2019 Arts & Healthcare Breakfast: Designing the Future
Moderator: LaMonte Thomas, President and General Manager of North Texas and Oklahoma, Cigna
Since 2012, LaMonte Thomas has served as President and General Manager for North Texas and Oklahoma at Cigna, a global health service company with 95 million customers around the world and more than 40,000 employees worldwide. In the workplace, Thomas has created a culture that values the ideas, contributions and energy of each Cigna employee. He encourages employees to be active in the Dallas/Fort Worth community where they work and live, which is reflected in the company’s strong participation in community events.
In his role, he serves as the senior leader for Cigna's operations, competitiveness and market growth in the region, and he helps to provide access to quality care for Cigna customers. His responsibilities include enhancing customer satisfaction through personalized service; helping to improve quality of care by working in collaboration with area heath care professionals; assisting clients to improve the health and productivity of their workforces; and leading Cigna's community service efforts. Thomas has over two decades of experience in the health care industry. Additionally, he is chairman of the board for the Texas Diversity Council and the Plano Chamber of Commerce. He is also is a member of the board of directors for KERA, Salvation Army (DFW Metroplex), Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, Collin County Business Alliance, TexProtects and Friends of the Dallas Police, and member of the Dallas Mavericks Advisory Council. In 2013 Thomas received the Texas Diversity Council Leadership award. He was named to the 2014 Dallas Business Journal Who’s Who in DFW Health Care and honored with the 2015 Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader award.
Richard Margolin, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, RoboKind
Richard Margolin is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of RoboKind, a learning company whose mission is to provide cost-effective and inclusive education for all, with a focus on teaching social and emotional skills to children on the autism spectrum, as well as STEM education. RoboKind has developed robots4autism and Milo, a socially advanced robot, whose proven effectiveness with learners with ASD is over 80 percent as opposed to the 3 percent for traditional therapy. To continue their mission of diverse and inclusive education, RoboKind created robots4STEM, a visual programming language that gives children the building blocks for computer science. Most recently, Mechanical Engineering Magazine named RoboKind as the winner of their Emerging Technology Award in Robotics.
A serial entrepreneur and researcher, Richard studied cognitive and computational neuroscience at Trinity College and Mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. Over the past decade, Richard has developed some of the world’s most recognizable facially expressive and socially interactive robots. He has worked with MIRA Labs at the University of Geneva, Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Airforce Research Labs, and many others. He has helped develop purification methods for carbon nanotubes, served as the Engineering Director at a world-renowned humanoid robotics company, and worked in genetics on the Human Genome Project at the UT Southwestern Bioinformatics Lab. He is a Forbes Technology Council member, a 2017 Tech Titan, a Finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2018 Award in the Southwest region and was recently named a Red Herring Top 100 Global winner for the year’s most promising private technology ventures.
Veena Somareddy, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Neuro Rehab VR
Veena Somareddy is the co-founder and CTO at Neuro Rehab VR, a VR healthcare start-up aimed at building virtual/augmented reality training exercises for patients with neurological disorders. With more than 800,000 people in the United States alone suffering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury every year, there are countless more still waiting to be treated. For a lot of patients, physical therapy can be boring, exercises are done mindlessly, and sometimes they don't see any progress being made. This is because they are not utilizing their full brain potential to form, reorganize, and rebuild lost neurological pathways.
Neuro Rehab VR provides an innovative solution by immersing the patient in various virtual therapy 3D exercises to stimulate their brain to help aid and expedite neurological physical recovery by leveraging breakthroughs in neuroplasticity. The VR exercises are designed with the help of physical therapists and customized for each patient’s needs. Along with our targeted therapy plans we also measure, quantify, and track progress with real time data feedback. Our goals are to make therapy more efficient, enjoyable, and within reach of everyone who needs it. So, millions of patients who have suffered a stroke or brain injury have a chance to lead a happy and independent life.
Veena is a software engineer with many years of research and development experience in VR and AR. She has a BS in Computer Science and a Master’s in Game Design and Development from UT Dallas. She is also the Chapter President for VR/AR Association Dallas and co-organizer of the Women in VR - Dallas chapter, focusing on mentorship, skill development and building a community of talented individuals who are enthusiastic about being a part of this emerging industry.
Sarah Thomas, VP of Commercial Strategy, Seismic
Sarah Thomas leads market entry and strategic partnerships for Seismic, a company who designs apparel integrated with discreet robotics to create powered clothing with intelligent wearable strength. Their first products will provide strength and power augmentation for everyday core wellness and mobility enhancement. At the core of Seismic’s culture is a human-centered, biomechanics informed design approach. Their design and development team, a unique hybrid of engineering and apparel design like no other ever assembled, includes: fashion designers, biomechanists, data scientists, software engineers, physical therapists, and user experience designers, to name only a few. Seismic has been recognized as a 2018 Global Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.
Sarah is an accomplished leader of innovation. She serves as a global aging expert advising startups, large corporations and investors, with nearly 20 years dedicated to transforming the aging experience. Sarah has held key leadership positions across the US and Asia, developing and implementing strategic corporate innovation initiatives, including change management. She most recently led global innovation for the largest post-acute care provider in the US, Genesis, serving more than 55,000 individuals a day. She holds the esteemed role of Executive-in-Residence at Aging2.0. She combines her Occupational Therapy expertise, with her operational, clinical and entrepreneurial experience to inspire global improvements in design and systems innovation worldwide. She has designed an innovation center in China as a part of a vitality initiative to improve the health and well-being of global communities. A published author, she serves in multiple advisory positions, sits on numerous boards and is an accomplished keynote speaker on topics like healthy longevity and aging innovations.