Awards / Entrepreneurs / Roundups

Power Moves: Sylvester Mobley honored on Forbes’ inaugural 50 Champions List

Plus, Thomas Jefferson University's president is retiring, a new commercialization role is at the University City Science Center, Philly Mag names its Most Influential, and peep top appointments at biotech and therapeutics companies.

Coded by Kids CEO Sylvester Mobley. (Photo courtesy of Coded by Kids)

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? Email us:

Coded by Kids founder and CEO Sylvester Mobley is one of 50 “champions” on a new list by Forbes honoring Black and brown industry leaders for their impact and service in underserved communities.

The list honors those who are tech innovators, TV executives, social justice activists, physicists and more. Mobley joins the ranks aside notable activists and artists including Colin Kaepernick and Issa Rae as well as investors such as Arlan Hamilton and fintech founder Angel Rich. “They all share the unique experience of being Black or Brown, empowered and ready to champion the narrative around the importance of creative partnerships and intentional investment strategies  that can help to create long-term, generational wealth,” per Forbes.

Mobley was touted for his work with the tech education nonprofit, so far reaching more than 1,200 Philly students. He also recently launched Plain Sight Capital, an early-stage VC firm and incubator that invests in early-stage companies by underrepresented founders.

“Thank you for recognizing my work with Coded by Kids and Plain Sight Capital, as well as the work of these great individuals strengthening Black and Brown communities,” Mobley wrote in a LinkedIn post. “The sum of talent, drive and vision on this list gives me great hope for our next generation.”

Also featured on the list from Philadelphia is Erinn Corbett-Wright, VP and program for the TD Charitable Foundation.


After eight years in the position, Thomas Jefferson University’s Stephen Klasko is retiring from his role as president and CEO, the university announced earlier this month. The transition is expected to happen at the end of this year.

Stephen Klasko, at the helm of the new institution, says the connection to tech will remain.

Stephen Klasko. (Courtesy photo)

The obstetrician and gynecologist led the hospital through much growth and the recent acquisition of Einstein Healthcare Network. The hospital system reports that it now employs more than 45,000 people and operates 3,600 hospital beds from Lansdale to Washington Township, Gloucester County.

Jefferson said Klasko will remain a special advisor to the board of trustees for the innovation and philanthropy pillars through July 1, 2022. Emeritus Board Trustee Richard Haverstick, Jr. will serve as interim president and CEO as of Jan. 1, 2022.

“I’m most proud of the people at Jefferson, who responded as heroes these past 18 months,” Klasko said in a statement. “Together we have re-imagined what health, education and research can be for the future, and I believe Jefferson is on course to lead that revolution.”

The university said that in his retirement, Klasko will be exploring how America can “concentrate on the critical need to reform America’s fragmented, disconnected and expensive healthcare system, and instead create a new system of health assurance which helps patients and families live their best lives.”


Troy Wilford. (Courtesy photo)

University City Science Center earlier this year welcomed a new role of director of commercialization solutions via healthcare consultant Troy Wilford. His role involves helping the Science Center’s early-stage startups and companies as they generate their first revenue, develop products, grow and raise capital.

The new director had been attending Science Center gatherings since 2019, and grew up in the region, attending Drexel University for both undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, he said in a recent Q&A. That experience gave him an observational approach to problem-solving, and he worked in both product development and commercialization roles before combining those skills for this role.

“To me, Commercialization Solutions means creating and nurturing relationships within the broad innovation community, that allow the Science Center to continue to provide that support as our companies progress along their individual journeys,” Wilford said.

When he’s not at work, he’s focusing on family time, the director said, and some of his favorite things about Philadelphia include its food scene, sports and arts.

“I’ll go a bit deeper and say I am a huge fan of the city’s grit,” Wilford said. “From historic figures to iconic film and TV characters to a team mascot, grit really defines Philadelphia for me.”


Philadelphia Magazine’s annual list of most influential people was released this week, taking a look at who’s made an impact in the last year from government officials, top health experts and those influencing the region’s tech and business sectors.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. (Courtesy photo)

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts was named No. 2 again, same as last year, for the company’s efforts to connect people to broadband this year and its RISE program. Drexel prez John Fry lands No. 6 for the university’s role in life sciences and the growth of Schuylkill Yards project. Michael Forman, chairman and CEO of Navy Yard’s FS Investments, lands No. 9. And Jefferson president Stephen Klasko, though retiring, earns No. 10.

Unsurprisingly, as the duo has had quite a year, Gopuff cofounders Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola make No. 16 for their on-demand delivery company’s explosive growth. Other tech and biz pros on the list include Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley, First Round Capital founder Josh Kopleman, Jack-of-all-trades Tayyib SmithAfrican-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ & DE head Regina Hairston and The Enterprise Center CEO Della Clark.


Laura Johnson. (Photo via LinkedIn)

University of Pennsylvania spinout Verismo Therapeutics, behind a novel multi-chain KIR-CAR platform technology for CAR T-cells, announced this month that it appointed Laura Johnson as its chief scientific officer. She joins the startup from GlaxoSmithKline Oncology, where she held roles as its head of preclinical translational research and of clinical biomarkers for cell and gene therapy in its Experimental Medicine Unit.

Verismo is on track to bring its first asset into first-in-human clinical trials in 2023, the company said. The KIR-CAR platform technology was developed specifically for advanced solid tumors, and was developed by the team at Penn that’s behind the Kymriah, the first approved CAR T-cell therapy. The company said it’s raised $16 million in seed funding led by HLB Pharmaceuticals and HLB, Ltd., a biopharma conglomerate in Korea.

“Laura brings over 20 years of leadership in the field of gene-engineered cell therapy research and development targeting solid tumors and stands among the scientific founders of the KIR-CAR platform,” Bryan Kim, CEO, said in a statement. “Laura’s focus and dedication to the project will help drive our successful clinical development and establish KIR-CAR therapy as a leading treatment for solid tumor indications.”


Pre-commercialization diagnostics company Senzo, makers of five-minute COVID-19 test COVID-19 ALF, announced the appointment of Philadelphia-based Jeremy Stackawitz as its CEO Tuesday. Stackawitz joins the company after a nearly 13 year tenure at diagnostics company Quotient Limited, of which he spent a decade as its president.

Senzo was founded in 2019 by San Francisco-based Aron Rachamim, and has offices in London and Los Angeles. Stackawitz will hold his role as CEO from the Philly area, a spokesperson confirmed.

“Jeremy has both a deep understanding of the industry and the real-world operational experience needed to move our innovation from the clinic to the customer at speed, which, in the current environment, is what really matters,” Rachamim said in a release.

Companies: Gopuff / Thomas Jefferson University / Vanguard / Coded by Kids / Forbes / Comcast / Drexel University / Enterprise Center / First Round Capital / GlaxoSmithKline / University City Science Center
Series: Power Moves

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