine the roles and teams where the employees would be most successful, and in the process eliminate unconscious bias that’s present in traditional hiring and HR processes. The Otterbein-based company’s technology is used in healthcare, including post-acute care, skilled nursing and senior living providers. In 2020, it expanded into hospitality and restaurants. In 2021 it has already gained employees, with a current team of 55 after starting the year with 37.
Norton sees a “huge opportunity” in its current markets. There’s still room for growth in healthcare, for one.
“We also think that other markets, particularly in what is likely to be a volatile labor market for some time, are ripe for the transformation that Arena represents,” Norton said. “Our initial work in hospitality and restaurants is demonstrating this, and we’re excited to continue expanding on this front — increasing our footprint in new markets enables us to bring even greater value to all markets where we are serving employers and job seekers.
Norton is active in the local innovation ecosystem. She is chair of the board at TEDCO, the state’s early-stage startup support agency, and chairs the BmoreSTEM infrastructure workgroup, as well as being a member of Johns Hopkins’ Innovation, Development & Entrepreneurship Advisory (IDEA) board. We asked about how she views her role in community work from the CEO role.
“I think the most important thing I can do is scale Arena to be another fabulously successful tech company in the region, and that is what I intend to do,” she said. “I also think that building out our ecosystem is so critical for all of us, and that is why I, along with many of my colleagues, spend the time we do making sure that the nonprofit and governmental organizations that help scale the ecosystem thrive.”
Sonavi Labs CEO Ellington West was named to the 2021 Cartier Women’s Initiative North American Fellows. The initiative of the luxury goods brand honors 21 leaders from seven regions around the world each year.
Leading Pigtown-based Sonavi Labs, West became one of the few African American women to raise more than $1 million for a company as it completed a seed round in 2019. Sonavi Labs is developing a digital stethoscope platform, called Feelix, which uses acoustic technology and AI to detect abnormalities in lung and body sounds. The company received FDA clearance for its hardware last year. A news release states that the fellowship includes a “generous grant.”
“I am incredibly honored to be named a Cartier Women’s Initiative North American Fellow alongside other amazing women entrepreneurs dedicated to sustainable social and environmental change,” West said in a statement. “This program holds so much relevance right now — empowering women and women-owned businesses and supporting impact-driven companies that promote prosperity and protect the environment.”
Meet Ellington West, #CWI21 fellow for North America! Ellington is the Founder & CEO of @SonaviLabs, a business bringing AI-powered diagnostic technology to clinicians, health workers, patients and parents with its Feelix smart stethoscope. https://t.co/BI6zE7eXP9 pic.twitter.com/Mjmdu9rqnn
— Cartier Women's Initiative (@CartierAwards) April 30, 2021
We spotted Baltimore’s McKeever “Mac” Conwell II as one of the recipients of the Emerging Venture Leaders awards from national venture capital fellowship organization HBCUvc.
Named at the beginning this month, an announcement from HBCUvc said, “These individuals are rising changemakers in the industry and are committed to shifting the culture in pursuit of a more diverse and equitable venture capital ecosystem.”
Thank you @HBCUvc for naming me an Emerging Leader in Venture Capital! It feels amazing to be among such amazing investors on this list. Looking forward to continuing to support you on your mission the way yall have supported me!https://t.co/JuclUlt1fo#VentureCapital #vc pic.twitter.com/2hTDMY98LZ
— Mac the VC (@MacConwell) April 23, 2021
A longtime Baltimore tech leader bringing the perspective of a technologist, founder and investor, Conwell in 2020 launched pre-seed investment fund RareBreed Ventures, which aims to close an access gap when it comes to the “friends and family” round.
For its part, HBCUvc launched a fellowship program in November that is offering paid internships for students of historically black colleges and universities at 10 DMV investment firms.-30-