Education / Entrepreneurs / Hiring / Leadership

Power Moves: RoseAnn Rosenthal, John Fry and Iola Harper have new titles and accolades

Plus, O3 World brings on a new chief digital officer, La Salle has a new president, and Stimulus and Tierney announce hires and promotions.

RoseAnn Rosenthal speaks on a Philly Tech Week 2011 panel. (Photo by Yusuf Muhammad)

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:

RoseAnn Rosenthal, the former longtime president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, recently signed on as managing director of the Wilmington-based nonprofit Delaware Innovation Space’s First Fund.

Rosenthal announced she’d be leaving BFTP after 25 years in the summer of 2020. She continues working with the state-backed investor as a CEO emeritus and director emeritus, and began her role with DIS in January.

The First Fund offers startups access to DIS’ incubator labs, equipment and up to $200,000. The space was formed from a public-private partnership between the State of DelawareDuPont and the University of Delaware in 2017, and recently announced it would be adding another 50,000 square feet to its existing 100,000 square feet of lab and office space this spring.

“I think it’s important for the region to see itself as one, and to the degree that we can support the creation of very vibrant entrepreneurial and investment hubs across the region, we all benefit,” Rosenthal told the Philadelphia Business Journal. “So it’s fun to see yet another place sparking up and get it going with serious intent and resources.”

The Enterprise Center snags a past commerce leader

The Enterprise Center, a resource-focused business nonprofit in West Philadelphia, announced it had hired two new senior-level managers: Iola Harper and Timothy Roundtree. Harper will serve as the org’s senior EVP, while Roundtree will be its VP.

Iola Harper. (Courtesy photo)

Harper comes to the Enterprise Center from her role as the deputy commerce director for the City of Philadelphia, where she spent five years within the Department of Commerce. She previously worked for the Enterprise Center as both senior director and EVP before 2016. Her passion is in building up Black and brown business owners with financial, technical and contract opportunities, the Center said.

Roundtree also comes from the public sector, where he worked as deputy director of the Rebuild program, where he developed a plan to address barriers of inclusion within the building trades and other workforce disparities in Philadelphia.

“We are thrilled to bring aboard these two seasoned advocates for minority business development,” said Della Clark, president and CEO of The Enterprise Center, aid in a statement. “Iola and Timothy both have extensive track records for building up Black and brown business owners. As The Enterprise Center continues to expand our footprint both here in West Philadelphia and throughout the region, they will be invaluable assets in our work to ensure equitable growth for all small businesses.”

John Fry is honored

Drexel University President John Fry is the recipient of the 2021 William Penn Award, honoring the “outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region” for a business executive in Greater Philadelphia.

The award from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia has been given annually sine 1949. Fry has been Drexel’s president since 2010 and is being recognized now for his work on public-private partnerships and economic development in Greater Philadelphia, and especially University City, the Chamber said. That includes work with the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Drexel’s affiliation with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and the launch of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship to foster entrepreneurial learning, among other efforts.

“Few leaders in our city and region are as dynamic as John Fry. His exceptional vision and intellect have not only reimagined higher education, but revitalized Philadelphia neighborhoods and commercial corridors,” said Rob Wonderling, the Chamber’s outgoing president and CEO, in a statement. “John’s innovative work on behalf of all citizens is to be commended. We are honored to bestow this award on this outstanding civic leader.”

Urbanist Richard Florida in conversation with Drexel University President John Fry, May 2019. (Photo by

O3 World brings on a new chief digital officer

Digital agency O3 World announced at the end of last month that Mahesh Gaitonde had joined as the company’s chief digital officer. He comes from Capgemini, where he lead its content services practice for North America, and in his new role will help lead strategy and innovation work, as well as expand O3 World’s strategic partnerships.

Mahesh Gaitonde. (Photo via LinkedIn)

Company leaders said Gaitonde’s digital consultancy experience will help the Philadelphia firm to strengthen its core offerings, especially in end-to-end customer experience. He brings more than 20 years of experience in digital products and solution development to the table, and has worked in the healthcare, life sciences, media, retail and financial services industries.

“O3 recognizes that no matter your industry, this is a time of immense change that demands innovative solutions as customer expectations have never been higher,” Gaitonde said in a statement. “I’m excited to join a team that understands that every company must be digital-first, regardless of whether they serve B2B or B2C markets.”

La Salle has a new president

La Salle University announced Feb. 1 that it had selected Daniel Allen to be its new leader, starting April 18. Allen comes to the position from DePaul University, where he was SVP of university advancement and external relations.

Allen will replace Colleen Hanycz, who served as the Catholic school’s president from 2015 through June 2021. Timothy O’Shaughnessy has been serving as the school’s interim president during the nine-month search for a permanent replacement.

“As I moved through this process, it became clear to me that La Salle students embark on their lives and careers with a real-world readiness,” Allen said in a statement. “Their degree has a return on investment that is among the nation’s strongest, and that is a testament to an excellent and vibrant faculty. These have been hallmarks of this history-rich, mission-oriented university for nearly 160 years. I look forward to working with the La Salle community to chart the path forward for the next chapter of the university’s future.”

Stimulus adds a director

CIC Philly-based relationship intelligence SaaS platform maker Stimulus added Alec Senese to its team recently, as the director of sales and business development. He’s previously held roles at Bayer Crop Science, Field2Base, Sway UX, DZone Software and, and has worked as a consultant. He joined the Philly company this month.

Founder and CEO Tiffanie Stanard announced the news on LinkedIn, saying Senese brings more than 15 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies to the role.

“As a CEO, you picture your team before you actually start to put them in place because no matter how good of an idea you have, nothing matters more than execution,” Stanard wrote, “and you can’t execute without the best people.”

Alec Senese. (Photo via LinkedIn)

Tierney promotes a prez

Strategic communications firm Tierney has promoted Tracey Santilli to company president, it announced last week. Santilli has been with the company for two decades, and was most recently the company’s chief growth officer.

CEO Mary Stengel Austen said in a statement that Santilli had been “instrumental” in driving the company brand and business, and she’ll continue to “power innovation” and offerings for its clients. Austen’s statements about the role change, and Santilli’s, focused on reshaping culture within the company.

“Our people and the solutions they provide our clients are critical to our success, and Tracey has played a pivotal role in cultivating both,” Austen said. “With her stewardship, we will continue to invest in our culture and talent through our commitment to purposeful impact and our diversity, equity, inclusivity, belonging, and accessibility (DEIBA) work.”

In 2018, Santilli initiated the company’s first committee focused on DEI work, and is a member of the IPG Women’s Leadership Network. She also is the host of Tierney’s podcast, 29 stories, which focuses on telling career stories and advice of local industry leaders.

29 Stories podcast host Tracey Santilli (R) with guest Kim Fraites-Dow. (Courtesy photo)

Companies: Stimulus / Delaware Innovation Space / Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Enterprise Center / La Salle University / O3 World
Series: Power Moves

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