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Power Moves: Kiera Smalls is Philly Startup Leaders’ new ED

Kiera Smalls. March 5, 2018 Category: ColumnEventFeaturedLongPeople

Power Moves is a semi-regular column chronicling leadership movements within Philly’s social impact community. Send announcements to

1. Kiera Smalls is the new head of Philly Startup Leaders.

Smalls takes over the startup network, which aims to be an entry point for the local tech community, today.

She worked most recently as marketing manager for Bicycle Transit Systems, the Indego bike system’s management company, where she led diversity and inclusion efforts. She’s also the cofounder of the popular fitness group City Fit Girls.

“I’m most excited to connect entrepreneurs and companies to tools and resources that can aid in their growth and success,” Smalls wrote about her new gig in an email.

PSL lost its first executive director, Yuval Yarden, last fall after she was a part of an explosive exchange about diversity in Philly’s tech community during a filmed panel.

On how the group plans to keep its programming and services inclusive moving forward, Smalls said, “we will continue to assess the needs of current and potential members and use that information to guide us forward. PSL has received great feedback regarding diversity and inclusion from people who care deeply about its success and I’m looking forward to digging into that feedback and working with the community, staff, and [Board] of Directors, on the best path forward.”

Read Smalls’ letter to the PSL community at Philly.

From our Partners

Robert Listenbee. (Courtesy photo)

2. An Obama appointee is the district attorney’s new First Assistant DA.

Robert L. Listenbee is DA Larry Krasner’s pick for the leadership position. That means there are now two first assistants: Judge Carolyn Engel Temin was also appointed by Krasner to the First Assistant District Attorney position last month.

Listenbee worked previously as administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the U.S. Department of Justice, to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama, and before that as chief to the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s Juvenile Unit.

Listenbee is also a Stoneleigh Foundation Visiting Fellow, supporting local juvenile justice reform efforts alongside Drexel University’s Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab.

3. Jeff Hornstein is the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia’s new ED …

The former director of financial and policy analysis for the Philadelphia City Controller took over the economic research and civic leadership hub’s top position on Feb. 1.

Hornstein also serves on the boards of Queen Village Neighbors Association and Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition and cofounded the Friends of Neighborhood Education, a coalition of public school Friends groups.

Josh Sevin. (Courtesy photo)

4. … and Josh Sevin left the Economy League after eight years.

Sevin resigned from the League at the end of February after working in various positions, including deputy director, managing director of regional engagement and most recently acting executive director, from March 2017 through this January, following the departure of ED Steve Wray.

The Young Involved Philadelphia cofounder told Generocity he plans to take on consulting projects as he looks for his next nonprofit opportunity.

5. Lutheran Settlement House announced its Women of Courage honorees.

The Fishtown social services nonprofit will honor Nikki Johnson-Huston, a tax attorney and the founder of the Donafy app, and Liz Hersh, director of the city’s Office of Homeless Services, at its annual awards ceremony on May 18.

Women of Courage “celebrates the tenacious spirit of remarkable women who have overcome obstacles and continue to advocate for the community.” The event will also celebrate the Jane Addams Place’s 10th anniversary as well as five individual LSH clients.

Mary Ellen Caro. (Courtesy photo)

6. Peirce College just named its first female president and CEO.

Dr. Mary Ellen Caro will join the 153-year-old institution for adult learners on April 16, replacing James J. Mergiotti following his retirement.

Caro is the current VP of enrollment management and learner services at Trenton’s Thomas Edison State University. Previously, she worked in several executive positions at AT&T.

(Read this guest post from Peirce College’s VP of Institutional advancement and strategic partnerships, Uva Coles, on five ways employers can shrink Philly’s economic divide.)

7. Nina Ahmad is now running for lieutenant governor.

The city’s former deputy mayor of public engagement announced her resignation from local government to run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s First District in November.

Last week, though, following the state’s release of its newly redrawn congressional map, Ahmad announced she was trading in her congressional campaign to run for lieutenant governor “after much careful consideration of the new districts, and taking into account the overwhelming support I’ve received, the funds I’ve raised, and many promising conversations,” as she wrote to her newsletter subscribers.

She’ll face a handful of other Democratic candidates to be Gov. Tom Wolf’s running mate, such as the embattled Philly native and current Lt. Gov. Mike Stack and John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, Pa., and a 2016 candidate for U.S. Senate.

Philadelphia OIC Executive Director Kevin Johnson also changed his political plans because of the map’s redrawing: According to, Johnson is no longer running for the First Congressional District, but the Third District.

Sheila Ireland. (Photo courtesy of University City District)

8. Sheila Ireland is the newly formed Office of Workforce Development’s new ED.

The new city office will bring together select staffers from the Managing Director’s Office, Department of Commerce and Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, plus the entire Office of Adult Education.

Ireland has worked for the past six months as community redevelopment initiative Rebuild’s deputy director for diversity and inclusion, a position she will keep until it is filled. Previously, she worked as VP of workforce solutions at University City District, where she oversaw the nonprofit’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and Green City Works.

“With the new citywide workforce strategy, we have an opportunity to address some of the toughest systemic issues facing the people of Philadelphia, while simultaneously meeting a real need for talent in the business community,” Ireland said in a press release.

Kathy Lindenmayer. (Courtesy photo)

9. Kathy Lindenmayer is DataArts’ new director of development and partnerships.

The nonprofit and data platform hired Lindenmayer in January. She worked for the previous six years as director of development and membership for national funder association Grantmakers in the Arts.

Last week, DataArts dropped a video series on data literacy for arts nonprofits.

10. Tony Abraham is leaving Technically Media for Healthcare Dive.

Abraham will join the Industry Dive media network as a reporter for its healthcare news site on March 26.

His first story for Technically Media was published at Philly in August 2014. Since then, he’s worked as lead reporter for Delaware and Generocity, where he’s written more than 600 articles over the years, and most recently worked as the media company’s special projects reporter. He won “Best Community Reporting” at the Philadelphia News Awards in December 2016.

He’s also a true delight. We’ll miss him a lot. 👋

The Technically Media team at our All-Team Day, December 2017; Tony Abraham is at left.


Full disclosure: Christopher Wink, Generocity parent company Technically Media’s cofounder and CEO, is on Philly Startup Leaders’ board. He was not involved in this report.


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