14th Annual Goodwin Directors Forum
Under Jeff’s leadership, Spark has received regulatory approval for the first gene therapy for a genetic disease approved in both the U.S. and EU, launched the first gene in the United States, and has established human proof-of-concept of Spark’s gene therapy platform in both the retina and liver. In the five years since founding Spark, Jeff has secured more than $1 billion in capital and built an organization of more than 325 colleagues. For two years running, Spark has been named to the top 10 of MIT Technology Review’s “50 Smartest Companies”. It’s also been recognized as one of 2018’s most innovative companies in Biotech by Fast Company.
During a career that has spanned the public and private sectors, Jeff has consistently championed the potential benefits of precision medicine and healthcare reform for patients. Prior to Spark, he helped build the first genetic testing benefit management and pharmacogenomics medicines company up to and through the acquisition of a majority of the company's shares by CVS Caremark. Previously, Jeff served as an advisor to former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, where he led reforms in the financing and delivery of healthcare.
Sara Martinez Tucker is the former chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents. Tucker currently serves on the Boards of Directors of American Electric Power, Nationwide, Service Corporation, International, Sprint and Xerox. Tucker also serves on the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees. She previously served as CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative, an organization focused on improving student performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Prior to that, she served as the under secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. She was nominated to that post, the nation's top higher education official, by President George W. Bush. Prior to joining the Department, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees.
Prior to joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company's executive level. In her last assignment at the company, she served as a regional vice president for AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems, where she led her division to its highest profit levels. She also served as vice president for Consumer Operations which served AT&T's 80 million consumers. Under her leadership, this group contributed to the division's receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award.
Aaron von Staats is executive vice president, general counsel and secretary for PTC. In this position, Mr. von Staats is responsible for worldwide legal and compliance matters, including corporate governance, securities, compliance, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, technology licensing, litigation, employment, real estate and corporate subsidiary management.
Mr. von Staats was appointed PTC’s General Counsel in 2003 after joining the company in 1997. Prior to joining PTC Mr. von Staats practiced as an associate with the Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge LLP. He began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Paul J. Liacos, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Mr. von Staats is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association. He also serves as a board member of the not-for-profit organization City Year Boston and as a board member of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston.