Board of Directors
Reneé Finley, Chair
President & CEO
International Health Advisors
Ms. Finley is President & CEO of International Health Advisors, whose mission is to transform the health industry with proven approaches for value creation through meaningful health innovation.
Ms. Finley is the founder and past President of GuideWell Innovation including the GuideWell Innovation Center in Lake Nona Medical City, a global epicenter of health excellence, where thought leaders converge to address current state issues, evaluate emerging trends, and commercialize new solutions that are reshaping the health industry. Ms. Finley has led industry changing research and development, and served as the executive champion for key innovation partnerships including the Lake Nona Institute, Healthbox and Health+Accel, an entrepreneurial accelerator and investment fund for health care startups.
Additionally, she was responsible for promoting and enabling an enterprise-wide culture of innovation and imagination for GuideWell and its family of companies including, Florida Blue, the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Florida. During her almost 20 year tenure with the Blues, Ms. Finley led numerous business development initiatives including the startup of Availity, Novitas, and LSV all currently successful healthcare entities. Ms. Finley also currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Institute for the Commercialization of Florida Technology, as appointed by Governor Rick Scott.
Ms. Finley holds a Master of Business Administration from Jacksonville University and has completed executive development programs at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. Additionally, she received her certification from Wharton for Strategic Thinking and Management for Competitive Advantage and participates as a Wharton Fellow.
Sherrick T. Wassel (Rick), Vice Chair
Innovation & Strategy AdventHealth
Central Florida Division
Rick has been with AdventHealth for 22 years and is a corporate vice president, responsible for leading and managing the system's innovation and partnering strategies which include Corporate Partnerships, New Ventures, Innovation Lab, Real Estate Strategy, Intellectual Property and Commercialization, IQ Florida, and International Strategic Alliances.
Board level and advisory service include the following:
Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology (Gubernatorial Appointment)
Board Vice Chair (Chair 2016)
Chair, Audit Committee
Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund (Gubernatorial Appointment)
Board Vice Chair (Chair 2016)
Board Independent Director
Chair, Audit Committee
Co-Chair, Nominating & Governance Committee
Florida’s Eighth Congressional District (past)
Science & High Tech Advisory Board
Healthcare Advisory Board
National Association of Corporate Directors
Board Leadership Fellow
Florida Venture Forum
Board - Executive Committee
Jim O' Connell
Assistant Vice President of Commercialization Director,
Office of Technology Licensing
University of Florida
Mr. O’Connell has broad-based expertise managing and building teams and commercializing technology. Most recently, he served as the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Miami, acting as an agent of change from June 2013 until he arrived at UF OTL. In that role, he increased deal flow by 100 percent while reducing expenses, made it easier for faculty to disclose their inventions, and founded programs to reach out to faculty on UM’s engineering and marine science campuses.
Prior to his time at UM, Mr. O’Connell was Director of the Michigan Venture Center with the University of Michigan, where he lead an office that produced more than 10 startups per year based on university technology. Between 2008 and May 2013, he founded and created Michigan’s first startup company accelerator, directed a mentor-in-residence program to draw entrepreneurial talent into the university, and managed relationships with more than 100 venture capital firms. He also was the driving force behind the Coulter Translational Program that earned $20 million endowment from the Coulter Foundation and nurtured technology business formation that led to more than $30 million in VC funding.
Between 2005 and his arrival at University of Michigan in 2008, Mr. O’ Connell directed operations at Sensicore and Xoran Technologies, both startups in the Michigan area. He transitioned Sensicore’s manufacturing and operations out of “startup mode” and ramped up production to meet sales goals, resulting in an exit to GE. At Xoran, he initiated the CE Mark, ISO 13485 and FDA Manufacturing Compliance program and established a startup operations facility for manufacturing CT scanners. He built a 10-person team, set up supply chain, freight, shipped and installed 140 scanners, generating $35 million in sales and shipping product on time 100 percent of the time.
At Stryker Instruments, from June 1996 through March 2005, he worked his way from project engineer, where he manufactured bone cement, to manager, where he introduced more than 30 new products including power tools, analgesia pumps, and interventional pain devices, eventually serving as manager of operations business units, where he managed three units. In that role, he managed 45 employees and netted $60 million in sales.
Mr. O’Connell also served as Chief Evaluator Helicopter Pilot, 89th Operations Group, at Andrews Air Force Base. He earned his M.S. in engineering management from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.