Professional Development

Power Moves: Danielle Cohn is leaving LIFT Labs, and Tech Elevator has a new Philly lead

Plus, new local leadership at Login.gov, Cantaloupe, Philadelphia OIC and more.

Danielle Cohn speaks at LIFT Labs' 2019 Demo Day.

(Technical.ly 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: philly@technical.ly.


Danielle Cohn is leaving LIFT Labs

Danielle Cohn announced she would be leaving her position as VP of startup engagement and head of LIFT Labs at Comcast NBCUniversal.

She announced the news on LinkedIn, and said she would be leaving in a few weeks to recharge and explore other opportunities.

“It’s been an honor to build and lead LIFT Labs for eight great years,” Cohn told Technical.ly. I feel very lucky to have the gift of time and support to recharge, and then choose or build my next adventure.”

Cohn thanked the founders, startup communities, partners and colleagues she’s worked with, adding that building LIFT labs has been a “once-in-a-career” opportunity.

She also thanked mentors from Comcast and its partners who have helped startups, adding that she plans to continue advising founders in the future.

“What an honor it has been to lead this important mission to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit sparked by Comcast’s Founder Ralph Roberts nearly 60 years ago,” she said. “As a Philadelphian, I’ve seen this company go from startup to Fortune 50. With so many connections, friendships, fond memories, and as the #1 Minions fan on the planet, I will always cheer for the entire company’s success.”

Lisa Sydney joined Tech Elevator

Lisa Sydney started as the new Philadelphia campus director for Tech Elevator this month.

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Her new role entails managing the coding bootcamp’s Philadelphia office and connecting with companies to let them know about Tech Elevator’s services, and connect them to graduating tech talent. She also works on outreach to the Philly community to engage people who might be interested in participating in a bootcamp.

“I really believe that there’s so much that our company and our program offers to people from all different walks of life to gain these skills versus going back and doing another full degree, a four-year degree or going to community college for a really long time,” she told Technical.ly. “I really love how we really stand behind what we do and have extremely high placement rates.”

Lisa Sydney in front of a blue background.

Lisa Sydney. (Courtesy photo)

Prior to this job, Sydney was the assistant director of adult learner advising and retention at St. Joseph’s University and has worked in the higher education workforce development space for about 15 years.

She said she wanted to take on a leadership position with more responsibility. She said she was also looking for a change and is excited to continue to work with the adult population, but in a different space in Philly.

“I really loved working in higher ed and workforce development and found that the student support was something was really important to me and working with students on finding success in school, and that’s something that I very much find I’m able to still do in my job that I really like and focus on the relationship management piece and networking around Philadelphia,” she said.

More local tech leadership changes

  • Dan Lopez started a new position this month as the director of the US General Services Administration’s Login.gov, a secure sign-in service used by government agencies, according to FCW. Lopez’s previous job was as director of software engineering at the City of Philadelphia.
  • Cantaloupe Inc. announced at the beginning of the month that Ravi Venkatesan would take over as CEO effective Oct. 1. Venkatesan was previously the company’s COO and will take over from Sean Feeny. Venkatesan will also take Feeny’s spot on the company’s board of directors.
  • Sheila Ireland was appointed to be president and CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC). Her previous position was deputy secretary of workforce development at PA Labor & Industry, and she previously worked as executive director of the Office of Workforce Development for the City of Philadelphia (now a part of the Department of Commerce). Overall, she has about 25 years of experience in workforce development leadership.

Sheila Ireland. (Technical.ly photo)

  • The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia announced this week that Michael Innocenzo, president and CEO of PECO, will serve as its next board chair starting in Oct. Innocenzo has been on the board since 2018 and its executive committee since 2019.
  • Kimberly Shernoff will be the new sales enablement director at Relative Insight, a text analysis software company, and lead its Philadelphia office. Prior to this role, she was an independent coach for businesses and sales executives. She has worked in sales and recruitment at IBM and was a professor at Bucks County Community College.
  • Christine Knapp announced on LinkedIn that she would be joining the US Department of Energy as the community innovation and technical assistance program manager. Prior to this, she worked as director of the Office of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia.
  • The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia announced that Liz Thompson would be the new director of the chamber’s Arts + Business Council. Thompson has over 14 years of experience working in nonprofit management with a focus on arts and culture. She was previously the programs manager for creative community leadership development with the Arts + Business Council.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-
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