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Power moves: Dena Driscoll joins Public Interest Law Center

May 13, 2019 Category: ColumnFeaturedMediumPeople

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

1. Dena Driscoll becomes director of development at Public Interest Law Center.

Dena Driscoll is the new director of development and communications at Public Interest Law Center — which uses high-impact legal strategies to advance the civil, social, and economic rights of communities in the Philadelphia region facing discrimination, inequality, and poverty. Driscoll will be creating and executing a comprehensive development plan to raise money for the organization from foundations and donors, as well as directing its communications efforts.

Over the past 10 years, Driscoll has held leadership and fundraising positions at several nonprofits in the city, including Neighborhood Bike Works, Smith Memorial Playground, Elfreth’s Alley, and Bartram’s Garden.

2. Valerie Gay leaves Art Sanctuary to join Barnes Foundation.

Valerie Gay. (Courtesy photo by Whitney Thomas)

Valerie Gay, most recently the executive director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, assumed the role of the deputy director for audience engagement and chief experience offer at the Barnes Foundation in April. According to the Foundation’s release, “Gay will play a leading role in growing and sustaining the Foundation’s relationship with audiences in the Philadelphia region and embedding visitor-centered thinking into every aspect of the Barnes.” Gay will oversee public and community programs, lead the visitor experience team, and expand diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Before serving as ED at Art Sanctuary, Gay served as an assistant dean for institutional advancement for Temple University’s College of Education. She founded the nonprofit Fortress Arts Academy, and was the cofounder of both the Ever Ensemble, and the firm Davis Gay + Associates.

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3. Young Professionals Council recognizes three with Spotlight Awards.

L to r: Siah McCabe, Basil Jackson, Naima Murphy. (Courtesy photos)

The Young Professionals Council (YPC), a council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, recently announced the recipients of their first annual Spotlight Awards, which recognize the dedication and achievements of YPC members.

Siah McCabe, project lead, practice transformation at Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Basil Jackson, marketing assistant, IDP Education Ltd.; and Naima Murphy, director of partnerships, Campus Philly, have demonstrated “remarkable leadership, exceptional volunteerism, a drive for career advancement, and outstanding relationship-building skills,” according to the Chamber release. The awards will be presented June 6.

4. Lenfast Institute for Journalism announces the inaugural recipients of the Lenfest Next Generation Fund Award.

Bobbi Booker. (Courtesy photo)

One of the Philadelphia-based Lenfast Institute for Journalism’s goals is to increase the representation of people of color among working journalists in Philadelphia. To that end, according to the Institute, the 21 winners of NextGen Awards will receive a stipend to attend a professional development conference of their choice. One of the recipients is Bobbi Booker, a technology culture reporter for The Philadelphia Tribune where she is in charge of #TheNewNext, a column featuring in-depth podcast reviews, interviews with podcasters of color and digital technology and social media trends. She is also a Generocity contributor.

Other recipients include:

  • Hannah Chin
  • Michaelle Bond
  • Gabriela Watson-Burkett
  • Anh Nguyen
  • Rjaa Ahmed
  • Hadiyah Weaver
  • Cherri Gregg
  • Raishad Hardnett
  • Cassie Owens
  • Darryl C. Murphy
  • TyLisa C. Johnson
  • Jonathan Lai
  • Manuel McDonnell Smith
  • Marissa Weekes Mason
  • Aneri Pattani
  • Yanuara Ramirez
  • Elizabeth Estrada
  • DeArbea Walker
  • Michael Butler
  • Ernest Owens

5. Kimmel Center CEO Anne Ewers to receive honorary doctorate from Drexel.

Anne Ewers, Kimmel Center president and CEO, was selected by Drexel University to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters as part of their 2019 commencement ceremonies. She is being recognized for her  dedication to the arts, as well as her financial management during the past 12 years on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus.

6. West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution presents three leadership impact awards, and one surprise award.

L to r: Harold Epps, James Burnett, Rakia Reynolds, Steve Palmer. (Photo by Justus Henry Photography)

At its annual Opportunity Breakfast April 25, the West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution (WPFSI) presented three Leadership Impact Awards to:

  • Harold T. Epps, the commerce director for the City of Philadelphia, for his visionary leadership in business;
  • Rakia Reynolds, the founder and CEO of Skai Blue Media, for her thought leadership and business success;
  • The Goldenberg Group, a diverse development company, for their transformative vision that changes people’s lives.

In addition, WPFSI presented a “surprise” award to Michael Gross, for his development of the WesGold Fellows Program.


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