“Of Medicine and Miracles” A Special Film Screening: Celebrating Cellular Therapy Clinical Success and Looking Ahead to What’s Next

5:30 pm - 8:30 pm PDT

Meg O'Conor

Partner at Bannecker Public Affairs

Meg O'Conor Bannecker is a partner at Bannecker Public Affairs. She has twenty years of experience in public affairs, corporate communications, and early-stage fundraising. She began her career as a broadcast news reporter and anchor. 

Being a journalist at heart, Meg is an accomplished storyteller skilled in managing external facing issues and initiatives. Many of her clients are in regulated industries, including life sciences and healthcare.  

Since 2018, Meg has served as an advisor to Life Science Washington, the statewide trade association. Working alongside prior and current CEOs, Meg has led the organization's workforce development initiative focused on addressing the talent shortage faced by the industry. A core aspect of this work has been focused on developing on-ramps for students with emphasis on reaching populations underrepresented in the industry historically.      

Earlier, Meg held several high-profile roles with Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company in Seattle. Meg was a core member of the fundraising team credited with closing many of the young company's largest and most influential investors. She also served as a communication and public affairs director, garnering the early-stage biotech national media attention. Her work included targeted government affairs campaigns to educate members of Congress on the lack of funding sources for early-stage novel drug development and the importance of prioritizing funding for infectious diseases. 

Previously, Meg worked as a broadcast news reporter and anchor in the Seattle. Meg holds a bachelor's degree from Smith College. 

Colleen Elizabeth Annesley, MD

Attending Physician at Seattle Children's Hospital

Colleen Annesley, MD, is an attending physician at Seattle Children's Hospital, and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington. Her clinical areas of interest are leukemia, lymphoma, and high risk or relapsed leukemia, as well as CAR T cell therapy approaches.

Hilary Hehman

Vice President of Business Development at Fred Hutch

Hilary Hehman is the Vice President of Business Development at Fred Hutch, where she creates and executes strategies aimed at growing the institutional portfolio of strategic partnerships that connect Hutch researchers with commercial partners to achieve the Center’s mission – curing cancer. Hilary started her career as a bench scientist working in the Developmental Chemotherapeutics and Experimental Immunology Divisions at the National Cancer Institute before transitioning to study both
business and law. Hilary is able utilize her understanding of cancer, intellectual property, and business to create collaborations with industry and venture capital funders that accelerate translation of academic science to the clinic and into the commercial market.

Hilary previously held a similar role at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She was also formerly a Senior Policy Analyst at the Judicial Council of California where she applied her scientific background to empirical legal research that generated hard data to evaluate statewide judicial policy initiatives.

Tom Whitehead

President & Co-founder at Emily Whitehead Foundation

Tom Whitehead is a keynote speaker, author, and journeyman lineman for Penelec, a FirstEnergy Company. He is also the proud father of Emily, and co-founder of the Emily Whitehead Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer immunotherapy research. Tom and his wife Kari founded the Emily Whitehead Foundation in honor of their daughter Emily who was diagnosed at age five with an aggressive form of leukemia that failed to respond to chemotherapy. As a last hope, Emily was enrolled in a clinical trial and became the first pediatric patient in the world to receive CAR T-cell therapy. The therapy worked and Emily is now 10 years cancer free and considered cured.