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By Nikki Cabus

DSS Director of Strategic Innovation Meggie Soliman Wins IGNITE 2024 Award

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Document Storage Systems, Inc. (DSS), a leading provider of health information technology (HIT) solutions for federal, private and public health care organizations, announced that Meggie Soliman, director of strategic innovation at DSS, has been selected as a winner of GOVTECH CONNECTS’ IGNITE 2024 Award.

Document Storage Systems, Inc. (DSS) is a catalyst for health care innovation and digital transformation, helping the Department of Veterans Affairs as a solutions provider, systems integrator, and services contractor. DSS is committed to assisting VA in its High Reliability Organization journey and delivering care quality for Veterans by meeting top initiatives, changing regulatory requirements, and implementing enhanced business transformation across VA enterprise.

The IGNITE 2024 Award, presented by GOVTECH CONNECTS, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation, and impact in their field. Forward-thinking leaders and today’s trailblazers converge to celebrate the future of digital transformation during this dynamic event that invites women and gender-diverse professionals in all career seasons to delve into cutting-edge solutions, learn from visionary leaders, and embrace the innovations shaping digital transformation.

This immersive experience brought together exceptional women in government and industry highlighting the ideas and actions of inspirational leaders who shared their stories of their leadership journey to the top, and the change-making technological advances and digital transformation they are cultivating in government and driving to market in industry.

As the recipient of the esteemed IGNITE award, Meggie Soliman exemplified unparalleled dedication and visionary leadership, setting a standard of excellence for their peers. Specifically, Meggie was recognized for taking a disruptive and forward-thinking approach to innovation development for the federal health care arena.

GOVTECH CONNECTS is the modern liaison between government and industry, forging mission-driven connections between leaders, decision-makers, and influencers across the dynamic tech landscape. Through immersive events, insightful roundtables, and captivating government podcasts, GOVTECH CONNECTS offers a platform to discuss the transformative potential of technology within government. With boundless energy and a passion for innovation, GOVTECH CONNECTS aims to collaboratively identify pathways to achieving common goals, spotlighting emerging technologies and leading the charge in digital transformation and IT modernization.

The awards celebration was held April 18th in North Bestheda, Maryland during the annual Ignite 2024 conference. This year’s theme was “Powerful Women Igniting Digital Transformation.” Attendees and special guests included inspirational leaders such as keynote speaker, Suzi Connor, Chief Information Officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services and Jessica Berrellez, Executive Officer of the Office of Digital Transformation for the Food and Drug Administration. The guest list was pretty impressive.

“I am truly honored to be named an IGNITE 2024 Award recipient,” said Meggie Soliman. “The health IT arena is continually evolving in dynamic ways, and DSS continues to be at the forefront as a catalyst for transforming federal health care delivery.”

In addition to being deeply committed to elevating the federal IT arena, Meggie is an educator focused on enlightening current and future leaders about the ongoing digital transformation that impacts every facet of our lives. Meggie is a renowned TEDx speaker on the topic of “Thinking Outside the Block: Unconventional Paths to Innovation” about the power of unconventional thinking for fostering creative approaches for innovation development, especially for women in IT.

“I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity to sit among amazing women as an IGNITE 2024 Awardee,” Meggie wrote in a social media post. “It was so energizing to see women supporting other women in the tech space. These women are trailblazers truly leading the way for our future and showing young girls what’s possible!!! Thankful for everyone who has led me to where I am today! Thank you, GOVTECH CONNECTS for creating this space!!”

Meggie is also the Chair of South Florida Tech Hub’s HealthTech & Life Sciences Peer Group. She is an ambassador for the organization and the overall mission and vision of building the tech sector, access to education, advocate for blockchain technology, and equal opportunities for women in tech.

For more insight into Meggie’s work with DSS, the local community and her background, check out Meggie’s Q&A writeup here.

By Nikki Cabus

TEDx Talks are returning to Delray Beach after a 10-year hiatus

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With TEDx events popping up all around South Florida, the oh-so-popular event is making a comeback in Delray Beach!

In a world filled with sound bites and paparazzi-snapped photos, there are still storytellers determined to create media with meaning. From feature films to citizen journalism, their work is worth spreading. On November 4th, we will hear from some of those storytellers.

After a 10-year hiatus, Natalia Romero, Ph.D., physicist, educator and a TEDx organizer,  is bringing back TEDx Delray Beach to the very heart and soul of the city’s cultural center: Old School Square.

“We aim to provide a diverse platform to present and discuss relevant topics, innovative ideas, trends and issues which currently affect our local and global community, as well as to bring light to hidden talent and local heroes.” said Dr. Romero.

Old School Square, located in the heart of downtown Delray Beach, is a National Historic Site where beautifully restored early 20th century school buildings serve the greater Delray Beach community and South Florida with visual performing arts, entertainment and enrichments programs. The award-winning, nationally recognized arts center combines historic preservation and the arts.

Serving as this year’s TEDx Delray Beach historic venue, The Fieldhouse which was once called the Vintage Gymnasium (c. 1925) hosts series of music, comedy, poetry, art and more throughout the year.

Seemingly frozen in time, the heavy wood beams still bear the markings of students who dared to climb up to scrawl their names in chalk. While the Fieldhouse is no longer used for sporting events, the original backboards remain in place and former locker rooms converted to beautifully appointed restrooms.

Delray Beach has been rapidly growing and evolving over the past decade. Now, at the verge of a global technology revolution, machine learning, large language models, and artificial intelligence are gaining a broad spectrum of applications. We are experiencing a paradigm shift – and so, the 2023 TEDx Delray Beach theme is “The Ripple Effect.”

Unlike the domino effect which only serves one direction, the ripple effect multiplies in all directions like ripples across water when an object is dropped into it. A ripple effect occurs as a progressive after shock. An initial disturbance to a system propagates to an increasingly larger portion of the system such as in society creating a “new normal” spreading from one individual to the next and into communities broadening its impact and adoption.

Coming from very diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we will hear from though leaders on a variety of topics that currently affects our local and global community. From sustainability, urban planning, astrophysics, history through storytelling, creative AI, and blockchain technology, this event promises to be a night filled with innovation, creativity, and ideas worth spreading.

“The impact community can have is like a pebble dropped in a pond, creating ripples that reach far beyond our initial actions,” said Meggie Soliman, one of this year’s TEDx Delray Beach speakers. “Together, we have the power to inspire, uplift, and transform the world.”

As a Blockchain Advocate, Director of Strategic Innovations at DSS, South Florida Tech Hub HealthTech & Life Sciences Peer Group Chair, and active South Florida Tech Hub member, Meggie is very involved in her local community and the South Florida tech ecosystem. She told Tech Hub that she is most excited about “the opportunity to share and collaborate with the community on an idea worth sharing.”

In addition to captivating speakers, TEDx Delray Beach 2023 will also feature our artistic community by inviting world-renowned artists such as the third-place World Tango
Champions and inaugurating the TEDxDelrayBeach short Film/Animation competition.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Ata Sarajedini – Astrophysics Expert and Former Dean of Science @ Florida Atlantic University

  • Daniel Bolojan – FAU Professor and Director @ Creative AI Lab

  • Edward Stitson – Curator & Educator @ Spady Cultural Heritage Museum

  • Gabriela Mendez – NSU Professor and Educational Leader & Palm Beach School District

  • John Renne – FAU Professor and Director @ Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions

  • Meggie Soliman – Blockchain Advocate and Director of Strategic Innovations @ DSS

  • Sabrina Victoria – Social Entrepreneur and Activist and Executive Director @ Human Better 365

  • Vannesa Ruck – Motorcycle Racer and Rally Driver

  • Zach Escanlante – Data Scientist @ LinkedIn

TEDx is a grassroots initiative, created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx brings the spirit of TED to local communities around the globe through TEDx events. According to TED.com, the TED organization, which stands for Technology Education and Design, hosts more than 3,000 TEDx events annually. These events are organized by passionate individuals who seek to uncover new ideas and to share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities. TEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED Talks, and are organized independently under a free license granted by TED. These events are not controlled by TED, but event organizers agree to abide by our format, and are offered guidelines for curation, speaker coaching, event organizing and more. They learn from us and from each other. More than 3000 events are now held annually.

Since 1984, Ted Talks have created podcasts and videos by expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. TEDx encourages communities to come together in a platform that showcases local thinkers and innovators. Some of the TEDx videos may be chosen to become regular Ted Talks.

For more informationon TEDx Delray Beach, visit https://tedxdelraybeach.com/

By Riley Kaminer

Spotlight on Our HealthTech & Life Sciences Committee

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From a Miami startup that uses blockchain technology to more efficiently administer Covid tests to a Juno Beach-based healthcare software enterprise that is helping hospitals save precious time doing triage, it’s clear that our region is growing into a healthtech hub.

Tech Hub South Florida has established its HealthTech & Life Sciences Committee in order to accelerate this innovation in the healthtech space. Its mission is to empower, educate, and collaborate with the health professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who ensure the health and wellbeing of South Floridians. The committee aims to accomplish this goal by supporting the South Florida healthcare ecosystem’s ability to leverage current and emerging technologies and services.

Meggie Soliman is Chair of the Committee and Director of Strategic Innovations, Applications at DSS. She said that healthcare and life sciences “can no longer be viewed as separate from technology.” From a healthcare perspective, technology enables clinicians to put patients at the center of everything they do. In order to have this patient-centered care, in Soliman’s estimation, “you need access to relevant data that allows us to analyze and make better decisions for that patient.”

From a life sciences perspective, Soliman acknowledged that “technology is allowing us to make booming discoveries because now we have the tools available that we did not have years ago.”

To take full advantage of this boom, Soliman advocates for a multidisciplinary approach. “You either find technologists or healthcare subject matter experts, but it is difficult to find individuals who have the background with both, so my hope is to expand that pool and keep our local talent.”

Pete Martinez, former IBM executive-turned-entrepreneur and Vice Chair of the Committee, echoes Soliman’s excitement: “Technology will be the great catalyst for the transformation to bring healthcare into the 21st Century, on par with all the major industries that thrive on innovation.”

He is particularly bullish on Artificial Intelligence to spur innovation in the healthcare and life sciences space. “AI holds the greatest promise for such understanding as pattern recognition, Machine Learning, multi-disciplinary data integration. Predictive and personalized modeling will become the norm as they have become in most major industries.”

For Martinez, the key to success in South Florida’s healthtech space will be to connect local entrepreneurs with our region’s major investors. “We are fortunate to have plenty of innovators and high net worth [individuals]. Bringing them together will create exponential and sustainable growth.” 

Soliman and Martinez both have their sights set on tangible impacts that they are looking to make through the Committee’s efforts.

First, they both agree that creating awareness around South Florida as a top destination for healthcare and life sciences is a major priority. 

“Brand development, consistent and visionary messaging, and providing tangible proof points of our capabilities and success is fundamental to the engagement by our community and those that are looking to become part of it,” said Martinez. He also said that it is important to have a common vision and agree upon “strategies [that] will optimize our efforts while creating much bigger impact.”

The Chair and Vice Chair also put an emphasis on talent. Soliman said that “it is essential that we educate our communities and future talent on what the capabilities of healthcare tech are.” She hopes to do that by “getting more students involved in healthcare technology early.”

Finally, Soliman highlighted that local impact is crucial. “Bringing healthcare & life science organizations together will allow for collaboration among our communities and impact the local culture,” she said. “We can be the next Silicon Valley but with a taste of paradise living.”

The Tech Hub team would like to thank our most involved committee members to date such as Modernizing Medicine, HealthSnap, New World Angels, Better Living Technologies,  The Venture Mentoring Team, Jupiter Medical Center, HealthDRUM, HIMSS South Florida, Gravity IT Resources, Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Miami-Dade Beacon Council and Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce. We appreciate your efforts in helping build South Florida’s HealthTech and Life Sciences Ecosystem.” 

If you would like to learn more about Tech Hub South Florida’s Healthcare & Life Sciences Committee, please get in touch.

DSS Director of Strategic Innovation Meggie Soliman Wins IGNITE 2024 Award
TEDx Talks are returning to Delray Beach after a 10-year hiatus
Spotlight on Our HealthTech & Life Sciences Committee