Professional Development
Founders / Leadership / Roundups

Power Moves: Smart-city leader Ellen Hwang is joining the Knight Foundation

Plus, former Monetate chief Lucinda Duncalfe has a new gig, and Blackfynn hired a doc.

Ellen Hwang leading a smart cities workshop at Tech in the Commons 2018. (Photo by Christopher Wink)

Ellen Hwang, a director at the City of Philadelphia with a focus on Philly’s approach to smart cities, has stepped down and accepted a new role leading the local program of Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

News of Hwang’s selection comes four months after the departure of former Philly director Patrick Morgan, who made the reverse move by leaving Knight to take a job in local government, more specifically as the Parks and Recreation department’s first deputy commissioner for strategy and engagement.

The 31-year-old Hwang, often found leading stakeholder meetings or connecting with community-based organizations, most recently spearheaded the City’s SmartCityPHL initiative in close collaboration with the Office of Innovation and Technology. In February, she was recognized for her work at the launch of the initiative’s roadmap, created with backing from Knight.

Hwang starts her new job Monday.

What’s first on the priority list? Getting acclimated with the foundation’s ongoing investments and building off of that momentum, she told

“The bottom line is the foundation’s mission of civic engagement and having informed residents,” Hwang said. “A lot of exciting things to look forward to, but I’ll first be spending time meeting with grantees and broadening our understanding of their work.”

Any regrets or items left on the to-do list at the City? Hwang said the SmartCityPHL push was always more about the collaboration than any one person leading it, and that she’s excited about how tech could help solve Philly’s civic issues.

“Leaving is bittersweet but the initiative itself is in good hands,” Hwang said. “I think the leadership is supportive and the advisory committee is a wonderful group that brings a lot of different perspective. It’s going to be exciting to see what unfolds. I’m excited for everyone who will carry on the work.”


Lucinda Duncalfe, the former Monetate CEO who stepped down in August of last year citing both family and business reasons, has taken on a new role: that of executive chairman at South Jersey-based recruiting software firm Thrive TRM.

Duncalfe, now based in Brooklyn, said in an emailed statement she first learned of the company as a customer.

“I mentioned to our recruiter how great the platform was for keeping me current on a search and allowing me to easily communicate status to my board of directors,” Duncalfe said. “She passed along the compliment and the next thing I knew, I was on the other side of the table enabling other hiring teams to enjoy the same experience I had.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano reports that Duncalfe, who still serves on the Monetate board, will remain Brooklyn-based, and will join Thrive’s staff of 28 “on weekly visits and to convene retreats in New York once a month.”

“Now that Thrive TRM has 100+ enterprises, VC and PE firms, and recruiting firms as customers, it’s no longer the industry’s best kept secret,” said Duncalfe. Her job, she told the Inquirer, will be to help sort the “tremendous number of strategic options” for growing the firm.


Center City data analytics company Blackfynn, makers of an analytics platform for neuroscience researchers, have added Dr. Karl Kieburtz, to its leadership team.

The neurologist, who pioneered clinical development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, will join Blackfynn as head of clinical development and real world evidence. He’s also currently the director of the Clinical Coordinating Center for Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, the home of a flagship study at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for which Blackfynn provides its data analytics platform.

“I am excited to join Blackfynn and shape our data strategy, develop a real-world evidence base and engage with industry partners and regulators,” Kieburtz said. “The combination of accessing the right data, engaging our expert network and utilizing our proprietary data platform uniquely positions Blackfynn to derive new insights from complex data that could lead to new, data-driven treatments for neurological diseases.”

Companies: Blackfynn / City of Philadelphia / Knight Foundation
Series: Power Moves

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