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Innovation

An invitation to the White House. Three business leaders report from the nation's capital

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Several Pittsburgh business leaders received invitations to the White House this month for a discussion on job creation, business opportunities for women and new ways to fuel the nations economy and manufacturing sector.
 
Rebecca Harris, Chatham University’s director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, and Lynn Banaszak Brusco, executive director of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute (DHTI) at CMU, attended the White House Business Council and Business Forward roundtable discussion.
 
Ilana Diamond, director of Innovation Works’ AlphaLab Gear, attended the White House Mayors Manufacturing Summit, where she touted Gear’s success in supporting manufacturing startups and offered suggestions on how others might replicate the program in their own communities.
 
The Business Council discussion was convened by Sam Brown, director, and brought White House senior officials together with local business leaders from across the country. The primary purpose was to enlighten the administration on ways to support the national job economy and increase the pace of recovery and job creation, says Harris.
 
“Much of the information will be reviewed by the President for possible inclusion in the State of the Union address,” she adds.
 
For her part, Harris highlighted the need for more support for women in business, especially in accessing capital and providing opportunities to serve on corporate boards. A recent study, she noted, reports that inclusive companies where women serve on the boards perform more successfully than those with all-male boards.
 
“It is critical that the issues that women in business face be represented at these discussions and become part of agenda for the President's State of the Union upcoming address,” she says.
 
Adds Brusco: “I was pleased to see that the administration is focusing on innovation as a key driver in the delivery of health care. Our institute is built around the mission of researching and deploying new technologies to help reduce health care costs and improve outcomes for patients.  People across our community and our country have begun to demonstrate a restlessness regarding health care. 
 
At DHTI, we are abandoning the old model of innovation, where a great idea is hatched and cultivated, and a market is sought later.  We know the market exists–better health care at a lower cost–and that the nation is demanding it. The market demand is our starting point. Working backward, DHTI is using the insurance data of Highmark and the expertise of the faculty at CMU to meet that surging market need. We were excited to be part of this White House dialogue that is driving future health care policy and implementation.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Lynn Banaszak Brusco, Ilana Diamond and Rebecca Harris
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