2021 Breakfast with Experts

As an attendee at MedTech Innovation Forum, you're able to participate in two small-group sessions.

Chris Brennan, Performance Specialist, Insperity

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Establish a Learning Culture as a Competitive Advantage

Chris has been a Performance Specialist with Insperity since 2014 and has over 15 years of experience in the world of training and development. His background includes design, development and delivery of training curriculum, as well as team building and improvisation facilitation, and executive management coaching . Chris received his bachelor’s in Dramatic Arts from Saint Mary’s College, and he holds certifications from Franklin Covey, The Association for Talent Development, 360 Solutions, Omega Performance, DDI, Performance Thinking and Extended DISC. In addition, Chris has been a frequent panel member at regional and national training conferences in the areas of leadership, performance management and employee development. Chris is a sought after speaker, most recently at the Disrupt HR Conference at UC Irvine, Octane OC, and the Domestic Violence Alliance in Los Angeles.



Tom Cowan, Partner, Knobbe Martens

Sabing Lee, Partner, Knobbe Martens

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Aligning IP Strategy For Company Success

Medical technology companies have various measures of “success” depending on each company’s goals.  Some companies are looking for an exit, to gain market share, increase revenues, or simply beat the competition. This conversation with Sabing Lee and Tom Cowan, two partners from the intellectual property and technology law firm Knobbe Martens, will cover how to align your IP strategy based on your particular goals.  With a combined 32 years of experience developing IP strategy for clients big and small, Sabing and Tom will discuss some basic principles of aligning IP strategy and actual case studies to concretely illustrate the issues.  

Tom is a Partner in the San Diego office of Knobbe Martens and serves clients worldwide in medical technologies.  He counsels clients on overall IP strategy, performs IP audits, prosecutes patents and trademarks, conducts pre-litigation enforcement of IP rights, negotiates licenses, and conducts offensive and defensive diligence such as patentability and infringement studies. Tom has particular experience with assisting startups from the conceptual design phase through acquisition.  One recent example is Millipede, Inc., developer of a heart valve annuloplasty device.  Tom prosecuted their patent portfolio and provided defensive patent diligence, resulting in investments and an acquisition by Boston Scientific totaling $540M.  Tom has received numerous awards for his work.  In 2021 alone, he was named Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, selected to IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists, named to the IAM Strategy 300 Global Leaders Guide, and recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. for Patent Prosecution.  

Sabing is a Partner in the Orange County office of Knobbe Martens.  His practice encompasses all aspects of intellectual property law, including strategic patent procurement, patent portfolio management, intellectual property due diligence and general counseling on infringement, licensing, international IP protection and post-grant proceedings. Sabing represents clients in a wide range of technologies, with an emphasis on medical devices and procedures and materials science.  In the medical device field, Sabing has been involved in the intellectual property strategy and acquisitions of ev3 (acquired by Covidien), IDev Technologies (acquired by Abbott), CardiAQ Valve Technologies (acquired by Edwards Lifesciences), and Tornier/Wright Medical (acquired by Stryker).  Sabing currently services on Octane’s Board of Directors.



Krasi Hristov, Head of Research & Development, Mentor Worldwide LLC

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | How Disruption Can Fuel or Stall Innovation

The session will be designed to discuss the “systems thinking” approach for accelerating innovation through the COVID-19 pandemic. During this 30 minute breakfast round table, we will explore and discuss the following: the changing landscape of partnerships to accelerate product in process innovation in MedTech, traits of successful personal and professional leadership for success in the new world, and customer-focused innovation and creativity.

Krasi Hristov is Head of Research & Development for Mentor Worldwide LLC, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and the global leader in breast aesthetics. In this role, Krasi serves as a member of the company’s senior management leadership team and is accountable for all new product development and innovation, as well as the company’s external collaboration efforts. Krasi has more than 25 years of global multi-industry experience, having worked in South Africa, Germany and the United States.

Prior to her current position at Mentor, Krasi spent 12 years in medical devices R&D at Johnson & Johnson and has worked at Ethicon, another Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Company, in multiple functional roles including product development engineering and as a project manager. Krasi received her Master of Public Health from Rutgers University, Master of Science in Textile Engineering at Philadelphia University and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University in Bulgaria.



Karin Koch, Managing Director, University Lab Partners

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Life Science Startup Resources

Karin Koch is an experienced leader in public service with a demonstrated history of working in local government administration and supporting life science innovation in Orange County. She served as the manager of local economic and workforce development programs for the County of Orange, co-authoring and overseeing the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2019-2023 for the Orange County region. After 11 years of public service, she joined the Beall Family Foundation and currently serves as the Managing Director of University Lab Partners, the premier, nonprofit life sciences/medtech wet lab incubator that currently incubates over 30 life science companies in Irvine, CA.



Dr. Andrew Lyon, Founding Dean of the Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering, Chapman University

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Navigating University Partnerships

Dr. Andrew Lyon has over 20 years of experience as a chemist, bioengineer, educator, and entrepreneur and currently serves as the Founding Dean of the Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering at Chapman University. Prior to his current role, he served as Dean of Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology. Before arriving at Chapman in 2014, he spent nearly 16 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a member of the Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty, directing a research program investigating new biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications. In addition to his role at Chapman, he is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Sanguina, Inc. and SelSym Biotech, Inc., two early-stage biotechnology companies. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, Beckman Young Investigator, Research Corporation Research Innovation, and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the National Fresenius Award.



Joseph Matton, Global Strategic Marketing Lead, Johnson & Johnson

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Establishing Value Attribution for your new product in the Medical Device Space

The session will be designed to share a few key concepts to elicit a productive exchange of knowledge and ideas. We will explore and discuss the following:

Planning for the product launch- when should I start the process and what are the right steps?

Why VOC is so critical.

How you can combine Marketing and R&D efforts to create a powerful value story.

Mr. Matton has been with Johnson & Johnson for 25 years and has focused on two sectors - Pharma and Medical Devices. He has experience at multiple J&J operating companies, including Janssen, Vision Care, Biosense Webster, and Mentor. Joe currently oversees the global strategic marketing effort of the business, leading the New Product Development and Global Strategic Focus teams, and has 5 years of experience at Mentor. Joe has worked in various functional roles, including marketing, sales management, corporate training, and General Management. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree from Western University and a BCOMM Accounting from the University of Windsor. He’s also attended the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, Strategic Marketing certificate program.



James V. (Jim) Mazzo, Executive Chairman, Neurotech, Chief Executive Officer, Avellino Labs, Advisor, Zeiss, Advisor, Bain Consulting, Board Member, Centricity Vision Inc.

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Is your strategy aligned with your execution?  How to build your company.

James V. (Jim) Mazzo is Executive Chairman of Neurotech, a retinal implant company; and Chief Executive Officer for Avellino Labs, a biotechnology and genetic science company. He is also Advisor for Zeiss and Advisor for Bain Consulting.

Mazzo is one of the ophthalmic industry’s best known and most respected business leaders with over 40 years of proven experience. His global reputation for building and running world-class organizations is based on 22 years leading Allergan’s North American and European eye care organizations; 7 years as Chairman, President and CEO of Advanced Medical Optics (AMO); 4 years as EVP of Abbott’s global ophthalmology business; 3 years as Executive Chair and CEO of AcuFocus and 4 years as Global President of Ophthalmic Devices for Carl Zeiss Meditec.

Additionally, he is founder and Chairman of OCTANe, is a member of the International Intraocular Implant Club (lllC) and Executive Committee Board Member with the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA). Mazzo is on the ASCRS Governing Board, the AAO Foundation Advisory Board, the AGS Foundation Advisory Board, a Chair Member of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, a Consultant of Anivive Lifesciences, sits on the Board of Visus Therapeutics, Refocus Group, Centricity Vision, LensGen, Iantrek, and Preceyes, serves on NASA’s Mission to Mars Committee, is an Officer in the Order of St. John and a Board Member of the Anaheim Ducks Foundation,

His accomplishments and contributions to the healthcare industry and business and educational communities include serving as Board Chairman for AdvaMed; on the University of California at Irvine foundation; as Vice Chair Trustee Chapman University; years of dedicated experience with the medical device industry including cardiology, orthopedics as well as ophthalmology; recognized as a Top 100 Innovator in Ophthalmology multiple times; and received the 2020 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.



Tiffany McDowell, Principal, People Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Hybrid Work and Innovation

As care delivery models become more virtual and teams must collaborate in new ways, how do you best bring the right cross-functional skills together to drive innovation? As we have seen over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic forced new ways of working, which had a profound impact on who we work with and how we collaborate. Some parts of our network have grown stronger, but other parts have deteriorated. As we look to the various ways companies are bringing their teams back to the office, what are health care companies doing to drive growth and new ideas in a hybrid return-to-office environment? This session will describe the science and data behind virtual collaboration and share leading practices from companies across the US, both within and outside of health care.

Tiffany McDowell is a principal within the Ernst & Young LLP People Advisory Services practice. Tiffany has led IT, finance, human resources, and enterprise-wide transformations in multiple sectors with a specific focus on health care. She has deep knowledge in all areas of organizational strategies and focuses on providing operating model, organization design, network analytics, decision optimization, workforce strategies and change management services for large-scale transformation projects. Tiffany holds a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, an MBA from Simon Fraser University, an MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University and a Doctorate of Industrial Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University.



Georgette Pascale, Executive Vice President, PR & Social at PRECISIONeffect

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Optimizing PR Opportunities During M&As

In this Breakfast with Experts session, Georgette Pascale will discuss and answer questions about how to partner with the right companies and how to utilize PR to your advantage when going through an M&A. Known as “The Connector,” Georgette has over two decades of experience in PR and communications, including healthcare, e-commerce, music, and technology. Georgette believed there was a better way to do business than using the typical traditional brick-and-mortar agency model. In 2005 she launched Pascāle, a virtual communications and social marketing media agency. This year Pascāle expanded its capabilities and was acquired by kindred spirit and highly respected leader PRECISIONeffect, the industry’s only healthcare advertising agency dedicated to changing the standard of care. Georgette assumes the title of executive vice president, PR & Social.

Georgette holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology (where she has also taught continuing education communications courses). She loves to lead (and listen to) conversations in anything having to do with healthcare marketing, and was named one of PharmaVOICE’s “100 of the Most Inspiring People” and one of Vision Monday’s “Most Inspiring Women.” However, Georgette is most proud of the accolades Pascāle has received over the years, such as ‘Best Places to Work’ and ‘Most Innovative Company.’ She has served on several boards over the years, and was past President of OWL: Advancing Diversity in Leadership and Executive in Residence at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. Georgette is currently on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Boxing is Love, as boxing is one of her passions. 

Georgette resides in Fairfield, CT with her three children. You’ll catch her trying to make people smile as often as she can or befriending most dogs.



Linnette Torres, Vice President of Quality, Edwards Lifesciences

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Quality and Statistical Processes: How to better control your process using SPC

This session is designed to provide a robust discussion about how statistical process controls can predict and prevent product variations before impacting manufacturing and customers. As a quality leader at Edwards Lifesciences, Linnette will provide perspective on establishing control inputs for manufacturing processes, and the use of data and early signals to anticipate future needs or challenges. She will also discuss how to effectively partner with suppliers, vendors and internal stakeholders such as R&D for better process control.

Linnette Torres serves as Vice President of Quality, supporting Edwards’ Critical Care (CC) leadership with a global team of more than 300 professionals. Linnette has held various roles in medical device manufacturing and engineering, equipment validations, quality engineering, quality systems improvement, design control, and compliance/audit readiness. Linnette holds a master’s degree in business administration and productivity and quality management and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Dominican Republic. Linnette actively supports Edwards’ Diversity, Including, and Belonging leading the Hispanic employee resource group. In addition to her commitment to building community internally, Linnette has been recognized for her leadership in supporting local non-profits through her role at Edwards.



Mitch Wexler, Managing Partner, Irvine, Los Angeles, & San Diego, Fragomen Worldwide

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Temporary and Permanent Visa Options for Key Professionals from Abroad

We will explore the more common (and not so common) work visa options for company founders, investors, and other key foreign national personnel. We will also discuss converting to permanent green card status, those already in the US lawfully working on a working visa in addition to possibly having these critical team members enter in green card status.

Mitch Wexler has been practicing immigration law for more than 35 years. He manages Fragomen’s 3 Southern California offices (Los Angeles, Irvine & San Diego). He is a Specialist in Immigration & nationality Law, Certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Mitch is a regular speaker at conferences on various business immigration law topics and has written over 250 articles on such topics.



Joris van der Heijden, PhD, Bio Services Program Manager, StarFish Medical

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Considerations for developing a Point Of Care Test

Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) has seen a large uptake over the past year driven by the need for on-site testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, many scientists, engineers, clinicians and investors are looking to develop POCT products for other diseases. But what needs to be done to redefine a laboratory test as a POCT product? And how does the desired Point Of Use, impact the product requirements? This talk will focus on important considerations going into developing a POCT product. Joris van der Heijden is the Bio Services Program Manager at StarFish Medical. In this position, he shapes and executes development programs for a variety of medical devices. Previously, he was the Director of R&D at Spartan Bioscience leading product development of Point of Care diagnostics. He also led the R&D and Manufacturing teams at a contract manufacturing facility where he helped build the infrastructure for the first Canadian Car-T cell therapy trials. Joris earned his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia and holds a MS and BS from the Universities of Leiden and Delft in the Netherlands.



Clay Wilemon, President & COO, APATICS

When | 8:00 - 9:00 am, October 29th, 2021

Topic | Marketing: Reaching The Unreachable

This discussion will address the challenges of reaching difficult-to-reach or 'unreachable' clinicians, senior executives, and consumers and explore the power of digitally-driven insight to identify, align and engage with these prospects and customers.

Clay Wilemon currently serves as President and Chief Commercial Officer at APATICS™ and Chairman of This Stone, Inc. He has extensive healthcare marketing experience including helping medical device, biotech, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, and healthcare services companies launch over 500 new medical brands.

Clay is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He has also been a co-founder and director in two medical device companies and holds a patent in musculoskeletal surgery.

In addition, Clay is a partner in the Visionary Venture Fund and an investor in medical technology and information technology companies. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Octane, a technology focused economic development organization in Southern California.