Building a better normal: America’s pharmaceutical and medical device companies lead the way

A life sciences virtual conference featuring special guest Katie Couric


Thurs., Nov. 19, 2020

8:30-11:30 a.m. ET


Life sciences industry leaders come together in a live, virtual setting to review the post-election economic climate and to connect and collaborate on how to build a better normal.

Whether your company is racing toward a vaccine or adopting different business approaches, attend and take part in this discussion on how the changes this pandemic has sparked will forever transform our industry in ways we could never have anticipated.

We are limiting registration. Please register to reserve your spot today. For registration support or questions regarding the experience, please contact


Welcome and introduction


  • Brad Preber, CEO, Grant Thornton LLP
  • Lisa Walkush, National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton

You are here

Building a better normal starts with understanding where you are now. Grant Thornton Chief Economist Diane Swonk will share a post-election look at the current economic situation and the trends.


  • Diane Swonk, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton

Interactive breakout sessions

Supplying your better normal

Jonathan Eaton, head of Grant Thornton’s Supply Chain Solutions, and Robert Shea, Grant Thornton’s managing principal for public policy, will review the vulnerability COVID-19 has exposed in life sciences supply chains, steps companies should take to control their risks, and the variety of executive orders and legislative proposals that could drive a new wave of reshoring.


  • Jonathan Eaton, National Supply Chain Solution Leader, Grant Thornton
  • Robert Shea, National Managing Principal, Public Policy, Grant Thornton

Taking a mission-driven approach

How do life sciences companies combine a patient-first approach with a mission-driven culture to drive the innovations that build a better normal and save lives? Leaders in the industry share strategies that motivate their teams and their organizations.


  • Audrey Greenberg, Co-founder and Executive Managing Director, The Discovery Labs
  • Anjana Harve, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Fresenius Medical Care North America
  • Jonathan Tayco, Executive Director Program and Portfolio Management, Kite, A Gilead Company
  • Joy Taylor, National Managing Partner, Operational and Organizational Transformation, Grant Thornton

The need for speed: How COVID-19 has changed innovation—a panel discussion with Katie Couric

For some life sciences companies, the focus will be on speed toward a vaccine; others may have to adopt different approaches to their business. The panel discussion will focus on the innovation these leaders implemented to meet needs in the COVID-19 world.


  • Katie Couric, Founder, Katie Couric Media
  • Nancy Phelan, Vice President and Head, Patient and Specialty Services, Neuroscience, Novartis
  • Ashley Watson, Chief Compliance Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Fireside chat with Katie Couric and Lisa Walkush

Grant Thornton National Managing Principal of Industry Lisa Walkush interviews media personality Katie Couric to uncover Katie’s passion around her extensive charitable work, her drive behind launching her cancer awareness program, her take on the COVID-19 impact and more.


  • Katie Couric, Founder, Katie Couric Media
  • Lisa Walkush, National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton

The power of possible and closing remarks

Speaker bios

Katie Couric, Founder, Katie Couric Media

Katie Couric (@katiecouric) is an award-winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author and a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). Since its launch in 2008, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than $600 million to support cutting-edge collaborative science, and its research has contributed to six new FDA-approved therapies. In 2017, she founded Katie Couric Media (KCM), which has developed several media projects including a daily newsletter, a podcast, a digital video series and several documentaries. KCM works with purpose-driven brands to create premium content that addresses important social issues like gender equality, environmental sustainability and mental health. Previous documentaries produced by KCM include America Inside Out with Katie Couric, a six-part series for National Geographic; Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, for National Geographic; Under the Gun, which aired on EPIX; and Fed Up, available on iTunes, Amazon and YouTube. Couric was also the executive producer of Unbelievable on Netflix; she is developing other scripted projects.

Couric was the first woman to solo anchor a network evening newscast, serving as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News from 2006 to 2011, following 15 years as co-anchor of NBC’s Today show. She also hosted a syndicated show and served as the Yahoo Global News Anchor until 2017. She won a duPont-Columbia Award, a Peabody Award, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Walter Cronkite Award and multiple Emmys. She was twice named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and was a Glamour magazine Woman of the Year three times. She has also received numerous awards for her cancer advocacy work and has been honored by both the Harvard and Columbia schools of public health, the American Cancer Society and the American Association of Cancer Researchers. In addition to writing The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, Couric’s memoir will be published in spring 2021.

Jonathan Eaton, National Supply Chain Solution Leader, Grant Thornton

Jonathan Eaton is head of Grant Thornton’s Supply Chain Solutions. With over 20 years of supply chain experience, Jonathan has spent much of his career advising large multinational companies and middle-market companies across multiple industry sectors on how to best transform their supply chains. His industry experience covers life sciences, consumer and industrial products, technology and financial services, among others. He also has significant experience with turnarounds, post-merger integration, divestitures and technology implementations.

Jonathan is best recognized for his ability to help clients define their supply chain strategy in response to changing market conditions and other disruptive forces. Additionally, he helps clients transform their supply chains to provide higher customer satisfaction while balancing their inventory and service commitments, and minimizing their total supply chain costs.

Audrey Greenberg, Co-founder and Executive Managing Director, The Discovery Labs

Audrey Greenberg is the co-founder and executive managing director of The Discovery Labs, a global platform company streamlining the path to commercialization for ground-breaking pharmaceutical discoveries. The Discovery Labs comprises several entities including The Center for Breakthrough Medicines, Unite IQ, Testing Centers of America and DL Real Estate Specialty Services.

Audrey is a member of the senior management team and board of directors, where her efforts are focused on capital procurement, business formation, acquisitions, strategic planning and tactical execution. Audrey’s deep industry experience includes biotechnology, real estate, pharma services and financial services.

Anjana Harve, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Fresenius Medical Care North America

Anjana Harve is currently the senior vice president and CIO at Fresenius Medical Care North America, the nation’s leading provider of kidney care products and services. She is responsible for driving a large digital transformation focused on improving patient experience and enabling care teams with digital tools and actionable insights to provide the highest quality of care. Anjana was previously the CIO for Hillrom, a leading global medical technology company, where she led an end-to-end business transformation enabled by technology. Anjana has also held leadership positions at Novartis as the Americas CIO for Alcon, global head of Commercial IT Operations and global head of Compliance Services & Information Management. She has more than 20 years of experience across the life sciences industry.

Nancy Phelan, Vice President and Head, Patient and Specialty Services, Neuroscience, Novartis

Nancy Phelan is currently the vice president and head, Patient and Specialty Services for Neuroscience at Novartis. Nancy is a passionate and compassionate patient champion, digital pioneer and commercial leader with deep expertise in commercial strategy and operations. She is a recognized thought leader and expert who solves business and customer problems while driving innovation and performance. She has experience with broad U.S. and worldwide pharmaceutical commercial leadership experience including commercial development, global commercial operations, digital, marketing, sales, management and market access across specialty and primary care.

Brad Preber, Chief Executive Officer, Grant Thornton

Brad Preber is the CEO of Grant Thornton, a leading global provider of audit, tax and advisory services to public and private companies, nonprofit organizations and government entities. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Brad served as interim CEO from June through October 2019. Previously, he was chairman of the Partnership Board, national managing partner of Business Risk Services and office managing partner in Phoenix.

Brad has more than 35 years of experience serving as a consultant, expert witness, forensic accountant and fraud investigator. He has investigated cases alleging fraud, waste and abuse, and he frequently speaks, writes and teaches on fraud-related matters. In 2019, Consulting magazine named Brad a Top 25 Consultant. This annual listing, which focuses on the 25 professionals making the greatest impact in the consulting industry, profiled Brad for his "excellence in leadership."

Robert Shea, National Managing Principal, Public Policy, Grant Thornton

As national managing principal, Public Policy, Robert Shea serves as Grant Thornton’s primary liaison with members of Congress. He represents the firm’s policy positions with the accounting profession’s standards-setters, regulators and other policymakers. He also serves as the chair of Grant Thornton’s political action committee. Robert has been working to improve government performance for 25 years including 10 years at Grant Thornton and 15 years in the federal government. Most notably, he served for six years as the associate director for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he led an initiative to measure government programs using its Program Assessment Rating Tool. The effort received an Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University.

Diane Swonk, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton

Diane Swonk is Grant Thornton’s chief economist and one of the nation’s most respected macroeconomists. She maintains a unique perspective on the inner workings of Main Street, as well as Wall Street, and is eminently knowledgeable about the economics of the labor market, monetary policy and structural changes that are distinct from economic cycles.

Diane’s global network — which includes economists, industry leaders and geopolitical experts — amplifies the breadth and reach of her analysis. She advises policymakers, including central bankers, at all levels of government. Diane’s uniquely accessible approach to macroeconomic shifts has made her a highly sought-after speaker and commentator, frequently quoted by local, and national and international newspapers and broadcasters. Diane has won many awards for excellence in forecasting and leadership in economics and the business community.

Jonathan Tayco, Executive Director Program and Portfolio Management, Kite, A Gilead Company

Jonathan Tayco is the executive director of Program and Portfolio Management at Kite, A Gilead Company. He leads an organization that drives enterprise portfolio management and analytics, cell therapy product, and program management and strategic transformation delivery.

Jonathan has served at Kite since early 2015, supporting YESCARTA and other CAR-T cell clinical development, regulatory submission and commercialization. He has over 20 years of experience in biotech and medical devices, holding numerous leadership roles in product and process development, business operations, program management, operational excellence and strategic planning in both R&D and operations. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Stockton University in New Jersey.

Joy Taylor, National Managing Partner, Operational and Organizational Transformation, Grant Thornton

Joy Taylor is national managing partner in Grant Thornton’s Operational and Organizational Transformation solution family. Prior to this role, she was the leader of Business Change Enablement. She is an accomplished professional, with over 25 years of cross-functional experience in change management and cultural readiness, Lean Sigma, team facilitation, program management and project leadership. She has the proven ability to manage complex, global programs and initiatives; drive process and productivity improvement efforts; and lead change in a fast-paced environment.

Joy has led over 10 multiyear, global strategic initiatives in various sectors including life sciences, pharmaceutical, medical devices, healthcare, energy and financial services. She has won numerous leadership awards and written many articles on topics including governance, program management, change management, diversity in business and supply chain best practices.

Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Joy was CEO of TayganPoint Consulting Group, which was acquired by Grant Thornton in October 2018.

Lisa Walkush, National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton

As national managing principal, Industry, Lisa Walkush leads the strategic direction and oversees all aspects of the firm’s industry program. She has experience in enterprise program management, customer relationship management, operational excellence, compliance and validation, and technology consulting services. Lisa’s industry specializations include life sciences, healthcare and manufacturing. She previously served as Grant Thornton’s Life Sciences industry leader. In 2017, Lisa was named among the Women to Watch by Philly Biz. Lisa has also been recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a top luminary.

Ashley Watson, Chief Compliance Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Ashley Watson joined J&J from Merck & Co. where she was senior vice president, and chief ethics and compliance officer. In that role, she was responsible for ensuring that the company maintained high-quality compliance programs on a global basis. Among her accomplishments, Ashley helped Merck successfully close out a multiyear Corporate Integrity Agreement, transformed the privacy program for General Data Protection Regulation readiness, expanded the use of data analytics and due diligence tools, modernized policies and training, chaired Merck’s pro-bono committee and created a cross-functional risk committee.