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Power moves: Varsovia Fernández and Patricia Wilson Aden named to top posts

October 1, 2021 Category: ColumnFeaturedLongPeople

1. Varsovia Fernández becomes executive director of the PA CDFI Network.

The Pennsylvania CDFI Network, a coalition of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions, announced at the end of September that Varsovia Fernández has been named its first executive director.

Fernández comes to the job after serving as CEO at V2 Business Advisers and, before that, senior vice president and Philadelphia market leader at Customers Bank. But she is best known for her nearly decade-long tenure as president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“As communities continue to recover from this health and economic crisis, Varsovia’s leadership will be integral to helping the Network scale its support for businesses across Pennsylvania,” said Daniel Betancourt, chair of the PA CDFI Network and president and CEO of network member Community First Fund.

Earlier in her career, Fernández served as the vice president of external affairs at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and as the COO of KJ Investments.

Fernández is a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation; is a member of the Comcast National Joint Diversity Council, and serves as a trustee on the governing boards of Montgomery County Community College and Rosemont College.

She has received numerous career awards including the Pennsylvania GACLA 2018 Latino 100, the PBJ Minority Executive, the U.S.H.C.C. Hispanic Executive of the Year, the HIAS & Council Heroes of Our Community and the PA Hispanic Bar Outstanding Community Service. In 2016, Pope Francis honored her with the Benemerenti Medal for her contributions to the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

Fernández holds a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College, as well as a leadership program certificate from The Wharton School, and is a graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

2. Patricia Wilson Aden named president and CEO of the Cultural Alliance.

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (Cultural Alliance), announced in late September that Patricia Wilson Aden has been named president and CEO, effective January 2022. Priscilla Luce will continue serving as the organization’s interim president and CEO until Aden’s start date.

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Aden currently serves as president and CEO of The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn. Prior to joining the Blues Foundation, she served as president and CEO of the African American Museum in Philadelphia for eight years.

Earlier in her career she served as the executive director of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, president of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, and as director of the Mid-Atlantic regional office for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Patty Wilson Aden has long been a powerful voice within Philadelphia’s arts and culture community and as she returns home from Memphis, we have no doubt that she will be that same compelling voice — and leader — for the Cultural Alliance,” said Catherine Cahill, president and CEO of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts and chair of the Cultural Alliance board.

Aden holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a master’s degree from Cornell University.

3. Christine Cicio becomes director of continuing education at Penn State Abington.

Penn State Abington recently appointed Christine Cicio as its director of continuing education .

Cicio most recently served as senior program coordinator of Continuing Education and Training at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus.

Previous posts include community education coordinator and trainer at Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey; special events coordinator at New Jersey Apartment Association; and camp coordinator at the Arthritis Foundation.

She serves as local leadership board member and network leader for the Arthritis Foundation New Jersey.

Cicio holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers University, as well as online teaching and DEI in the workplace certificates.

4. Steven Krefetz named vice president of Inspira Medical Group.

Inspira Health recently announced the appointment of Steven Krefetz as the new vice president of Inspira Medical Group.

Most recently Krefetz served as the VP of physician advocacy at New Jersey Urology.

Prior to joining New Jersey Urology, he worked as the senior director of operations at Axia Women’s Health, and regional director of operations at SpecialtyCare in Nashville.

Krefetz holds a bachelor’s degree from Widener University, three master’s degrees from three different universities — Drexel University, Capella University and Louisiana State University — as well as doctorate from Capella University.

5. Daniel de Jesús becomes music education and community relations director at Esperanza Arts Center.

Mid-September, Hunting Park’s Esperanza Arts Center welcomed recording artist and composer Daniel de Jesús as the Center’s music education and community relations director.

De Jesús will also serve as the executive director for Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos (AMLA), which supports Latinx artists and musicians and is part of Esperanza’s family of nonprofits.

Alongside his own artistic production, de Jesús has served, at different times, as youth artist program manager and visual arts manager at Taller Puertorriqueño. Additionally, he worked in visitor services at the Barnes Foundation.

“It’s a unique opportunity when you can hire an accomplished artist that our young people can identify with as the person who will mentor, challenge, and encourage them to pursue excellence in the arts day after day,” said AMLA Board Chair and Executive Vice President for Esperanza, Reverend Danny Cortés.

As a composer, singer and cellist, de Jesús has eight studio recordings and has performed with orchestras and bands regionally and worldwide. He has collaborated with performance artist David Antonio Cruz, singer-songwriter Courtlyn Carr, and playwright Andrew Albert Garcia.

Generocity community members will also remember him from his performance at the inaugural ADVANCE by Generocity conference in 2019.

6. Seven organizations recently appointed new board members

City Year Philadelphia recently welcomed five new board members:

  • Raquel Arredondo, assistant dean for diversity, equity & inclusion of University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
  • Malik Brown, president & CEO of Graduate! Philadelphia
  • Carolyn Hewson, senior organizational development consultant for Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Dinesh Indala, executive VP for housing operations at Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • Shane Nelson, CEO of Reify Solutions

The board of trustees of AIM, a 390-student school and teacher-training research institute in Conshohocken, named one new trustee:

  • Teresa Araco Rodgers, founder of harp-weaver LLC

EducationWorks announced the addition of three new board members to its board of directors:

  • Dennis Maurice Dumpson, founder and principal consultant of #InvestBLK
  • David Oppenheimer, partner at Robin Hood Ventures
  • Scott Stein, principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Philadelphia Youth Network‘s board of directors appointed a new board chair and vice-chair as well as added a new member to the board:

  • Debra S. Friedman, a member of Cozen O’Connor, will serve as the new board chair
  • Douglas Oliver, VP of Government and External Affairs at PECO, will serve as the new vice-chair
  • Hayward West, technical architecture lead for Deloitte Innovation and Platforms at Deloitte Consulting LLP, joins the board.

Juvenile Law Center appointed five new members to its board of directors:

  • Sixto Cancel, founder and CEO of Think of Us
  • Sacha M. Coupet, the Morris I. Leibman Professor of Law and associate dean of mission innovation at Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Matt DeAngelo is the deputy chief investment officer at Drexel University
  • Judge Andre Davis (retired)
  • Abd’Allah Lateef is a senior strategist and racial equity specialist with the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth

Pathways to Housing PA appointed Jessi Koch, a private consultant, as the boards vice-chair. In addition, the organization named seven new board members:

  • Kristen Alwine, senior director of financial operations at MidAtlantic Retina
  • Diamond Bertil, enior manager in PwC’s Risk and Regulatory team
  • Brandyn Campbell, founder and president of Brandyn Campbell Communications
  • Brian Rodin, market research lead at Vanguard
  • Luis Soto, bilingual forensic certified peer specialist, certified recovery specialist, recovery coach, and Philadelphia Peer Leadership Academy Advanced graduate
  • James Whitaker, Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) safety division deputy director
  • Jennifer Wood, professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University

Steppingstone Scholars named three new members to its board of directors:

  • Reginald M. Browne, principal, GTS Securities
  • Rev. Charles L. Howard, university chaplain and VP of social equity and community, University of Pennsylvania
  • Grace Limaye, chair of the science department, The Episcopal Academy


Power Moves

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