Adjustments and flexibility will be a defining hallmark of the workplace this year and well into next as the U.S grapples with escalating cases of COVID-19 from coast to coast, showing little signs of a slowdown.
The event space has been hit particularly hard as conferences and expos, by their very nature, conflict with new health and safety protocols regarding interactions, specifically maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds, and limiting time spent indoors with others.
A virtual tech health conference scheduled this week in Tampa reflects the new normal. Disrupt the Bay, held Aug. 6 and 7, will bring together entrepreneurs, chief information and security officers, doctors, researchers and other health industry workers to discuss pediatric cancer issues, industry trends and ongoing challenges in Florida, a lingering epicenter of the coronavirus, which had infected more than 461,000 residents and killed nearly 6,600 as of August 1.
“We’re bringing in leaders in innovation and disruption, not only from the entrepreneur side but from providers and some of the largest health care systems in the country to create synergy and move healthcare forward,” says event organizer and Tampa entrepreneur Stan Liberatore. “We’re bringing them all together in one room.”
Well, actually a virtual meeting space with interactive settings powered by St. Petersburg, Fla.-based startup Vsummits. Featured speakers include Google Health Advisory board member John Nosta, president of New Jersey healthcare think tank NostaLab and a founding member of the World Health Organization’s Digital Health Roster of Experts; Tampa General Hospital Chief Information Officer Scott Arnold; Sharon Finney, CIO of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital; and Advent Health CIO Kristy Kindler.
Panel discussions will focus on beating childhood cancer, cultivating healthcare innovation, COVID-19’s effect on health tech, healthcare cybersecurity, and women in leadership. A new segment will be devoted to mental health awareness and highlight rising professionals in mental health wellness and innovation. Additionally, a pitch competition will include several local healthcare services startups, including Blue Halo BioMedical, Immertec, Accelerated Health Benefits and CareValet.
Liberatore has long been a matchmaker. His career is steeped in tech staffing and talent search. He launched his first business, a mortgage brokerage firm, at 22. He later established No Limit Technology Inc. in 2017 as a tech staffing agency, and work quickly morphed into services, such as cloud, web and app consulting, enterprise software development, information technology and data analysis.
His latest venture, YourUnicorn, is blazing a path in the online dating sector. “Match-making is the same as recruiting,” he says. “You’re just taking something that’s B2B and you’re going direct to consumer.”
Disrupt the Bay, now in its second year, is more of a passion project for Liberatore, who chairs Save the Kids Foundation, which was established last year to help the fight against pediatric cancer through events and fundraising. Liberatore has had two friends lose children to cancer, and his business partner, Mike Delucia, who co-developed the conference, lost his younger brother in a battle with pediatric cancer as well. The hardships led him to search for a platform to fund childhood cancer research, a crucial area of need that has lost a spotlight amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Over time I figured out how to give back to my community,” says Liberatore, who will donate proceedings from the conference to nonprofits, Beat Childhood Cancer and Hope for ATRT. “This is how we’re going to do it.”
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