BOSTON—TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest and oldest organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, announced the three keynote speakers for TiECON East 2021: Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ CEO and President Reshma Kewalramani; Amazon Senior Vice President and Head Scientist at Amazon Alexa Rohit Prasad; and Robinhood Chief Product Officer Aparna Chennapragada.
“We are excited to bring three nationally-acclaimed leaders to deliver the keynote addresses at this year’s event,” said Kiran Uppuluri, TiECON East Chair and CEO and of verteXD. “With these three speakers complemented by 50 panelists, 4 tracks spanning topics from AI in healthcare to scaling ventures, and 6 networking sessions built into the day, TiECON East is going to be a can’t-miss event for entrepreneurs, business executives and venture capitalists.”
Mr. Uppuluri said the TiE Boston team has been working hard for the past 5 months to bring a safe and wonderful experience to the conference attendees.
The annual TiECON East conference, which is organized by TiE Boston and scheduled for Oct. 1, 2021 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA, is the largest conference of and for entrepreneurs and business executives in the Northeast. All attendees are required to be fully vaccinated and follow the CDC health guidelines. Major sponsors of the conference are Amazon, Microsoft, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Arent Fox, Converge, Sittercity, Innospark, Thread Research, Progress and Embark.
TiE Boston President Anu Chitrapu said that all sessions and tracks have been carefully curated.
“Putting TiECON 2021 together has been a labor of love for the team. For the first time principles of “human centric” design have been used to create a user experience that combines talks, fireside chats, panels, dedicated networking time and an AI pitch competition,” said Ms. Chitrapu. “All sessions have been carefully curated keeping the end user in mind. We are ready to welcome our attendees to an exciting and safe conference.”
Here is more information on the keynote speakers for TiECON East 2021 on October 1:
Reshma Kewalramani, M.D.
CEO and President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Reshma Kewalramani, M.D., FASN, is the Chief Executive Officer and President at Vertex. Dr. Kewalramani has dedicated her career to improving the lives of patients, including the last 15+ years through the development of new medicines. She joined Vertex in 2017 and was previously the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Medicines Development and Medical Affairs. During that time, Vertex made remarkable progress to bring new medicines to more people with cystic fibrosis (CF) around the world, including the approval of SYMDEKO/SYMKEVI and the rapid approval of TRIKAFTA/KAFTRIO to potentially treat up to 90% of all people with CF. Under Dr. Kewalramani’s leadership, Vertex also advanced several programs outside of CF into the clinic, including alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, APOL1-mediated kidney diseases, sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia and type 1 diabetes.
Prior to Vertex, Dr. Kewalramani spent more than 12 years at Amgen where she held a variety of roles across research and development, including as Vice President, Global Clinical Development, Nephrology & Metabolic Therapeutic Area and Vice President, U.S. Medical Organization, a group she established and grew to assume responsibility for the full portfolio of molecules.
Dr. Kewalramani is passionate about developing and supporting the next generation of scientists and giving back to her community. She is a member of the board of directors of the Biomedical Science Careers Program, an organization dedicated to supporting underrepresented students to pursue a career in STEM, and RIZE Massachusetts, a nonprofit foundation focused on ending the opioid epidemic. She is also a member of Boston University School of Medicine Dean’s Advisory Board. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology and was on the inaugural board of directors of the Kidney Health Initiative.
She is the recipient of the American College of Physicians Associates Council Award, the American Medical Women’s Association Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Achievement Citation and the Harvard Medical School Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2019, she was the recipient of the TiE Boston Healthcare Leadership Award and named one of Boston Business Journal’s Power 50. In 2020, Business Insider named Reshma one of 10 people transforming health care, and she was included on the PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most inspiring and influential leaders in the life sciences and the Boston Business Journal’s list of Women Who Mean Business. In 2021, Dr. Kewalramani received the Golden Door Award from the International Institute of New England.
Dr. Kewalramani completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowship in nephrology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital combined program. She received her medical degree, with honors, from the seven-year medicine program at the Boston University School of Medicine and completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School.
SVP, Head Scientist at Amazon Alexa, Amazon
Rohit Prasad is a senior vice president (SVP) in Amazon and the head scientist for Amazon Alexa, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) service that powers Amazon’s family of Echo products, Amazon Fire TV, and third-party products. Prasad leads research and development (R&D) in AI technologies aimed at making interaction with Alexa a magical experience for customers.
Prior to joining Amazon, Prasad was the deputy manager and senior director of the Speech, Language and Multimedia Business Unit at Raytheon BBN Technologies. In that role, he directed foundational US Government sponsored R&D initiatives in several machine learning applications such as speech-to-speech translation, psychological health analytics, text classification, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning.
Prasad earned his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, India. He is a named author on more than 100 scientific articles and holds several patents. He was ranked at Number 9 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2017 for leading the “voice-controlled revolution”. The same year he also made the Recode top-100 list, ranked at Number 15 for making Alexa a household name.
Chief Product Officer, Robinhood
Aparna Chennapragada is the Chief Product Officer at Robinhood. She previously was a Vice President and General Manager at Google. She also served on the board of Capital One. In her current role, Chennapragada leads the organizations responsible for the company’s product management, design, research, partnerships and corporate development, driving the company’s product strategy. Prior to this role, Chennapragada held various leadership roles at Google over 12 years. Most recently, she led consumer shopping platforms and experiences across Google. She also drove Google’s visual search and AR efforts. Chennapragada previously worked as a Senior Director and Technical Assistant to the CEO of Google, helping drive company-wide product efforts. She also led Google Now, a proactive digital assistant effort, and worked on many areas in Google Search and YouTube over the years. With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry as a computer scientist and product leader, she is excited about the potential of technology to build products that democratize access to information and action. Chennapragada has a Master’s in Management and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.
For more information on TiECON East 2021, please visit the event’s website at https://www.tieconeast.com/