Making the future: Groundbreakers in healthcare and life sciences

A virtual industry forum featuring Joan Lunden and special guest Dr. Jennifer Ashton

Thurs., Dec. 9, 2021
12:00–2:00 p.m. ET

Transformative leaders lead successfully through good times and bad times. They have the grit to help their organization innovate and thrive even on the darkest days. We call them groundbreakers. Their actions hold a promise that great things can be achieved ― more efficiently and at a faster pace ― from vaccine development to patient care, education and equity.

Join fellow leaders from top hospitals and life sciences companies, outstanding speakers and Grant Thornton executives for a virtual business discussion. We’ll build on the positive momentum to move forward together with the cause for change and optimism.

This event is no longer available on demand. For more great content from Grant Thornton visit www.gt.com.


Grant Thornton welcomes you

An overview of the forum


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

Economic and public policy discussion

A congressional analysis of the current state of the healthcare and life sciences industries

Actions in Washington will clearly impact the healthcare and life sciences industries as we move into 2022. Learn what might be on the horizon from an economic and public policy perspective — and what it might mean for your organization. 


  • Diane Swonk, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton
  • Robert Shea, National Managing Principal, Public Policy, Grant Thornton

Evolving our values in healthcare and life sciences

Presented by healthcare futurist Eric Meade

In 1973, Dr. Jonas Salk wrote a book that anticipated many of the challenges the human species faces today.

Futurist Eric Meade will explore Salk's thinking as it relates to implications for the healthcare and life sciences industries in the years to come.


  • Eric Meade, Healthcare Futurist, Award-Winning Author

“Transforming the Future”

A panel discussion among trailblazing leaders in the healthcare and life sciences industries led by journalist and health and wellness advocate Joan Lunden

How has your organization transformed in the midst of the pandemic crisis, and how will you steer toward the future to build on the positive momentum? Leaders in the industry share strategies and plans for continued progress and innovation.


  • Joan Lunden, Award-Winning Journalist, Best-Selling Author and Health and Wellness Advocate
  • Dr. Jennifer Ashton, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.O.G. ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, Good Morning America
  • Angela Yochem, EVP Chief Transformation & Digital Officer, Novant Health
  • Erin Horvath, Chief Transformation Officer, AmerisourceBergen

Our supported groundbreakers

A spotlight on Grant Thornton’s nonprofit initiative, Purple Paladins

Grant Thornton’s commitment to promote health, wellness and equity extends to our communities.

Through our Purple Paladins program we invest in, recognize and celebrate early-stage nonprofit social entrepreneurs who tackle a variety of issues including health, accessibility and inclusion. Our firm supports these innovators with funding, volunteerism and business guidance, and by leveraging our platform and relationships to accelerate their work — taking them from start-up to unstoppable.


Joan Lunden

Joan Lunden

Award-Winning Journalist, Best-Selling Author and Health and Wellness Advocate

An award-winning journalist, best-selling author, motivational speaker, and women's health & wellness advocate, Joan Lunden has been a trusted voice in American homes for more than 30 years. For nearly two decades, Lunden greeted viewers each morning on Good Morning America bringing insight to the day’s top stories. As the longest running female host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 5 presidents, 5 Olympics, and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families, and their health. Lunden continues to be one of America’s most recognized and trusted personalities.

She is a special correspondent on the TODAY Show, host of the CBS series Your Health, and a sought after speaker and event host throughout the country. On her website JoanLunden.com on social media, women interact with her every day about health, wellness, lifestyle tips, family, and boomer information.

One of the most visible women in America, Lunden has graced the covers of more than 60 magazines and book covers. Lunden has served as national spokesperson for various organizations such as the American Heart Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the American Lung Association, the American Red Cross, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and The Colon Cancer Alliance.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton

Dr. Jennifer Ashton

M.D., M.S., F.A.C.O.G. ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, Good Morning America

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Correspondent. As part of the ABC News medical unit, she reports on major health and wellness issues across all ABC News platforms. She also reports the latest breaking medical news for GMA3: What You Need to Know, informing viewers about how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic and beyond.

Ashton has been at the forefront of ABC News’ COVID-19 coverage, recently visiting the NIH Vaccine Development Lab, reporting on their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development and the White House, meeting with Vice President Pence and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. Dr. Ashton also interviewed National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Ashton’s works have been recognized by the American Heart Association for her work as a women's health advocate, the Girl Scouts, The OctoberWoman Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association Medal of Honor for providing emergency medical care to injured Englewood police officers, the city of Englewood for heroic service to Haitian earthquake victims, and she was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Journalism. She is double board-certified in OB-GYN and obesity medicine and has a master’s degree in nutrition, making her the only physician with a national media platform who is also credentialed in nutrition. Dr. Ashton received her medical degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and her post-graduate training in women’s health and surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. She currently lives in NYC & Connecticut with her two children and maintains a private medical practice in New Jersey where she treats girls and women of all ages.

Amy Flynn

Amy Flynn

Leader, Life Sciences Industry, Grant Thornton

Amy Flynn is the national leader for our Life Sciences industry and a managing director in our Operations and Organizational Transformation practice. Amy has 30 years of pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic management and leadership experience across the spectrum of business functions from R&D, operations and quality to marketing and business development. Amy has a proven ability to manage complex, global programs; to engage sponsors, stakeholders and team members in support of organizational change; and to design and implement effective governance for sustainable change.

Erin Horvath

Erin Horvath

Chief Transformation Officer, AmerisourceBergen

Erin Horvath is the chief transformation officer for AmerisourceBergen. In this role, she architects and leads the organization’s Transformation Office, focused on accelerating growth across the enterprise through Business Excellence program risk mitigation and business unit growth acceleration initiatives.

Prior to her current role, Erin held the position of president of Distribution Services. In this role, she was responsible for enhancing the customer experience through customer service and technical support functions, and leading the company’s core field and corporate operations teams to ensure quality and efficiency across 30+ state-of-the-art distribution centers nationwide.

In 2020, Erin was recognized on the PharmaVOICE 100, an industry recognition that celebrates leaders throughout life sciences who provide inspiration to their peers, colleagues and companies through their innovative approaches to addressing industry challenges. In addition, Erin was awarded a 2016 President’s Club award for her commitment and contributions to the organization.

Eric Meade

Eric Meade

Futurist, Whole Mind Strategy Group

Eric Meade is a noted futurist, facilitator and consultant. He is principal at the Whole Mind Strategy Group, a consulting consortium based in Superior, Colorado. He has led projects for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Oxfam America, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, MassMutual and other leading organizations in numerous sectors. He is the award-winning author of two books — Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge and Whole Mind Facilitation: How to Lead Workshops That Change People, Organizations, and the World.

Eric is a past board chair of the World Future Society, the oldest and largest membership organization dedicated to the systematic study of the future. Earlier in his career, he served as vice president of a futurist think tank in Washington, D.C., as a sourcing executive in China for U.S. toy manufacturer Melissa & Doug and as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy.

Brad Preber

Brad Preber

CEO, 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.

Robert Shea

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

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, national and international newspapers and broadcasters. Diane has won many awards for excellence in forecasting and leadership in economics and the business community.

David Tyler

David Tyler

Leader, Healthcare Industry, Grant Thornton

David Tyler is the National Managing Principal of the Healthcare industry overseeing audit, tax and consulting services. David has over 25 years of experience primarily in the health systems and health plan areas. His primary areas of service include finance, performance improvement, provider strategy, IT (EMR, ERP, BI, etc.), revenue cycle, managed care/payment models, M&A, strategic/business planning and payor operations. David has served multiple academic medical centers, for-profit and nonprofit systems, cancer, children’s, safety net and community hospitals, helping drive growth and fiscal stability. In addition, David has served health plan clients' commercial, Medicare, MAPD/PBM and Medicaid health plans helping to drive financial and operational improvements.

Lisa Walkush

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. She has also been recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a top luminary.

Angela Yochem

Angela Yochem

EVP, Chief Transformation and Digital Officer, Novant Health

Angela Yochem is EVP, Chief Transformation and Digital Officer for Novant Health, a super-regional healthcare system with one of the largest medical groups in the U.S. She and her teams oversee growth initiatives and deliver the world-class consumer capabilities, differentiating technologies, and advanced clinical solutions that allow the integrated system to provide remarkable patient care.

Angela has served as EVP/CIO at Rent-A-Center, Global CIO at BDP International, Global CTO at AstraZeneca, and divisional CIO at Dell. She’s held tech exec roles at Bank of America and SunTrust, and held senior technology roles at UPS and IBM. In these roles, she built B2B digital product lines, grew digital retail channels (B2C), created technical services lines of business, and transformed global technology capabilities.

Angela is an Independent Director with Zurich American Insurance Group, and has been a Director for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, BDP Transport, BDP Global Services Asia and Europe, and Rocana, with experience on Audit, Enterprise Risk, Operational Risk, and Governance/Policy committees. She remains an Entrepreneur in Residence, Mentor, and Advisor for venture groups and incubators on both U.S. coasts. Angela serves on the board of Freedom School Partners, a non-profit committed to promoting literacy in the Charlotte area, and co-chairs the executive team of the Go Red for Women Charlotte organization, part of the American Heart Association. She is a Trustee of the Charlotte Regional Business Initiative where she co-chaired the successful city bonds campaign in 2020, and is an advisory board member for the American Hospital Association Innovation Council, the University of Tennessee Tickle College of Engineering, the UT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, and the University of North Carolina Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics.

Angela has a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University and a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee, holds three U.S. patents and is an author with Addison-Wesley and Prentice-Hall.