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Philly Tech Week Mayoral Forum on Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Monday, April 20

On Tues. May 19, the Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Primary may likely determine who will be the executive leader and public face for one of the country's largest cities for the next four or even eight years.

During the Nutter administration, there was an explosion of technology, entrepreneurship and new innovative thinking in the public, private and nonprofit spaces of the city. With that momentum, the Philadelphia technology and entrepreneurship communities should rally to show our interest in a smarter future.

Come out to the only mayoral forum dedicated to the issues of technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and the retention of this city's blossoming creative class. We'll get to hear the candidates address the issues outlined in our Mayoral Questionnaire. Find out more information here.

All major current and officially declared candidates have confirmed their attendance:

  • State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams
  • Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham
  • Former PGW executive Doug Oliver
  • Lawyer Nelson Diaz
  • Former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo (he's now left the race)
  • Others will be invited

This event is a part of Philly Tech Week's Civic Conference Day. Check out the full list of Civic Conference events.

Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street


  • Anthony Williams

    Anthony Williams

    Anthony Hardy Williams never dreamed he’d hold elective office growing up. After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College, he planned to use his economics degree to take over the business world. Hone his skills at a Fortune 500 company, then, strike out on his own. He followed his plan, working as a corporate analyst, next as an executive for PepsiCo, and then launched his own vending company. Then his world exploded – literally.

    That’s when he watched part of his childhood neighborhood engulfed in flames during the 1985 MOVE standoff in Philadelphia. He saw hopelessness creeping into formerly vibrant communities. He watched companies closing and jobs leaving, not just in his corner of the world, but all across Pennsylvania. Fear rose. Opportunities waned. Something needed to be done. Someone had to address the issues hanging over kitchen tables and the boardroom tables alike. Someone had to have better ideas. At 31, he decided to try and tackle that challenge.

    In joining the Pennsylvania Legislature – first as state representative for the 191st District in 1988, then as state senator of the 8th District in 1998 – he resolved to make the needs of his constituents known, and has, with solid results.

    He sticks to a simple dictate: find the best ideas and implement them – regardless if they originate with a fellow Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. It’s a commonsense, yet fearless approach to leadership that resists blind party allegiance or indebtedness to its patrons.It’s how he operates in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he serves as Democratic Whip, State Government (Chair) and a member of the Education, Communications and Technology, Law and Justice, Rules and Executive Nominations, Policy and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. His sense of advocacy compelled him to join the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, along with a number of community boards.

    As senator for the 8th District, one of the state’s most populous, he connects with and offers solutions for citizens in small towns, suburban enclaves and urban centers, serving people of all economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds with sensibility and compassion. That stems from the moral courage instilled in him by his father, the late Hardy Williams, the pioneering activist and former state senator, and his mother, Carole Williams-Green, a feisty and committed retired public school educator. And it’s replenished by the inspiration he finds in his wife, Shari, and their two daughters, Asia and Autumn.

  • Lynne Abraham

    Lynne Abraham

    Lynne Abraham has dedicated her life to serving Philadelphia. Now, Lynne’s running for mayor because she has the vision and experience to transform Philadelphia into America’s Next Great City.

    Lynne’s roots are proud and deep Philadelphia roots. The daughter of first-generation Americans, she grew up on the margins of poverty. Her father earned fifteen dollars a week, in good times, working on Dock Street hauling vegetables. Her grandparents were immigrants — a tailor and a butcher — from Europe.

    Like her parents and grandparents, Lynne was set on becoming a trailblazer. After graduating from Germantown High School, she became the first member of her family to attend college. She went on to earn her law degree from Temple Law School, where she was one of only two women in her class.

    Beginning to realize her own American Dream, Lynne Abraham entered public service — working to make it possible for every citizen of Philadelphia to realize their dreams. From job creation to law enforcement, her resume working for our city is unrivaled.

    Leading the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, one of the largest development and job creating agencies, Abraham was responsible for saving University Science Center, the nation’s largest urban technology park; establishing Franklintown; and bringing new jobs, like Gimbel’s Department Store in Market Street East, to the city.

    She was the first woman elected to the municipal court, then served as a common pleas court judge. She ran the city’s law office, with a multi-million dollar budget, more than 600 lawyers and staff and three different unions.

    Lynne’s most important position was serving as district attorney for five terms — at the time the highest elected office held by a woman in the city. As the city’s top prosecutor, she put away rapists and murders, consoled victims of crime, and worked with the police to make our city safer.

    Few other public servants have been elected city-wide eight times, but Lynne Abraham has what it takes to win. She’s running for mayor to fight for our future. Lynne knows how far our city has come—and she has the vision to take us forward.

  • Nelson Diaz

    Nelson Diaz

    The Honorable Nelson Diaz concentrates his practice in the areas of litigation, dispute resolution, public housing issues and government relations. He has represented public entities, corporations, hospitals, banks, and non-profit organizations in both state and federal Courts.

    Nelson served as a judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas from 1981 through 1993. He was the youngest judge elected to the Court and the first Latino judge in Pennsylvania history.

    In addition to his legal practice, Nelson served as the city solicitor of Philadelphia and was appointed by President Clinton to be the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he focused on reforming public and mixed-use housing programs.

    Nelson also served as a White House Fellow as special assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale.

  • Doug Oliver

    Doug Oliver

    I grew up in the Germantown section of the City - Hollow, named after the Happy Hollow Playground. I lived with my mom and my younger brother with the rest of my family not too far away. I attended High Street Church of God, and later New Covenant Church.

    Growing up, I bounced from school to school (Greenfield Elementary, High Street Christian Academy, Cedar Grove Christian Academy, Picket Middle School and Samson Freeman), before leaving to attend Milton Hershey School - a boarding school for economically disadvantaged children.

    I earned a degree in Journalism / Mass Communication from Lock Haven University, a Masters in Communication from LaSalle University and an Executive MBA from St. Joseph’s University.

    My areas of professional expertise are in business, politics, and communication. I have worked for both for-profit and non-profit organizations and for both local and state government. Each experience has brought me face-to-face with the issues that challenge our City.

    I am a father of a soon-to-be 12-year old son, Douglas I. Oliver, II, who keeps me grounded and focused on the things that matter. I am a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

    As a rule, I don’t kick the can down the road or avoid difficult conversations. I deal with challenges directly and fairly and I include as many people as possible in my decision making process.

    Everything I do in my professional and personal life is with an eye towards the future. And I know that with the right people, the right incentive and enough time, almost every problem can be solved.