Citizen Diplomats are… Business Leaders

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Promoting Science & Technology Entrepreneurship

In March, Volpe and Koenig president Jay Halt with associates Rob Leonard and Dawn Kerner presented on U.S. intellectual property law and practices to a delegation of 21 science and technology entrepreneurs. “We really enjoyed the interaction with
the international entrepreneurs. They were an unbelievably engaged group, asking detailed questions about U.S. IP law and their businesses.“ To further promote Philadelphia’s support for incubating innovation and entrepreneurship, the group visited the Navy Yard, UCity Science Center and the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, as well as Delaware’s DowDuPont Experimental Station to learn how its disruptive clean technology work helps to alleviate poverty. Staff from U.S. Senator Chris Coons’ office met with the visitors to discuss the intersection of public policy with science and technology entrepreneurship.

Leading through Accessibility

Comcast hosted a Hungarian group in October and demonstrated  how investing in accessibility is tied to innovation and allows employees and customers to fully participate in the digital economy. Responding to questions about what jobs are available to those with disabilities, Fred Maahs, director of partnerships, said “you can be anything in this company regardless of disability because we hire people based on their experience and ability to work.” Leadership within the disabilities community is tapped to inform product development and the results are seen in the inclusive design for their websites and mobile applications as well as hardware. Thomas J. Wlodkowski, vice president of accessibility, who is visually impaired, detailed Comcast’s universal accommodations and then demonstrated smart glasses that allow a person to navigate Comcast’s buildings. Both the visitors and Comcast hosts gained from this experience. Fred Maahs said, “I am meeting people who share different abilities across the world, and we’re coming together to solve problems for everyone. We should get to the point where disability is not part of the equation.”

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