Friday, June 14, 2024



Power moves: Top changes announced at Compass Working Capital and The Fund for Women and Girls

L to r: Mary Beth Morrissey, Michelle Legaspi Sanchez, and Markita Morris-Louis. September 20, 2021 Category: FeaturedLongPeople

1. Markita Morris-Louis named CEO of Compass Working Capital.

Compass Working Capital, a national nonprofit financial services organization that works to expand the reach and impact of a federal asset-building program for families with low incomes, recently announced that its founder, Sherry Riva, will be stepping down from her role as CEO in January 2022, and Philadelphia’s Markita Morris-Louis will helm the organization.

Morris-Louis became Compass Working Capital’s founding chief strategy officer in 2019, but even before joining the organization, she partnered with it to expand outside of its southern New England base and bring its Family Self-Sufficiency program to Philadelphia. In 2018, the organization became one of the recipients of a $600,000 investment by GreenLight Fund Philadelphia.

“I’m truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity and am thrilled that I get to continue this work from a new perch,” Morris-Louis told Generocity in an email. “Of course I’m staying in Philly! We’re opening an office here in the spring.”

Before joining Compass Working Capital in 2019, Morris-Louis served as the executive director of the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. Prior to that, the graduate of the inaugural Philadelphia African American Leadership Development Forum was SVP of community affairs and general counsel at the financial empowerment nonprofit Clarifi for more than five years.

A real estate lawyer, Morris-Louis earlier in her career held posts at Drinker, Biddle & Reath; Regional Housing Legal Services; New Economy Project (formerly NEDAP); and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Morris-Louis serves as investment advisor at Spring Point Partners; as chair of the Affordable Housing Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh; is a board member of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; and serves on the strategic planning committee of the Homeless Assistance Fund, Inc.. She formerly served as vice chair of the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board, and was a board member and former board president at Regional Housing Legal Services.

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A native Philadelphian and graduate of J.R. Masterman Lab & Demonstration School, Morris-Louis holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, and a law degree from New York University School of Law.

2. Michelle Legaspi Sanchez becomes the manager of advisory services for the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

After five years as the executive director of the Fund for Women and Girls in Chester County, Michelle Legaspi Sanchez became the manager of advisory services at the New York-based Nonprofit Finance Fund.

Legaspi Sanchez actually joined the Fund for Women and Girls six years ago, originally serving as director of programs and a year later assuming the role of executive director.

“I am so proud of what we have accomplished together,” Legaspi Sanchez said in a statement. “Over the years, we have navigated difficulties within the organization while also learning to adapt, respond, and lead in the face of extraordinary challenges in our community and the world around us. It led to the deepening of The Fund’s impact in so many ways, including more opportunities for girls to grow as leaders, more community-centered grantmaking, a louder voice on issues that affect all women and girls, and a stronger organizational presence through a clearer brand and vital community partnerships.”

Throughout her years at the Fund, Legaspi Sanchez also served as field instructor for graduate and undergraduate social work and graduate public health programs at West Chester University. Earlier she served as an adjunct professor at Rosemont College and Immaculata University.

Before joining the Fund, Legaspi Sanchez served first as special projects assistant, then as communications, evaluation and development manager, and finally as director of evaluation and reporting at the Maternal and Child Health Consortium of Chester. She also held posts at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Adoptions from the Heart.

She is a board member of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and is a former member of its diversity, equity and inclusion committee for four years. She formerly served as a member of the community investment team of the United Way of Chester County; a member of the leadership team of RoadMAPP to Health: Chester County Needs Assessment; member of the PLAN steering committee of the Chester County Community Foundation; member of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy – Philadelphia Chapter; and a member of the board of directors of La Comunidad Hispana.

Legaspi Sanchez holds a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

3. Mary Beth Morrissey named interim executive director of the Fund for Women and Girls.

After serving six years on the board of directors of the Fund for Women and Girls, Mary Beth Morrissey has been named the organization’s interim executive director, after Michelle Legaspi Sanchez’s departure September 17.

The Downingtown resident assumes the post after 33 years as the SVP and chief accounting officer of Liberty Property Trust.

Morrissey has served on the board’s Grants Allocation Committee and as treasurer and chair of the Finance and Investment Committees.

The board of the the Fund for Women and Girls has appointed a search committee with the goal of naming a permanent executive director by the end of 2021.

4. Briana Clarke becomes program director at ArtWell.

ArtWell, a nonprofit providing educational, arts-based programs for youth and communities facing discrimination, poverty and violence, announced that Briana Clarke has been named the organization’s program director. The promotion comes after a year of Clarke serving as program manager at the organization.

Clarke joined ArtWell in 2016 as a youth program teaching artist, transitioning subsequently into the role of ArtWell@Work facilitator, as well as serving as a teaching artist liaison on the board of directors from 2018 to 2020.

Prior to joining ArtWell, Clarke served as program coordinator for Camp Sojourner’s Teen Leadership Institute, lead teacher for Providence Center, vupervisor at FABYouth Philly Play Captains Initiative, and artist in residence at Spiral Q.

A Philadelphia native, Clarke studied at Penn State University, is a painter, and the illustrator of the children’s book “Yaya Plans a Block Party.”

5. Naimah Cann named managing director of operations and outreach at Tree House Books.

Tree House Books recently announced that Naimah Cann has become its manager of operations and outreach. Cann comes to the organization after having served for a year as the program director of Mighty Writers.

Before joining Mighty Writers, Cann served as volunteer services coordinator at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; patient service associate at Penn Medicine; and clinical coordinator at Genesis’s Willow Grove location, after having served as an assistant at the Salisbury, Maryland location.

For the past seven years she has served as a community outreach volunteer with Penn Medicine’s Care, and for the past four years has been a young professionals volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

Cann holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

6. Lynne McShay appointed assistant VP of Oncology Service Line at Inspira Health.

Inspira Health recently announced that Lynne McShay will become the new assistant vice president of its Oncology Service Line. As such, she will oversee the organization’scancer programs and comprehensive cancer centers in Vineland and Mullica Hill.

McShay joins Inspira Health after serving as director of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine four years, and as its associate director of operations for two years prior to that. Before that she served as the manager of radiology at Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, and as executive assistant to the chief nursing officer and chief executive officer at Penn Presbyterian Hospital.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Drexel University, a master’s degree from Capella University, and multiple professional certificates from The Wharton School.

7. UWGPSNJ names Alicia Atkinson as managing director of financial empowerment.

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) recently welcomed Alicia Atkinson as its managing director of financial empowerment.

Atkinson joins UWGPSNJ after five years with The Properity Agenda, first as program development manager, then as innovation lab director, and finally as managing director. Before that she served as a policy analyst for government affairs at Prosperity Now.

Earlier she held internships and graduate assistantships at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Atkinson holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a master’s degree from Brandeis University.

8. Christina Miller is named administrator for the Montgomery County Office of Public Health.

The Montgomery County Commissioners recently announced the appointment of Christina N. Miller as administrator for the Montgomery County Office of Public Health. Miller will lead a staff of 139 employees and direct the county’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Miller most recently served as the managing director for the health promotion services division at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and as executive director for PHMC subsidiary Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc.

According to a statement released in early September, Miller’s “experience also includes work in philanthropy and social services, including managing a multi-state anti-human trafficking initiative and providing in-home social services to children and their families.”

“Under Christina’s leadership, our Office of Public Health will continue to take the lead in suppressing COVID-19 in our communities while also advancing our goal of health equity through its core public health programs,” Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners said in the announcement.

Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University and a master’s degree from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

9. Two promotions and a new hire at Pathways to Housing PA.

In late August, Valerie Johnson was promoted to VP of advancement and special projects at Pathways to Housing PA; Oksana Kazharova was promoted to VP of clinical services and operations; and Sharon Johnson was hired as the organization’s director of human resources.

Valerie Johnson.

Valerie Johnson joined Pathways to Housing PA as director of institutional advancement in 2018, and was promoted to VP of advancement and special projects in 2021. Prior to that, she was the director of advancement for Council for Relationships. She also worked as a fundraiser for Valley Youth House and the American Association for Cancer Research.

A member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2012, she serves on their Board of Directors as Vice President of Education and Professional Development. Valerie has been a featured speaker for the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, NTEN, AFP GPC, and AFP Brandywine. Johnson, a Certified Fundraising Executive, is also a regular Generocity columnist.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Drexel University.

Oksana Kazharova.

Kazharova joined Pathways to Housing PA in 2015 as an assistant team leader. Her leadership skills were recognized shortly after her arrival and she was subsequently promoted to team leader; senior team leader; assistant clinical director; and clinical director.

Prior to joining Pathways, Kazharova was a therapist at John F. Kennedy Behavioral Health Center. She received acclaim for her work with persons under the supervision of the United States Federal Probation Department.

She is also a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Social Work

She holds a degree from the Rutgers School of Social Work.

Sharon Johnson joined Pathways to Housing PA in August, as director of human resources.

Sharon Johnson.

According to the emailed announcement of the hire, “Sharon bring with her over 15 years of experience leading the HR initiatives for a large human service nonprofit organization, first serving as the HR Director, than as CHRO, where she was the main figure in building the HR infrastructure. She is a solid human resources executive, innovative in all facets of HR, she relies on best practices and works to incorporate them into the culture of the work environment.”

Johnson previously served as an advisory board member for RHD’S Endow-A-Home Program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and a  master’s degree from Walden University.

10. Kenneth Metzner named PVLA’s executive director.

Kenneth L. Metzner became the executive director of Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a pro bono legal services organization serving emerging artists and arts organizations, September 13.

According to the announcement of the appointment, “Metzner will be PVLA’s first executive director hired from outside the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Arts & Business Council since the two organizations parted ways and PVLA resumed independent operations in 2019.”

For the past three years, Metzner has served as the executive director of Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville. Before that, he served for 10 years as the founding executive director of the Kun-Yang Lin Dancers and the CHI Movement Arts Center in Philadelphia.

He serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Community Coalition of Phoenixville, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and is an arbitrator at the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.

Metzner is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law and Georgetown University.

11. Antoine Mapp appointed director of the Musicopia Drumlines program.

Musicopia announced in August that Antoine Mapp had been named the director of its Drumlines program in June.

Mapp has been the CEO of West Powelton Entertainment LLC for nearly two years, a role he continues to exercise alongside his new post. In addition, Mapp serves as the director of the Sixers Stixsters Drumline, a post he’s filled for the past seven years.

According to the announcement from Musicopia, Mapp “joined West Powelton Steppers & Drum Squad thirty years ago when he was 11 years old under the direction of his grandmother Elise Wise. The following year he became the Drumline Captain, and at the age of 15 he became a Peer Mentor for Philadelphia high school students. At the age of 20 he became the Director of the West Powelton Steppers & Drum Squad, a position he continues to hold.”

Mapp previously held professional posts at Keystone Property Group, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, VINtek, GSI Commerce, and Devereux.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cheney University of Pennsylvania.

12. Robin Walker becomes executive director of the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition.

The Philadelphia Robotics Coalition announced in late August that it had hired Robin Walker as its first fulltime executive director.

Walker joins the Coalition after serving more than six years at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School — first as postsecondary success coordinator, then as associate director of career partnerships and postsecondary initiatives, and finally as leading exchange director.

Prior to that, she held posts at the School District of Philadelphia, DVHS Kelly, and Phase 4 Learning Center.

Walker holds holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and is a graduate of the Arts +Business Council for Greater Philadelphia Designing Leadership program.

13. José Rodriguez named senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Health Federation of Philadelphia.

The Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP) today announced the hiring of José A. Rodriguez to fill its newly created senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion position.

Rodriguez joins HFP after serving four years at Cabrini University, three of those as its chief diversity officer. Prior to joining Cabrini, Rodriguez worked for many years at Penn State Abington; he was the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for more than two years, director of intercultural affairs for 12 years, and director of minority affairs for five.

He serves as a board member of Concilio, and as an educational consultant with the Anti-Defamation League. He previously served as the chair of the minority opportunities and interests committee of the NCAA.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

14. Maari Porter to return to New Zealand to serve in Office of the Department of the Prime Minister.

Maari Porter has stepped down from her post as deputy chief of staff for policy & strategic initiatives at the Mayor’s Office to return to New Zealand, for “a new position for the New Zealand government in the Office of the Department of the Prime Minister.”

In a Facebook post about the transition, Porter notes: “I came to City government in 2010 in the depths of the Great Recession. As Chief Recovery Officer, I worked alongside amazing City colleagues to attract and spend hundreds of millions in stimulus funds from the Obama Administration to lift the city out of economic crisis and grow jobs. Through that work and the positions that followed culminating in the Mayor’s Office, I gained exposure to nearly every City agency, from front-line public servants to Commissioners and Cabinet leaders. Through these diverse experiences, I developed a profound respect for the complex, grinding, and often unnoticed work of thousands of City staff and leaders, all bound by a singular mission to improve their community.”

Porter served more than five years in Michael Nutter’s administration, and has served another four(+) with Jim Kenney’s — in between the two, she served as the executive director of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.

Prior to her work in Philadelphia, she served on UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Delivery Unit, and as a capability review manager for the Labour Government’s flagship program of civil service reform. She also served in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and in the Auckland Regional Council of New Zealand.

She is a member of the advisory board of GreenLight Fund, and a cabinet member of the Youth Employment and Summer Jobs Cabinet.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Auckland, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.


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