ThinkFest Recap: 3 Takeaways From Stephen Tang on Immigrant Entrepreneurs

University City Science Center president and CEO Stephen Tang at ThinkFest 2016.

University City Science Center president and CEO Stephen Tang at ThinkFest 2016.

University City Science Center president and CEO Stephen Tang made a compelling case for immigrant entrepreneurs at ThinkFest on Tuesday.

The son of two Chinese immigrants himself, Tang argued that immigrants, who are responsible for starting more than half of the new companies in Silicon Valley between 2005 and 2015, are the living embodiment of the American Dream. Immigrants start more than a quarter of the country’s companies. In Philadelphia, the wildly popular startup ROAR for Good, which makes wearable technology for women’s self-defense, was founded by Yasmine Mustafa, who came to Philadelphia at the age of eight as a Kuwaiti refugee from the Persian Gulf War. Dr. Wan Shih of Drexel University immigrated from Taiwan and developed a revolutionary portable radiation-free breast cancer test at the university that’s now being used to save lives around the world. Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: 3 Takeaways From Madeline Bell on CHOP’s Future

Madeline Bell and Lucinda Duncalfe in discussion at ThinkFest 2016.

Madeline Bell and Lucinda Duncalfe in discussion at ThinkFest 2016.

Before Madeline Bell became president and CEO of CHOP, she was the hospital’s chief operating officer for eight years — and before ever getting into a leadership role, she was a pediatric nurse working the night shift.

“Careers are not linear,” Bell told the audience at ThinkFest on Tuesday in an interview with Monetate CEO Luncinda Duncalfe. Her nontraditional path to the leadership of one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals — CHOP, with 50 locations and 14,000 employees, brings in about $2.5 billion a year — is one for the books. Few organizations in the region have women at the helm, let alone women on their boards or in other top executive positions.

Bell’s career has been about taking chances and taking on opportunities that fell outside of her comfort zone. Over time she’s come to champion the elevator pitch as an effective tool for highlighting accomplishments women tend to downplay for fear of coming off as “self-promoting.”

As CHOP’s president and CEO for more than a year now, Bell identified her top priorities as CEO and where she sees CHOP in the next 20 years. Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: 3 Takeaways From Otis Bullock Jr. on Generational Poverty


Otis Bullock Jr. still remembers the first time he understood the depths of the poverty that he was born into in North Philadelphia.

It was 1996, and Bullock was getting ready to start his freshmen year at West Chester University. He was there thanks to an academic scholarship the school awarded him, making him the first person in his family to ever attend college. It was an inspiring moment in Bullock’s journey, which was recounted in Philadelphia magazine writer Steve Volk’s acclaimed feature on generational poverty. But he quickly realized a depressing truth: just because he had broken through a personal barrier didn’t mean he was on equal footing with his fellow students.

“I came to West Chester University with a duffel bag. That’s all I had,” Bullock told Farrah Jimenez,,the president of the Philadelphia Education Fund, during a Q&A at ThinkFest on Tuesday. “And I see all of my peers. Their parents were there with them. They’re unloading televisions, they’re unloading video games. They’re set for the year. They have everything they need. Honestly, I didn’t realize how poor I was until that moment, until I realized how much of a disadvantage that I was working at just from being poor.” Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: 3 Takeaways From Jeff Yass on School Vouchers

Jeff Yass is a stock trader in the Philadelphia suburbs. He is a board member of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. He has donated millions of dollars to support Republican and Democratic candidates, including a pro-Tony Williams super PAC in the 2015 mayoral race. And today at Philadelphia magazine’s ThinkFest event, he said he has an idea that can make Philly go from being the poorest big city in the country to the richest. Yeah, he can be a little hyperbolic. But you should still give him a listen. Read more »

ThinkFest Recap: 5 Takeaways From Apu Gupta on Philly’s Tech Scene

Bob Moul and Apu Gupta in conversation at ThinkFest 2016.

Bob Moul and Apu Gupta in conversation at ThinkFest 2016.

Unicorns are overrated. That’s according to Curalate CEO Apu Gupta.

His startup may one day be valued at a billion dollars, but Gupta, in conversation with Bob Moul at ThinkFest on Tuesday, casually told the audience that it’s silly to measure a company by its valuation.

In the past, the tech community gawked in awe at startups valued at a million or more, and now the wonder lies with companies valued at a billion or more. But to Gupta, a company’s valuation has nothing to do with what it can build or the kind of impact it can have on people or a region. Read more »

ThinkFest: Fried Chicken And Kale Smoothies


Today at Thinkfest, we put Nicole Marquis (HipCityVeg), Justin Rosenberg (Honeygrow) and Steve Cook (Federal Donuts, Dizengoff)–three of the most successful fast-casual operators in the city–together on one stage and let Danya Henninger grill them (see what I did there?) for an hour about their businesses. The big question was how the quick serve/fast casual business model is revolutionizing and drastically re-shaping the food scene in Philly and beyond, but along the way they also got into some other issue. Like what the original name was for HipCityVeg (The Veggie Queen) and how companies like Apple and Starbucks informed the branding, naming and, ultimately, the creation of all these restaurants.

Read more »

Everything You Need to Know for ThinkFest Today


It’s finally here: ThinkFest 2016 starts now.

Ticket holders are in for a day of networking, storytelling, conversing, innovating and more – and it’s all kicking off this morning at the Michael A. Nutter Theatre in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

If you’re not there, don’t fret: you can watch the discussions unfold live on Facebook. Plus, follow the magazine on Twitter and Instagram for updates, and post with #ThinkFest to join the conversation. It’s one you won’t want to miss. Read more »

ThinkFest Preview: Stephen Tang on the Power of Immigrant Entrepreneurs


While some argue that America has an immigration problem, others see immigration as the country’s greatest economic promise.

Despite representing just 13 percent of the population, immigrants now start more than a quarter of new businesses in this country, and fast-growing businesses, too. Between 1995 and 2005, immigrant founders started 52 percent of all new Silicon Valley companies.

On November 15th, Stephen S. Tang, the president and CEO of the University City Science Center, will make the economic case for immigrant entrepreneurs in our region in a talk titled, “The Power and Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs.”

Tang has been at the helm of the Science Center for nearly a decade now. Under his leadership, the 53-year-old University City research campus has become a beacon of innovation for the region through commercialization programs like Phase 1 Ventures, company incubators like Innovation Center@3401, and community forum spaces like the popular Quorum.

Read more »

Thinkfest Preview: Inside Philly’s Quick Serve Revolution


We here at Foobooz have been infatuated with the quick-serve revolution for some time now. As booming as Philadelphia’s restaurant scene is, for every white table cloth or piece of reclaimed wood, there seems to be another opening in the fast-casual realm.

As part of Philadelphia magazine’s ThinkFest, happening on Tuesday, November 15th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, several Philadelphia leaders in the phenomenon will appear on stage together.  Hosted by Billy Penn’s Danya Henninger, Nicole Marquis (HipCityVeg), Steve Cook (Federal Donuts, Dizengoff) and Justin Rosenberg (Honeygrow) will be on stage for an exciting conversation on Philadelphia’s quick-serve food revolution.

Read more »

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