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Power Moves (Part 1): Leah Yaw is Devereux’s new chief strategy officer

Leah Yaw. August 23, 2018 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPeople


Editor's note: Dang, well, this is what I get for waiting three weeks to publish a new Power Moves. With nearly 20 excellent entries that demand inclusion, I'm bumping half to a second part of this edition, rather than cramming them all into one column. Look for the rest tomorrow! -jz


Update: Leah Yaw's title is senior VP and chief strategy officer. (8/24, 10:20 a.m.)

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

1. Leah Yaw is rising through the ranks of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

Yaw was promoted within the massive, nationally focused behavioral health nonprofit last month from senior VP of external affairs to senior VP and chief strategy officer following an organizational restructuring. She joined the Villanova-based organization in 2009 as VP of development and comms.

In her new role, the exec will lead external communications, marketing and strategic planning focused on constituent input and formalized market research.

Other recent changes as a result of the restructuring include the promotion of Rhea Fernandes from ED of Devereux Pennsylvania’s Children’s Behavioral Health Services center to the role of chief operating officer; the promotion of Melanie Beidler from ED of Devereux Pennsylvania’s Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services center to the role of operations VP of children’s services; and the creation of a staffing agency to improve the organization’s healthcare recruiting for direct service employees.

2. Jamaine Smith is CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia’s new chief commons director.

Jamaine Smith. (Courtesy photo)

The coworking space-slash-fiscal sponsor’s senior community experience director is being promoted upon Liz Sytsma’s August departure to pursue work in fiber arts. Sytsma had taken the role in October 2017 after working as the org’s associate director.

Smith has a decade of experience in nonprofit administration and related work and was included in the most recent cohorts of both the Philadelphia African American Leadership Development Forum and Leadership Philadelphia’s Keepers program.

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“I am elated to continue my work with CultureWorks in this capacity,” he wrote in a recent CultureWorks newsletter. “As the great songstress Ciara said, it’s truly time to ‘level up‘ myself as a leader and the work of CW.”

3. Karin Copeland has stepped down from the Arts + Business Council.

The former industrial designer departed in June after nearly seven years as its executive director. In an open letter on LinkedIn, Copeland wrote:

“Though I enjoyed my time in this role, I have decided to leave my position as executive director to follow my own passions. I believe that every role has an expiration date and — while proud of the unique content I developed and brought to Philadelphia — creators need to create and I am scratching that itch! So I am working on bold plans that I will reveal soon.”

4. Antoine Haywood left PhillyCAM for academia.

Antoine Haywood. (Courtesy photo)

The membership and outreach director’s last day was Aug. 10. Next up: pursuing a doctorate in communications at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School. (His research interest is, appropriately, media activism in Philadelphia.)

The media access nonprofit is in the process of hiring Haywood’s replacement and plans to fill the role by the beginning of September.

5. Neighborhood Bike Works named Alex Doty as its interim ED.

Doty worked previously as executive director of the national League of American Bicyclists and executive director of the local Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the latter for 12 years until October 2015.

NBW’s board president announced Maluk’s July 31 departure in mid-June. Maluk moved to Philly from Seattle to lead NBW two years ago following the departure of Erin DeCou and is now a service manager at Trek Bicycle in Wayne.

6. Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman joined Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

The founder of consulting firm THINK.urban — which hosted the inaugural Women Led Cities Initiative forum this past March — began working as a part-time project manager in May and recently became a full-time staffer, though she said she’ll keep THINK alive for consulting work.

“I’m happy to join the Lindy Institute because of how much their work aligns with my own,” she wrote in an email. “As an urban anthropologist, my expertise lies in pre- and post-construction qualitative observations of public space, and the Institute allows for a more robust analysis thanks to the support of the team and location with a larger university.”

Johnston-Zimmerman is also a guest lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology Masters of Urbanism program in Stockholm, and a member of the 2018-2019 Keepers cohort.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman. (Courtesy photo)

7. Several Philadelphians made the country’s first statewide LGBTQ Affairs Commission.

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf established the commission at the beginning of August in order to “ensure obstacles are removed for anyone who is facing an unfair disadvantage based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” he said in a statement. “It’s a step we took together with our stakeholder and advocacy groups and one that those involved asked for — a commission to help coordinate and drive statewide equality efforts.”

Emerge Pennsylvania ED Anne Wakabayashi will serve as chair. Other locally based members include:

  • Office of LGBT Affairs Director Amber Hikes
  • William Way Community Center ED Chris Bartlett
  • The Tactile Group President Marc Coleman
  • Sen. Larry Farnese
  • Women’s Medical Fund ED Elicia Gonzales
  • State House candidate Malcolm Kenyatta
  • State House candidate Kristin Seale
  • Rep. Brian Sims

8. Stephen Zarrilli is the Science Center’s new president and CEO.

Stephen Zarrilli. (Courtesy photo)

The exec takes on the role Oct. 1. Former head Stephen Tang stepped down in February to lead OraSure Technologies.

Zarrilli worked for the past six years as the president and CEO of venture capital firm Safeguard Scientifics, but resigned this spring following “a tumultuous battle with investor groups,” as described by Philly.

The University City research and development nonprofit also recently hired Tracy Brala as its VP of ecosystem development.

9. Next City picked Lucas Grindley as its new ED.

Grindley previously worked as president of Pride Media, which oversees LGBTQ outlets The Advocate magazine, Out magazine and, and as editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

He succeeds Tom Dallessio, Next City’s president, CEO and publisher for three years before stepping down in April. The Philly-based, internationally focused news site for better cities also recently hired a new editorial director, Kelly Regan.

“With newsrooms downsizing all over the country, and with policymaking in gridlock at the national level, someone has to fill the void,” Grindley wrote to newsletter subscribers. “Next City’s mission of finding and elevating the smartest local ideas for improving cities is more necessary than ever. We are the information powering a movement to make cities more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable. We must safeguard cities’ role as our nation’s laboratories for problem-solving.”

Read Part 2 here


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