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Power Moves: Benefits Data Trust found its next CEO in a former Obama staffer

Hot off the press! Today, Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a tech-driven nonprofit that connects low-income people to public benefits and services, announced that it had selected its newest chief executive officer: Rockefeller Foundation fellow and former presidential policy staffer Trooper Sanders.

As of Sept. 16, Sanders will be leading the BDT team of 170-plus employees, a role that was held by Ginger Zielinskie for 14 years before she stepped down in April. Before BDT, Sanders’ influence touched a variety of workspaces within government, business and nonprofits.

“Too many people are working hard and doing their best but still cannot put food on the table or a roof over their heads,” said Sanders said in a press statement. “BDT works with states and communities all across the country to help people live healthier and more independent lives. I am honored and excited to join such an extraordinary team.”

Sanders has worked in various policy roles, including four years as domestic policy advisor to the William J. Clinton Foundation — where he supported the creation of economic opportunity programs and the obesity-focused Alliance for a Healthier Generation alongside the American Heart Association — and nearly three as principal international affairs advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama.

As a Rockefeller fellow, he worked on a project that “identified opportunities to ensure that artificial intelligence improves social and economic equity,” per a release. (Relevant: In September 2018, BDT piloted a machine learning model that would help call-center staffers get extra insights while enrolling users onto the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)

“Trooper is the right leader to help BDT continue to scale its impact,” said Zielinskie. “He has a deep understanding of the problems the organization seeks to solve, he has demonstrated expertise across policy and practice change, and he is a visionary who understands how we can better use technology to support people on a path to economic mobility and better health.”

University City Science Center hired a new VP last month: Dr. John Younger, now the tech entrepreneurship nonprofit’s vice prez of science and technology. The lab scientist will oversee commercialization programs supporting local startups.

“John brings a wide range and depth of experience to the role,” said Science Center president and CEO Steve Zarrilli in a statement. “His combination of clinical, academic and entrepreneurial expertise is well-suited to identify the needs of emerging technology companies and establish a vision for the future of Science Center commercialization efforts.”

Younger was previously CTO at Akadeum Life Sciences, Inc., the venture-backed life science company he founded while working at the University of Michigan. He moved to Philly this summer with his wife after the two were “‘jointly’ recruited” from Ann Arbor, he wrote in an email. (She’s University of Pennsylvania’s first director of translational cardiology, Younger said.)

“We arrived in June and have simply been blown away by the city,” Younger said. “Highlights so far: The Philadelphia Orchestra’s live performance of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ the number of great restaurants within walking distance of our home, fantastic trails and parks on the Main Line.”

“Tastes to be acquired,” however, include that salty Atlantic ocean. “Michigan is surrounded on all sides by the Great Lakes — you don’t float as well, but a gulp of water while swimming is an easier proposition.”

More Science Center news: Its inaugural Nucleus Awards are being presented Wednesday, Sept. 18. Take a look at this year’s winners:

  • Nucleus Commercialization Award — UE LifeSciences
  • Nucleus Convener Award — Kiera Smalls, executive director of Philly Startup Leaders
  • Nucleus Cultivator Award — Seer Interactive

Chelsey Lowe left her role as The Enterprise Center’s associate director in July to become program coordinator at Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) Corporate Partners Program. She’s now supporting strategic partnerships, student engagement and programming with the tech talent pipeline program.

“I’m curious how business and the workforce are evolving with technology,” Lowe wrote in an email. “With technology jobs on the rise, CCI’s industry responsive and competitive programs in computer science, data science, information science, and cybersecurity influenced my decision to take the position. I was impressed by CCI’s overall student enrollment growth and its Women in Computing Initiative [which aims] to double the number of women in the college.”

The Temple University grad said she’s looking forward to helping students and corporate partners parlay meaningful relationships into both co-ops and full-time employment.

InSight Telepsychiatry of Marlton, New Jersey, named Michael Trumbo as its new chief information officer in August. He is charged with overseeing the national telepsychiatry service provider organization’s product and business systems teams, as well as establishing a new IT team.

Trumbo gained experience in the healthcare sector via IT leadership positions with IndustrySafe, Geisinger Health System and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“I am honored to be a part of such a reputable, forward-thinking organization and look forward to collaborating with the leadership team to develop technological strategies and infrastructure to meet the current needs of the company as well as position it for continued growth and success,” Trumbo said in a statement.

Companies: Benefits Data Trust, Drexel University, University City Science Center

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing