Images of four masked people and title of session: Paths to Recovery
“Paths to Recovery” fall panel series, an interdisciplinary approach to creating a better future
Aug 28, 2020, by Staff Writer
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Contact: Cecilia Cooper, Director of Public Relations,, 401-232-6932

SMITHFIELD, RI – Building on the success and positive response to the spring “Pandemic Economics” panel series, Bryant University and the Rhode Island Foundation will again partner to deliver a new four-part fall panel series, “Paths to Recovery: Strategies for Getting Back to Work and to a Better Future.” The series, sponsored by Citizens Bank and Fidelity Investments, will launch Wed., Sept. 16 at 3 p.m., with additional panels to be held Oct. 7, Nov. 10, and Dec. 9. The panels are free and open to the public.

Links to video recordings of the panels are available below. 


The moderated virtual panel series will further examine the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, as well as the gaps it has revealed in our governments, our businesses and organizations, and our communities. Distinguished experts, scholars, leaders, and policy makers will focus on the road to recovery from the perspectives of health care, finance, social issues, and economic competitiveness. Each panel will explore the key question: Going forward, how can businesses, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and government work together to shape a stronger future?

"Now more than ever, that culture of continuous improvement and innovation is a powerful asset to our organizations and our communities.”

“The pandemic continues to present dynamic challenges across every sector of society and the economy. As we look to a more positive future, Bryant is proud to partner with the Rhode Island Foundation to convene this forum. Our panelists will share insights on how we can collaborate and use some of the management, entrepreneurship and leadership principles we teach in the classroom,” says Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.

For 158 years, Bryant has delivered innovative programs that address the emerging needs of our students, industry, and society. Now more than ever, that culture of continuous improvement and innovation is a powerful asset to our organizations and our communities.”

"We need to work together to create a better future that is more inclusive and designed to provide better education and more equitable opportunities to everyone in our communities."

“We value our partnership with Bryant University and the opportunity to bring the important issues of economic security, education, and health to the forefront of these discussions,” said Neil Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “We need to work together to create a better future that is more inclusive and designed to provide better education and more equitable opportunities to everyone in our communities. This forum brings people together to explore ways to accomplish this.”


Below are panel descriptions and dates:

Panel 1: Healthcare in Pandemic Times: An Interdisciplinary Approach | September 16 at 3:00 p.m.


The importance of an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare has been brought to the forefront during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical to look beyond a singular lens for solutions and widen the scope to approach managing the health of our population that incorporates expertise from multiple sectors. In this panel, experts from different sectors of the healthcare industry will discuss the importance of collaboration in addressing human health and illness while working to maintain well-being for the global population.



Moderator: Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., Bryant University Professor; Chair, Department of Science and Technology; Director, Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences

Panel 2: Restoring the Social Fabric: Opportunities and Challenges | October 7, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.


This panel will explore social policy during periods of recovery from catastrophes and economic shock. Panelists will discuss the opportunities and challenges for individuals and organizations working to strengthen the social fabric in the current COVID-19-dominated landscape. What can they do themselves and where do they need help from official policymakers and government? What implications does this have for equity and inclusion in a diverse community? The panel will explore these and other critical questions pertaining to the “social side of the pandemic.”



Moderator: Neil Steinberg, President and CEO, Rhode Island Foundation 

Panel 3: Fintech and the Future of Finance and Banking | November 10, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.


Fintech businesses have been at the forefront of the digital revolution in the financial sector and are pushing traditional institutions to keep up. Unlike traditional institutions, Fintech companies are more likely to be digital, agile and modern. The speed and breath of technological change in recent years, however, marks a dramatic shift. This panel will address issues such as, who will win the battle for bank customers - traditional banks or the tech titans? What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on fintech and the future of banking?



Moderator: Margie O'Brien Reed, Broadcast Journalist, Director, RI Capitol TV

Panel 4: The Challenges Ahead after a Historic Election | December 9, 2020 at 10 a.m.


The President-elect faces many complex challenges as he prepares to take office in January; a politically divided country, a shattered economy, high unemployment, dysfunctional multinational organizations, and a global pandemic, that, even with the hope of a vaccine, continues to have a disruptive and often damaging impact on all parts of life and business. Panelists will provide expert insight on these issues, what to expect, and what we can do moving forward.

Panel Host:

Glenn Sulmasy, JD, LL.M, Bryant University Provost and Chief Academic Officer




Margie O'Brien Reed, Broadcast Journalist, Director, RI Capitol TV


This panel series is presented by Bryant university and the Rhode Island Foundation and sponsored by Citizens Bank and Fidelity Investments. 

Bryant University


RI Foundation




Fidelity Investments


About Bryant University 

For 157 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron's. Visit

About the Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $47 million and awarded a record $56 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2019. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit

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