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Pivot or Not to Pivot

  • 10 Mar 2020
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)


As an entrepreneur, you're always getting new information about your customers, partners, etc. What happens when you get something so significant that it can completely change your business model? What do you do?

We’ll be exploring a case study of one entrepreneur, Roberta Powell.  You will remember Roberta as the winner of the 2019 Piranha Pond, she's back and looking for input from our esteemed panel.

Marianna Zaslavsky, Founder & CEO at Norka Health

Marianna was most recently the Founder & CEO of Norka Health, a fertility benefits startup. Norka Health aimed to reinvent the patient experience and bring fertility benefits coverage to large employers and their employees. Marianna has previously run several venture-backed companies, including Unacast, Eyeview and HookLogic, which was sold to Criteo for $250M in 2016. She also spent time at companies such as Bain Capital Ventures, Bain & Company and AOL Ventures. She started her career as a banker at Citi. She is very passionate about helping other startups and entrepreneurs: she was VP of Partnerships at InSITE Fellowship Program and is currently a Board Member at, a non-profit that brings entrepreneurship programming to underfunded high-schools across the nation, as well as an active mentor at several Brown University startup programs. She has her B.A. and M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Barri Blauvelt, President & CEO of Innovara

Barri Blauvelt, MBA MPH founded Innovara, Inc., a global business and management development firm in late 1983, dedicated to providing highly customized, results-oriented services to health care industries worldwide. Mrs. Blauvelt is a published author on studies from healthcare technology assessment (HTA) to patient preference and policy informing research and related methods, to benchmarking best medical, industry, policy and

advocacy practices. Her work in medical affairs and related research spans many types of healthcare industry (including pharma, biotech, other life sciences, devices and diagnostics) and many therapeutic areas/medical needs. In public health related research, she often partners with U. of Massachusetts, Johns Hopkins, Harvard and other leading schools of medicine and public health both in the US and around the world. She is a member of the US President’s Cancer Panel with her focus on ethnicity of cancer. She also is a member of the CEO Lifesciences Roundtable, and advisor to NIH and other major national and internal studies and medical associations, as well as the Chairperson of Women in High Places: Leading the Global Challenge of Medicine.

Shana Penna, Founder & CEO

Shana focuses her entrepreneurial spirit creating technology that makes an impact. Her passion was stimulated by developments in global health technology trends using artificial intelligence and blockchain. She dedicated her career to finding the intersection between technology and transformational outcomes. Prior to founding Inmogeia Technologies, Shana was the cofounder of an assistive technology company, Puffin Innovations, which used AI and internet of things connectivity to empower those with severe disabilities. She received an MBA from the prestigious MIT Sloan dual degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing China.

UMass Dartmouth

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

151 Martine St, Fall River, MA 02723

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Office: +1 (508) 999-8056

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