Dec. 23, 2020 11:42 am

The last Power Moves of the year is packed with changes

Departures, new hires, interim appointments, and new board members from across the sector.

(Courtesy photos)

There are so many changes to note at this time of year that we’re temporarily changing up the format of our column.

We’ll return to our usual way of writing about power moves in the sector in 2021, but for now here is our grouped and condensed version of the column…


The City of Philadelphia has announced a slew of departures in past few months, including the leaders of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the Acting Commerce Director, and the City Solicitor.

Rue Landau, the executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and Fair Housing Commission, leaves city government December 18 to  join the faculty at Temple University Beasley School of Law to teach housing law.

Rue Landau.

Landau has served in this position in city since 2008, when she was appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter. During her tenure in the office, Landau is credited with revising the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance and Fair Housing Ordinance to add civil rights protections including wage equity, fair chance hiring for people with criminal records, and reasonable accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Additionally, according to the City’s statement, she added protections for marginalized populations such as the LGBTQ community, revitalized the Interagency Civil Rights Task Force and worked to launch a Rapid Response Team to address hate crimes, and bias incidents in Philadelphia.

Landau has received a number of awards for her work, including the Equal Justice Award from Community Legal Services (2020), the Cheryl Ingram Advocate for Justice Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association’s LGBT Rights Division (2019), the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award on behalf of the PCHR (2016), the Building Bridges, Opening Doors Award from HIAS PA (2010), and “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer (2006).

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Sylvie Gallier Howard.

Sylvie Gallier Howard plans to leave her post as the City’s Acting Commerce Director to return to consulting on economic development policy, organizational strategy, and leadership development. She had been appointed to that role in February 2020, after the departure of commerce director Harold Epps.

According to a statement released by the City, Gallier Howard led the department “through one of the toughest times for Philadelphia businesses in recent memory, including mandated business closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, plus periods of civil unrest.”

During her tenure as acting commerce director, Gallier Howard led a cross-sector collaborations that included a $13.3 million Relief Fund for businesses impacted by COVID-19, a $1.6 million grant program for businesses affected by civil unrest, and the distribution of 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to neighborhood businesses. In her earlier work with the City, Gallier Howard led Philadelphia’s bid to Amazon for the HQ2 search.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work of the talented, dedicated, hard-working Commerce team, especially during these difficult last eight months. Without a doubt, my eight years in public service have been one of the most rewarding periods of my life,” Gallier Howard said via the emailed statement.

Mayor Jim Kenney also announced that Marcel Pratt  departed his position as city solicitor December 10 to become the managing partner of the Philadelphia office of the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP.

Marcel Pratt.

According to the statement on the departure released by the city, “Pratt, who joined the City in August 2016 as chair of the litigation group, was elevated to City Solicitor in March 2018, becoming the youngest person ever appointed and confirmed to the City’s top legal post.”

During his tenure, Pratt litigated some of the City’s highest profile legal cases, including restoration of the salary-history question ban and serving as co-counsel at trial during the City’s successful sanctuary cities litigation. He also led the City’s recent effort to sue the General Assembly for harming Black and Brown communities by preempting Philadelphia from passing common sense gun safety laws.

“Pratt’s efforts to promote diversity in the office included committing the Law Department to considering at least 50% historically underrepresented lawyers for its open positions, the first municipal law department in the country to do so,” the announcement from the City stated.

Additionally, during his tenure in the office, Pratt served as co-chair of the steering committee for the Mayor’s Pathways to Reform, Transformation and Reconciliation initiative.

“I fought for my city, my hometown, and tried to use the law to make a difference,” he said via the announcement. “And I’ve been blessed, once again, with an amazing opportunity to practice law at the highest level in Philadelphia, this time back in the private sector.”


After 10 years at the helm of Campus Philly, Deborah Diamond will be leaving the organization, effective Jan. 29, 2021, to affiliate with U3 Advisors as director, Campus+City Consulting.

Deborah Diamond.

“I came to Campus Philly with several goals and ambitions for the organization,” Diamond said in an email sent to professional associates and colleagues. “To become the ‘go to’ organization for anyone wanting to connect with Greater Philadelphia’s college student population. To build meaningful relationships with college students so that they turn to Campus Philly as a trusted resource to learn about the best off-campus experiences. To broaden Campus Philly’s base of support to include more colleges and universities, employers and regional corporations, arts and culture partners, and civic organizations. To increase the number of college students who stay in the region after they graduate.”

Diamond stated that the organization had been able to achieve its goals.

“The past 10 years have been the most professionally happy ones of my life,” she said. “I have been a part of an incredible community in Philadelphia.”


Beth Dahle, the executive director of Compass Philadelphia, will be leaving the organization in 2021.

Beth Dahle.

Dahle told Generocity that she will continue with Compass “for the next several months to help identify a new ED and ensure a smooth transition. When I took this job to expand Compass to Philly from D.C., I thought I’d be in the position for two years. By the time I leave, it will be seven.”

“Compass is in a very strong place right now,” she added, “and new ED will be able to build on the foundation we set and solidified. We have a strong staff, a tremendous corps of volunteers from the business community (250 this year alone!) and an amazingly dedicated board.”

In an announcement published in its newsletter, the board of directors said; ‘There aren’t enough words to describe Beth’s impact at Compass … she built an impactful nonprofit that has made a difference in the lives of Greater Philadelphia nonprofit leaders and the people they serve. Her accomplishments are many and include building a community of business professional volunteers, delivering needed services to nonprofits across issue areas, and increasing the network of companies and foundations that support Compass for the greater good in Philadelphia.”

New hires

Mikecia Witherspoon.

Mikecia Witherspoon has been named government relations officer at Community College of Philadelphia. Witherspoon comes to the College from the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, where she served as deputy chief of staff. In addition to her government relations experience, she has also worked as a social media specialist for the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

“[Witherspoon] brings valuable experience to a critically important role as we continue to work with our elected officials to provide the best possible college experience for our students,” CCP President Dr. Donald Guy Generals said in announcing the hire.

Witherspoon holds a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.


Michael Rashid.

Michael A. Rashid has been named the City of Philadelphia’s new commerce director. President of Michael A. Rashid Associates and former CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas, Rashid succeeds Sylvie Gallier Howard (see  “Departures” above) who held the role of acting commerce director since March.

According to the announcement issued by the City, Rashid has decades of experience in the private sector. He served as CEO of Total Health Care in Baltimore, where “he helped pioneer the managed care industry.”  He also held numerous leadership positions prior to becoming president and CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas.

From 2013 to 2015, he served on the Obama Administration’s National Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Rashid sits on the boards of Drexel University and Harrisburg University.

“It will take an enhanced focus on partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to bring about the kind of recovery our city — and its residents — deserve,” Rashid said in the announcement. “I consider it the honor of my lifetime to advocate for our city’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, which are anchors for Philadelphia’s communities.”

Rashid holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.


Viviann Schorle.

The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation has hired Viviann Schorle as a program officer, effective January 4, 2021.

Schorle speaks Spanish, and had worked extensively with the Latinx community, according the emailed announcement. It further added that she has 20 years of experience in management, project coordination, and health and human services in the nonprofit sector, according to the emailed announcement.

Schorle previously served as the director of Project HOPE at Family Services of Montgomery County, and as a coordinator at the Interagency Council of Norristown.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Holy Family University, and a master’s degree from Rowan University. Additionally she has an Ascending Leadership Certificate from the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Maw College.


Jennifer Allebach.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania has named Jennifer Allebach as its chief mission delivery officer.

According to the statement from the organization, “Allebach is a third generation Girl Scout with five generations of Girl Scouts in her family. She is a Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.”

She previously served as chief program and volunteer officer for GSEP, but left in 2014 to serve as the chief girl experience executive at the Girl Scouts of the USA in New York City.

Allebach most recently served as senior vice president of camp and recreation programs at the Muscular Dystrophy Association in New York. Earlier in her career she served as a National Park Service Ranger for Independence National Historical Park, and as a museum educator at Schwenkfelder Center in Pennsburg. In addition served as a school board director for the Upper Perkiomen School District for 15 years.

Allebach holds a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University.


Nic Knepp.

Nic Knepp joined HealthSpark Foundation as its first manager of strategic analytics — a new position created to support the foundation’s efforts to build a more just and financially resilient social safety net.

Prior to joining HealthSpark, Knepp worked for the Prevention Research Center at Penn State. Earlier in her career, she held posts at the Wilmington Friends School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as well as an internship with the latter.

Knepp holds a bachelor’s degree from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University.


Mariah Casias.

Mariah Casias became the vice president of Learning and Evaluation at Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. The new role leads the design and evaluation of the organization’s overall learning strategy.

Casias previously served as a social impact fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, where she contributed to research and the compilation of data for the Regional COVID-19 Response Dashboard, developed by CHIP in partnership with Philanthropy Network.

Earlier in her career, Casias served as program manager for the Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize at Wharton; worked in grantwriting and major gifts for the Science History Institute in Philadelphia ,and as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Casias is part of the steering committee for the Philadelphia Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and is an alum of the 2020 Racial & Economic Justice Giving Project of the Bread & Roses Community Fund.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.


Marisally Santiago.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that it hired Marisally Santiago as the director of the Office of Ministry with Youth and Matthew Davis as the director of the Office for Ministry with Young Adults.

Santiago previously served as the associate director for Hispanic Youth Ministry-Pastoral Juvenil Hispana and Young Adult Outreach for the Archdiocese of Newark. In addition, since 2015 Santiago has served as youth minister for Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Garfield, New Jersey.

Earlier in her career, Santiago served as a youth minister at Holy Family Parish in Union City, New Jersey, and a retreat facilitator/team mentor for Cathedral High School in New York City.

She is a member of the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (La RED) and the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

Santiago holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida, a master’s degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, and a certification from La Universidad Juan Pablo II in Costa Rica.

Matthew Davis.

Davis joins the Archdiocesan office after having served as the director of the Office of Life and Justice Ministries and vice chancellor of the Diocese of Camden.

Davis previously served as director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees. Earlier in his career he taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in Philadelphia, Boston, Saint Louis and the Dominican Republic. In addition, he served in various capacities at the Saint Jane Community Center in Saint Louis, Catholic Student Center at Washington University, and Roosevelt Elementary School in Compton, California.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and is expected to complete his master’s degree at Villanova University in May 2021.


Sayeeda Rashid.

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition named Sayeeda Rashid as its resource director. Prior to joining PICC, she worked at the City of Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs.

According to the newsletter announcing her appointment, Rashid “is a social worker, coalition builder, and a proud queer South Asian woman. Her commitment to social and economic equity took root during her early years as a first-generation Bangladeshi immigrant from Saudi Arabia and navigating the intricate systems of inner-city neighborhoods of New York.”

Rashid holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, and two master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

Interim appointments and promotions

Randy Duque.

Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations Deputy Director Randy Duque is serving as the acting executive director of the office while a search is completed to finde Rue Landau’s successor (see Departures, above).

Duque has been the deputy director of PCHR since 2014. He is the past president of the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and served 10 years with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Duque holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a master’s degree from the School of Allied Health Professionals.

Diana Cortes.

At Marcel Pratt’s departure (see Departures, above), Diana P. Cortes, chair of the Litigation Group at the City of Philadelphia’s Law Department, has been named acting city solicitor pending a City Council vote to confirm her appointment.

According to the City’s announcement, the appointment is historic: Cortes will be the first Latina to become city solicitor.

Prior to joining the City’s law department, Cortes was an attorney at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin P.C. She previously worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP. She also clerked for the Hon. Juan R. Sánchez, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Cortes holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her law degree from Villanova University School of Law.

Additions to local boards of directors

The Philly POPS appointed four new members:

L to r: Dr. Rollo Dilworth, Jim Dever, Robert “Bobby” Donio, Dino Petrongolo.

  • Dr. Rollo Dilworth of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance
  • Jim Dever of Bank of America
  • Robert “Bobby” Donio of Frank Donio, Inc.
  • Dino Petrongolo of A.P. Construction.

Women Against Abuse appointed one new member:

  • Jacquelyn “Jackie” Linton, president of JL HR Solutions, LLC 

Women’s Way appointed three new members:

L to r: Harvey Floyd II, Linda Manfredonia, Ashlie Thornbury.

  • Harvey Floyd II, lecturer at University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School
  • Linda Manfredonia, consultant, formerly executive vice president and chief fiduciary and business risk officer at PNC 
  • Ashlie Thornbury,  leader of the partnerships team at Campus Philly

Womderspring Early Educaiton appointed two new board members:

L to r: Charles Bragitikos, Rafael Sonder.

  • Charles Bragitikos, principal and co-founder of Vibrant Development Group and Vibrant Ventures
  • Rafael Sonder, CFO of WatchBox in Bala Cynwyd







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