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Economics / Entrepreneurs / Innovation

Power Moves: Philly’s smart cities director takes top innovation role at SEPTA

Plus, PIDC loses its longterm leader, the Center for Breakthrough Medicines gets a chief people officer, more hires at the Economy League and a new COO for Cesium.

Emily Yates Giulioni. (Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, gig or promotion? Email us:

After more than two years as Philadelphia’s smart city director, Emily Yates Giulioni has taken on a new role as SEPTA‘s chief innovation officer.

She came to the position in April to lead efforts measuring increase in ridership, sense of safety, sustainability, and increasing the sense of value of the transit authority. The role sat vacant for about a year before that, she said, and she’s excited to work on the org’s sustainability playbook.

In the two years she spent as smart city director, Yates Giulioni had many projects she was excited about, but three stand out to her: Work on food access, a pavement improvement project, and work to grab microscale urban data to analyze the level of public space investment needed in certain neighborhoods.

In 2019, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology released its Smart Cities Roadmap, a document that guided how the city would approach innovation thinking. It became an essential guide when the pandemic started, Yates Giulioni said.

“I was so thankful for that,” she said. “It helped us many times answer the question, ‘What does a smart city look like in a post-COVID world?’ It’s shaped the way cities work.”

There’s often the thinking that innovation work needs to implement the newest technologies, Yates Giulioni said. But to her, it means taking smart data and applying it new solutions, including to meet equity goals. And she hopes to bring that type of thinking to her new role.

“The opportunity doesn’t come up often to lead innovation in a large transit authority, and I believe in the role that transit plays in the resilience and recovery of a city,” she said. “I want to take my learnings from this previous role and have an impact, and help stand the city and the surrounding counties up.”

PIDC loses its leader

This month, Anne Bovaird Nevins, long-time senior leader and president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), announced she will be transitioning out of her role after 15 years with the organization. She was appointed to the role of president in 2020, and was tasked with restart the economic momentum of the city and reimagining the city’s economic future.

Under Bovaird Nevins’ leadership, PIDC has deployed more than $71 million in COVID-19 relief to more than 5,200 small businesses, serving more businesses over the last two years than the organization had in the previous 40 years, the City said in a statement. Of those, more than 65% of business relief dollars went to minority-owned enterprises. During her tenure, PIDC also invested more than $32 million in 16 commercial and mixed-use projects led by developers of color throughout Philadelphia.

Previous to her time leading the organization, she served as PIDC’s chief strategy and communications officer and SVP for marketing and business development. She told the Philadelphia Business Journal Wednesday that she wasn’t yet sure what her next step is, but she’ll be building on her work and mission with PIDC, with three lenses: racial equity, the future of work and environmental sustainability.

“Through periods of prosperity and immense challenge over the past 15 years, Anne has been a critical advocate working to drive economic growth throughout every neighborhood in Philadelphia and I’m incredibly grateful for her service at PIDC, including her last two years as President,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “With her passion and ingenuity, Anne has helped lead the talented PIDC team working to deliver resources to businesses and spur development projects, which will have a lasting and positive impact for years to come.”

Center for Breakthrough Medicine gets a chief people officer

King of Prussia’s Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) appointed Joe Lingle as its chief people officer this month, where he will oversee HR, talent management, workplace experience and DEI initiatives. He will help to advance the mission of “saving lives,” which CBM does by supporting the development and manufacturing of advanced therapies, through ensuring the org hires and retains the best talent needed to get there, CBM said in a statement.

Lingle brings experience in life sciences, having focused on the integration and expansion of the cell therapy operations at Bristol Myers Squibb. Overall, he has more than 30 years of experience in engineering, biotech manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, change management and global operations with large pharma organizations including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis before transitioning into executive level roles in human resources.

“We are thrilled to have Joe join our executive team,” CEO Joerg Ahlgrimm said. “Not only is his unique background in engineering and biotechnology a perfect fit for CBM, but he is a roll-up his sleeves team player who will make an immediate and profound impact on our company, its employees and our many clients.”

Economy League welcomes two new faces

A recent leadership changeup at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia meant J’nelle Lawrence was leaving behind her role as Philadelphia Anchors For Equity and Growth (PAGE) director for a promotion. Since then, the nonprofit announced it’s hired two new faces: Maritza Pedlar joins as Impact Labs program director and Johnathan Sterling is the new PAGE community manager.

Pedlar runs the Impact Labs program, a social innovation incubator focused on scaling community-driven solutions to complex challenges, as with its Well City Challenge. She brings a breadth of experience in evaluating and implementing community-based interventions and industry clinical trials ranging in health foci from sexual reproductive health to podiatric medicine.

And Sterling, a Philly native, works with the rest of the PAGE team to stimulate supplier diversity within Philadelphia’s anchor institutions, giving small Black and brown-owned businesses a route to opportunities and resources. Before joining the Economic League, he was a property manager in the State College area after graduating from Pennsylvania State University.

Cesium has a new COO

3D geospatial company Cesium welcomed Yonathan Anatolii Ast as its COO last month, CEO Patrick Cozzi said in a blog.

Anatolii Ast brings a mix of business development and operational experience, including international business via Japan, digital transformation for construction, venture investing, and legal experiences. He’s a lifelong gamer, and has been inspired by 3D engines and the artistic and technical skill employed in the development of games for a long time, per the blog.

“He understands and admires Cesium’s roots and will exemplify them as he helps us scale the business to realize the potential of 3D geospatial in the metaverse,” Cozzi said.

Companies: Center for Breakthrough Medicines / Cesium / Economy League of Greater Philadelphia / Office of Innovation and Technology / SEPTA
Series: Power Moves

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