The Health:Further crew is a quirky group of cool, driven, and frequently over-caffeinated people who are totally focused on making something better in healthcare through our community and festival. We’ve joined our diverse backgrounds, training and experience together in a second-floor office in East Nashville, in order to create an amazing experience for our community and move society towards the goal of better health.

We love coffee, weightlifting, soccer, traveling, eating out, cycling, music, running, good beer, cooking. We take our work — this community — seriously, but ourselves…not as much.

We want you to know all of this because it’s easier to have a conversation when you know something about the person you’re talking to. And that’s key — we want to talk with you, not at you. Also, we’re introducing ourselves because we view the Health:Further Festival in August as a reunion, not a conference. As such, we want you to know us (and vise versa) when we all show up at the Music City Center on August 22.

And with that, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.


Michaela M. Powell, Community Manager

I am the nerd around the office with the 3-ring binder stuffed with papers, timelines, notes, and pie charts.

My role at Health:Further is to curate the experience of our community throughout the year and at the festival. I am constantly asking: “How might we create an incredible experience for everyone?” Together, we need to cultivate a place for may people to come and share what they know or need. I want to enhance the time our community gives us and keep everyone engaged through content people care about and unique, personal touches. In short, my goal is to make sure you know you are part of something that holds value within health.

I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received my BFA with an emphasis in photography and graphic design. That led to work in the art and design world, including two stints at Hatch Show Print here in town. From there I moved on to operate The Skillery, a co-working space with a focus on entrepreneurship. Working at The Skillery continued what started at Hatch, learning to build a strong community through an array of diverse people and different types of interactions.

I am actively pushing health further in my personal life by teaching small group strength classes and being an ambassador with Walk Bike Nashville. Outside of teaching, I can be found in a gym doing some hefty weight lifting, on my bicycle going as fast as the wind will let me, writing funny songs about kettle bells on my ukulele, connecting with people over coffee or beer and eating doughnuts, naturally.

Want to connect? My top 3 favorite ways to meet up are over morning coffee, afternoon beer or a bicycle ride. These options are not for everyone (unless you want to meet up in Nashville or bring me to Seattle for some Victrola coffee). If not, we should connect via email ( or LinkedIn.


David Shifrin, Community Editor

My job is to find interesting people with interesting things to say and get them to talk about their work and their perspective.

I’m a scientist by training. I started as a lab tech in cancer research at Vanderbilt, then moved on to grad school where I picked up a PhD in cell biology (host-microbe interactions in the small intestine, in case you’re really wondering).

My professional interests revolve around helping people communicate more effectively. My premise is that data isn’t enough. You need to wrap data in an engaging narrative to put it in context and give people a reason to care. That idea led me to leave lab and start my own shop creating marketing content for life science and healthcare companies. It was a chance to see new research and products at the earliest stages, while helping companies figure out the best way to message their work.

Now, Health:Further represents an incredible opportunity to work with the rest of the team at Jumpstart Holdings to do what I love: helping people tell their stories and figuring out how to produce interesting content to engage our community.

As far as other stuff outside of work: I roast my own coffee (not well, but at least it’s fresh), run (Brooks Pure Flow), ride occasionally (Trek Madone), and try to get at least a quick scuba trip in every year or so.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to drop me a note at


Tori Hughes, Director of Partnerships

I help align great partnerships for Health:Further. After years of selling national advertising for media companies in New York City and Nashville to Fortune 500 clients, a series of twists and turns eventually landed me at the Nashville Post. As publisher, I became immersed in the entrepreneurial community and partnered with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to premiere the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame ceremony in 2013. From there I had a short stint with a start-up company that helped put on Jumpstart Foundry’s Investor Day in 2014.

Out of this process came the realization that I could help strategically align a robust healthcare innovation ecosystem with great companies wanting to do great things. Now that is what I do for Health:Further.

More about me outside of work: Having moved from New York City to Nashville, I’m delighted to see how sound economic development decisions have catapulted my adopted city to a new level in the past decade. I now proudly tout the Nashville restaurant scene that my husband and I enjoy regularly. Also, I’m a self-professed Gen Y expert, making half the staff feel like they’re being studied in their natural habitat.

For questions about Health:Further, you can reach me at You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Lastly, you can direct any questions about the working habits of my millennial colleagues to me on Twitter @gotorihughes.


Taylor Triana, Program Manager

At Health:Further, I am the one who puts dates on our calendars and over-plans everything and drives Marcus crazy. As the Program Manager, I manage our Innovation Analysis research team and discover what kinds of innovation our Partners want. Then, I use this information to find great companies and connect them to the right Stakeholders. I worked at Jumpstart Foundry before moving over to Health:Further, so I have a soft spot for early stage companies and entrepreneurs trying to change the world.

Born and raised in Texas, I moved to Nashville to study at Vanderbilt University, where I double majored in Neuroscience and Anthropology. Like everyone else who moves here temporarily, I ended up staying in Nashville and came to love this city even more. I entered Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine to earn my MD, and later enrolled in Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management for an MBA. Graduation for both degrees happens in a few short months, when I will join the elite club of Vanderbilt “Triple ‘Dores:” a group of people who just can’t get enough school. Along the way, I also ran a non-profit clinic for uninsured folks called Shade Tree Clinic. Next, I am planning on doing an Internal Medicine residency to finish my training as a physician.

When I’m not at school or work, I spend most of time with my boyfriend, Rod, and my rescue dog, Luna. She loves the puppy park and hiking at Percy Warner. And is incredibly spoiled and cute. I also recently bought a new road bike and have been spending way too much time on the Natchez Trace. When I’m not outside, I love cooking, drinking, reading, and planning my next vacation.

Send any Health:Further questions my way at or find me on LinkedIn.


Marcus Whitney, Founder & CEO

I am the humbled leader of a great team seeking to realize a vision that sometimes lifts us off the ground and sometimes feels like its importance will crush us. We believe that a new model of convening a diverse group of people, passionate about the future of health, will be instrumental in achieving the best future possible. It’s my job to make sure this team is well equipped, aligned and informed.

How did I get here? I was fortunate to land in Nashville by luck in 2000 (an incredible time to arrive here by the way) and worked my way into the technology scene as a programmer. By 2010, a combination of Nashville’s unique knack for embracing newcomers and my irrational desire to make an impact, landed me in the position of Nashville’s Chief Technology Officer of the year with a successful startup on my résumé. This gave me a view into the incredible healthcare industry, which Nashville contributes to in such a big way.

I met my partner and dear friend Vic Gatto in 2009 and we (along with 20 other great friends) co-founded Jumpstart Foundry. A labor of love, we worked nights and weekends on it for five years and then quit our day jobs in 2014 to do it full time. Since jumping in with both feet, our team has grown to 16 and we have created a laser focus on what health can be. Not just an industry, but a wonderful pillar of our lives. The only way that happens is by trying to include every voice. Help us make that possible.


So that’s us. Now, who are you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Share This