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Power Moves: Philly’s LGBTQ board prep program picked its inaugural class

The first class of Philly's Community Leadership Pipeline Initiative. December 4, 2018 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPeople

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

1. Philadelphia’s first LGBTQ board prep program is ready to begin …

The Community Leadership Pipeline Initiative, announced in September, will train LGBTQ people of color, youth, trans people and seniors about the ins and outs of board service and match them with leadership positions at local nonprofits.

“The Community Leadership Pipeline is a revolutionary initiative that seeks to foster more diverse representation within our grassroots, non-profit organizations that impact our communities every day,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “By removing barriers to access that have traditionally excluded crucial members of our communities from board service, the Leadership Pipeline will help to provide the tools needed for these voices to finally take their place at the table. We are honored to welcome 20 extraordinary individuals who have taken an important step towards further developing their leadership within our communities.”

The half-year program began in November. These are the 20 members — out of 120 applicants — of the inaugural class:

  • Jarrett Thompson
  • Shelli Branscomb
  • Dr. Monique Gary
  • Kaleb Aronson
  • Brenda Zenoka
  • Tyunique Nelson
  • Tekara Gainey
  • Terry Young
  • Damon Reaves
  • Wilfredo Hernandez
  • Jay Alston
  • Kai Thigpen
  • Morgan Mahdavi
  • Phillip Sylvester
  • Tierra Rich
  • Brandon Thompson
  • Shara Howard
  • Mars Bielski
  • Bri Golphin
  • Katrina A Robinson

2. … and Office of LGBT Affairs Director Amber Hikes was named to Out magazine’s 2018 OUT100.

3. Toronto-based Dr. Richard Florida is the first recipient of the Philadelphia Fellowship.

Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University City Science Center presented the joint award to the scholar, who is the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute within the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, on Nov. 27.

The year-long fellowship will support research on inclusion and equity in Philadelphia. Florida will study the “drivers of economic and racial segregation and defin[e] meaningful goals for equity and economic inclusion,” per a press release.

The three sponsors’ partnership “underscores the central role that anchor institutions play in ensuring the innovation economy creates opportunities for everyone,” said Drexel President John Fry in a statement.

4. Education Law Center’s new policy director is Reynelle Brown Staley.

Brown Staley. (Courtesy photo)

ELC announced this month that it had promoted Brown Staley to oversee its local and statewide policy advocacy for fair school funding, equal access to resources and disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. She was first hired by the nonprofit as a policy attorney in August 2017.

“Reynelle has been an essential member of our team, thoughtfully, strategically, and effectively carrying forth our mission through policy advocacy,” said Deborah Gordon Klehr, ELC’s executive director, in a statement. “Whether she is artfully providing testimony to the school board in Philadelphia or advocating for policy changes in Harrisburg, her work helps ensure access to quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania.”

She worked previously as the founding executive director of the nonprofit After-School All-Stars Philadelphia and deputy director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. She also participated in the inaugural Philadelphia African-American Leadership Development Program.

5. Lisa Mosca is Food Moxie’s new ED.

Lisa Mosca. (Courtesy photo)

The food education nonprofit hired the longtime food justice advocate in early November. Mosca previously worked for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for over a decade, including as associate director of its City Harvest program, and most recently worked for East Park Revitalization Alliance as director of community food systems.

Jill Fink led the Northwest Philadelphia-based food justice nonprofit for over five years, including through a rebranding processuntil this past June.

6. Tim Wisniewski is leaving the City of Philadelphia — and Philadelphia.

At the end of November, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation announced some big news: It’s undergoing a restructuring, and its beloved chief data officer will be leaving at the end of the year to spend some time across the pond.

The civic tech realLIST honoree took on the role in 2016 and led the team to release more than 200 open data sets.

Wisniewski defines civic tech as a unifier: “One definition I’ve used is roughly that it’s applying the skills and approaches you see at modern design and tech companies to government and community building,” he wrote during our November Slack AMA. “So much of what goes in to civic tech is bringing people together who may not otherwise interact.”

Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski announcing the new site.

Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski announcing the new site. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

7. Anne Wakabayashi left Emerge Pennsylvania for Emerge America.

The political wonk and chair of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission spent three years leading the state’s leadership accelerator for Democratic women as its founding executive director. In this new role, she will oversee the national org’s support program for graduates as its alumnae director.

Under Wakabayashi’s watch, eight out of eight Emerge PA graduates who ran for office in November 2017 won.

8. Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania rearranged its org structure.

As of Oct. 1, 19 staffers of the Montgomery County-based girls leadership nonprofit were promoted, and the senior management team was reorganized for a “renewed focus on recruitment and fundraising, with the girl experience remaining at the center of everything we do,” said CEO Kim Fraites-Dow in a statement. Changes include:

  • Former Chief Revenue Officer Stephanie Lim Capello has been promoted to COO
  • Former fundraiser Lori Franzke has been promoted to VP of fund development
  • Former Senior Director of Member Strategy Deborah Roman has been promoted to VP of membership engagement
  • Former Director of Outcomes and Outreach Deirdra Rockemore has been promoted to senior director of membership recruitment
  • Former Director of Member Services Katrina Gable has been promoted to senior director of volunteer training and support

GSEP also added six new board members:

  • Stephanie Kosta, VP of government and regulatory affairs and community impact, Comcast’s Freedom Region
  • Joanne McFall, market president, Keystone First
  • Deborah E. O’Brien, senior VP and market manager within the Enterprise Business & Community Engagement Group, Bank of America
  • Shelley Smith, partner, Archer Law
  • Alison Snyder, personnel director, East Penn Manufacturing
  • Emily Turner, financial advisor within the Investment Management Group, Goldman Sachs

9. Dr. Charlotte Jacobs got a promotion within Penn GSE.

The Girls Justice League executive director and 2018 Leader List honoree is now the co-director of the Independent School Teaching Residency program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, a new role within the school. She previously worked as an adjunct lecturer.

Here’s what she shared in August about the importance of young women working together in leadership positions:

“Especially as our society is becoming more segregated by socioeconomic status and by race, having spaces where we’re being intentional about bringing people from various backgrounds and experiences together to do the work is also important,” she said. “Particularly as a girl, you’re able to achieve anything you set your mind to.”

10. A whole bunch of impact folks are receiving awards in the coming months.

  • University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Amy Gutmann will receive the 2018 William Penn Award from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia on April 26.
  • Streets Dept. founder Conrad Benner will be honored at the Arts League’s annual gala on March 16.
  • Sky Community Partners named Independence Blue Cross Foundation President Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake as its 2018 Person of the Year at its Stars in the Sky Awards Reception on Nov. 27.
  • Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, cofounder and VP of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, will receive Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians’ Dennis Clark Solas Award on Feb. 28.


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