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Meet the who’s who of local tech community builders: Philly’s 100 RealLIST Connectors

What does Philly’s tech community look like and who helps build it?

It’s something we pay attention to all year, but we’ve been taking a closer look during Community Building Month, especially as the definition of community has and will change due to the coronavirus pandemic and shift to remote work and virtual events.

For the past four years, we at have been bringing you lists of promising startups in Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and Delaware. Last fall, we launched the inaugural lists of influential and impressive engineers. Now, we’re happy to introduce the next evolution in the RealLIST series: RealLIST Connectors, our roundup of folks working to build their local tech, entrepreneurship and innovation community by linking others with an eye toward future growth and inclusivity.

In this list you’ll see many different initiatives that these leaders have started and organized, but there’s one thing that unites them: It’s not just about them. In the conversations we’ve had over the years, it’s become clear that they care about their city’s tech and business community, and about leaving it better for future generations.

Many have had success at individual pursuits, but so often it’s the case that they realize they didn’t get there on their own. So now, they’re connecting others to help the cycle continue, whether that’s through organizing a meetup, heading an organization or going out of their way to make sure two people know each other. That’s how communities grow.

This list was compiled with input from’s newsroom, including reporter Paige Gross, editor Julie Zeglen and CEO Chris Wink. We solicited nominations from the community itself, but mainly, we referred back to our years of reporting on the local tech, entrepreneurship and innovation economies. What you see below is a peek into our source book.


Tracy Brala - VP of ecosystem development and executive director of Venture Café Philadelphia.

Brala has been leading the charge on the every-Thursday gathering of tech, innovation and business leaders at the University City Science Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brala has lead a digital version of the networking and idea-sharing event, still pulling in interesting speakers and a couple hundred attendees.


Eamon Gallagher and Kristen Fitch - Director of Strategic Innovation and Startup Acceleration and Marketing Director of the University City Science Center, respectively.

Amid leadership changes at the venerable Science Center, Fitch has held multiple roles and kept alive the networked and collaborative approach that most anchor institutions only speak about in brochures. And Gallagher is a go-to legal resource for founders, now working full time with startups through programs like Launch Lane and the Digital Health Accelerator.

See the full list at

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing