Pierluigi Mantovani is the co-founder and CEO of Evolution Devices, where they are helping people with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological diseases rehabilitate their walking with a remote physical therapy program enabled by a smart nerve stimulation wearable device. Specifically, Evolution Devices is helping people with foot drop pick up their foot to trip and fall less, and walk with more confidence. Pierluigi is a healthcare entrepreneur and former Neuroscience researcher at UCSF. Pierluigi received his BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley. He was inspired to build Evolution Devices initially to help his father, who struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. Pierluigi and The Evolution Devices team has been featured in multiple media outlets, and has been recognized by the NIH, NSF, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation for their innovations.
Peter is committed to improving the quality of life for people of all abilities and creating a barrier free, inclusive future for all to enjoy. This commitment led him to become the co-founder of MV-1 Canada, where he built and managed Canada’s largest national sales and warranty/service network, providing factory-built wheelchair accessible vehicles and warranty service to governments, fleets and families across Canada. Peter recognized that more could be done, so he put his experience and relationships to work and became the Co-Founder of MUVE, a ride hail/dispatching software platform specially designed to create and manage inclusive and sustainable transit systems of the future. Peter is thrilled to be part of such a robust and caring community-based company that recognizes the importance of sustainable and responsive public transit that is in tune with the needs of the entire community, regardless of their age, race, religion and ability. Peter’s goal is to go to work every day and know that his efforts are helping to affect positive change and lasting impact in the lives of those who need it most.
Lucy Jones is the founder and CEO of FFORA, a fashion lifestyle brand that primarily caters to people with disabilities. She believes in a world made accessible to all. Previously, she worked at Eileen Fisher as a “Social Innovator” sponsored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Welsh native Jones studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Fashion in New York. As a student, Jones received several accolades including the prestigious Royal Society of the Arts prize for “Design Innovation”. Upon graduation in 2015, Jones was awarded Parsons Womenswear Designer of the Year, Kering “Empowering Imagination” Award, and shortly after named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the “Arts & Style” category. In 2016 Jones was invited to The White House to attend a “Design for All” conference. In addition, she has been recognized by the CFDA, winning the inaugural grand prize of the Elaine Gold Launch Pad in 2018, and also exhibited work in the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and currently has work on display at the “Design for Different Futures Exhibit”, a two-year exhibition. Jones’ work has been featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Vogue.com, Business of Fashion, BBC, CFDA, NPR, Forbes, Fast Company, Seventeen Magazine, WWD, Id Vice, Independence Care Systems, AOL online, ITV Wales, Vogue, The Impression, Plan de Ville, Fashionista amongst others. Most recently, Jones starred in a global Microsoft campaign, highlighting the work and community of FFORA.
Oro Sports co-founder, Luanne DiBernardo, started her cooling journey in 2008 with her brother Van DiBernardo, a former DKNY designer challenged by the side effects of Multiple Sclerosis. Her company, then called Coolture, was founded to develop the first “lifestyle” cooling vest for people with heat intolerance due to chronic conditions.
Luanne officially launched Coolture in 2010, started manufacturing and selling in 2013, then reorganized as Oro Sports LLC in January 2020. She partnered with Tom Burns, CEO of the cut-and-sew facility that stitched every Coolture cooling garment since its start. Luanne is responsible for product development, brand management, and marketing. The dynamics of this partnership puts design, manufacturing, and customer service under one roof. This advantage finds Oro Sports ahead of the curve in product development, quality control, and private label/product partner opportunities.
In September of 2019, Luanne partnered with the University at Buffalo to develop an improved cooling technology with Dr. Shenqiang Ren, PhD Professor and Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University at Buffalo. A Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Grant facilitated the development of a unique cooling technology that remains flexible when frozen to temperatures colder than ice. Oro Sports will have the exclusive license for this new technology.
Previous to founding Coolture, Luanne lived in Sarasota, Florida, where she worked in advertising at Chris Craft Industries and Donzi Marine Corporation, the iconic boat manufacturers. She later founded her own agency, which she operated for five years. After receiving a $250,000 grant for her first screenplay, Luanne closed her agency and went into production with her first feature-length film, “Blowfish”. The film earned Luanne three screenwriting awards (Austin Film Festival, Flagstaff International Film Festival, and Orlando International Film Festival), in addition to a residency at The Seaside Institute.
David Lyons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2006 at the age of 47. A bodybuilder and former owner of fitness centers, Lyons made the choice to fight MS head-on through bodybuilding. He founded the MS Bodybuilding Challenge in 2008, and in 2009, at age 50, competed in his first bodybuilding contest with MS, winning a Most Inspirational trophy. He went on to be presented with the Milestone Award by the National MS Society for his accomplishments. In 2012, Lyons and his wife, Kendra, a registered nurse, created the MS Fitness Challenge to support people with MS in their efforts to stay as fit as possible, overcome limitations, and keep their bodies moving. The cause also educates trainers on fitness for MS.
In 2013 Lyons received the Health Advocate of the Year Award alongside fitness icon Lou Ferrigno and in 2015, he was honored by bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger with the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016 Lyons received the Lifetime Fitness Inspiration Award from the Global Bodybuilding Organization, an international fitness federation, and in 2017 was acknowledged by the National Fitness Hall of Fame (NFHOF) with a Special Recognition Award. Later that year he was asked to be one of the Founding Partners of the NFHOF Institute for education and in 2019 David was the only fitness expert with MS to be inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Lyons has been named the Most Dedicated MS Fitness Expert worldwide by both Global Health and Pharma and Global 200 in 2019 and 2020. He was voted as one of the Top 100 Healthcare Leaders by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare in 2020.
Lyons is the author of David’s Goliath, an autobiographical story of his journey with MS, and his fitness book, Everyday Health and Fitness with Multiple Sclerosis, a #1 New Release on Amazon is for anyone who wants to get in top shape while battling physical or emotional obstacles to getting started.
David is engaged in many fitness initiatives for MS, including being the author of the MS trainers’ courses for both the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) and the MedFit Education Foundation; and speaking on MS and fitness at the nationwide Medical Fitness Tour.
In his latest branding venture, David has created a unique fitness website for the MS community under his OptimalBody brand called the OptimalBody Training Program for MS. This interactive platform educates and trains people with MS in his one of a kind Training Methods that creates neuroplasticity, muscle fiber activation, and brain to muscle reconnection.
Brooke Slick is a spirited MS advocate, podcast host and blogger who counsels and connects with patients of all levels of disability from around the world.
Since MS entered her life 19 years ago, she has taken the long and unpredictable walk from able-bodied go-getter to disabled motivator. She draws on her personal experience of living through the physical decline of a once able body to thrive beyond the disability with a positive outlook that transcends any physical shortcomings.
If there is a bright side to a situation, she is going to find it and she’s not going to rest until you are able to pull yourself into the light as well. Her personal mantra, ‘disabled does not mean unable’ is a guiding force behind her message. She vows to empower people living with MS by helping to recalibrate the way they think about themselves and their future with a potentially disabling disease. She wants them to know there is happiness and worthiness to be found beyond your diagnosis.
Brooke’s time spent blogging her multiple sclerosis treatment journey while living in Moscow, Russia, for her followers from over 90 countries at www.msslick.com, and continuing to blog her everyday life at www.brookeslick.com has served her well as she transitioned to full-time advocate. Saying out loud what others are thinking but are afraid to share is her forte. She believes truth telling can heal the soul and free you of a self-encumbered future.
Since May of 2019, she’s used her voice and connections within the MS community as a host of The MS Gym Podcast with download numbers doubling since she came on board. Never wanting to miss out on any segment of the MS community, her episodes have featured anything from applying for Social Security disability, to diets, to depression. Most recently, she was asked to host the MS Gym’s 2020 Virtual Thrive Summit where she interviewed renowned experts in the fields of telemedicine, anxiety, nutrition and the MS connection to the Epstein Barr virus. Brooke’s story has been shared in publications such as the book and podcast, Healthcare Elsewhere, as well as many newspapers, newscasts and medical publications. Using her own experience as a stepping stone, for the past seven years she has been the lead admin for a global group of 7000+ members seeking stem cell transplants for various autoimmune diseases. In addition, she has a loyal following from the autoimmune sector on Instagram and Facebook.
Last, but definitely not least, Brooke created and subsequently patented a versatile mobility/assistive device aimed at providing its users with the independence, relevance and engagement in life that they deserve. She is currently seeking manufacturers to entertain licensing the device while providing international distribution to users in need around the globe. Originally from Pennsylvania, with a legal, medical and marketing background, Brooke spent 10 years based in New York City while traveling the world, and five more in South Florida where her daughter was born, before returning to her roots in Pennsylvania with her husband, Doug.
Tish is the co-founder and CEO of GRIT, a social enterprise that believes every person, regardless of their physical ability, deserves access to the outdoors and adventure. Tish graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an SB in Mechanical Engineering, and she uses her design skills to create products that enable people with disabilities to enjoy life beyond the pavement. She is a designer of the Freedom Chair, GRIT’s flagship line of all-terrain wheelchairs.
Over the past decade Tish has collaborated with programs around the country to expand access to adaptive hiking, including adaptive sports programs, parks, Veterans organizations, community groups, and other like-minded partners. She has spoken at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and TEDx Boston, among others. Tish is a 2009 Truman Scholar for her dedication to public service. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, including hiking and camping.
Angie Zavoral Conley has served as Abilitech’s President and Chief Executive Officer since founding the company in late 2016. Under Angie’s leadership, Abilitech Medical has won numerous awards, including both the Tekne Award for innovation from Minnesota High Tech Association and the Grand Prize and Top Woman-led Business at the Minnesota Cup – the largest state-led business competition. Abilitech has also been recognized as a Top 10 Medical Device Startup by MedTech Outlook; a Top 20 Medical Device Startup You Need to Know by MassDevice magazine; and a Top Promising Life Science Company by Rice University. In her role as President and CEO of Abilitech, Angie has raised over ten million dollars in equity funding and nearly two million dollars in non-dilutive funding.
Angie Conley’s broad work experience in the medical device industry directly translates to her role as CEO of Abilitech Medical. Prior to founding Abilitech, Angie held leadership roles in several different medical device companies, including working with exoskeletons at Magic Arms; peripheral and neurovascular atherectomy devices at ev3/Covidien; heart valves, instruments, telemonitoring equipment, external and implantable pacemakers and defibrillators at Medtronic. She is an alumna of the prestigious Springboard Enterprise and Texas Medical Center accelerator programs. Angie Conley is named as an inventor on two patents.