Impact 75

The 2023 Impact 75

Meet some of the commonwealth’s most influential difference-makers.

City & State presents the 2023 Impact 75.

City & State presents the 2023 Impact 75. DSQ Photography LLC; Philadelphia's Business Journal; Submitted

As the changemakers on this year’s City & State Pennsylvania Impact list prove, there are a lot of ways to make a difference. These honorees have raised funds and galvanized support for patients with Alzheimer’s and autism and for children in need of early intervention. They have programmed software to help Pennsylvanians access medical care and legal services.

One project at a time, some are moving the commonwealth closer to a carbon-zero future. Many are working to integrate newcomers, diversify traditionally homogeneous industries and ensure that public spaces feel more welcoming to all.

Through their efforts, communities across the commonwealth are becoming more equitable, sustainable and prosperous.

The following list was written by Hilary Danailova.

Ken Anderson

Vice President, Civic Impact and Engagement, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
Ken Anderson / Provided

More opportunity for more Philadelphians is the mission of Ken Anderson, who heads civic impact and engagement at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Anderson launched the chamber’s Diverse Procurement Collaborative to steer resources and opportunity to businesses owned by women, minorities and other historically underrepresented groups; last year, the DPC yielded $400 million in spending with local Black- and brown-owned businesses. Anderson came to Philadelphia from leadership roles with the United Way of Tarrant County and Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains.

Crystal E. Ashby

Executive Vice President; Chief People, DEI and Communications Officer, Independence Blue Cross
Crystal E. Ashby / Provided

From communications to brand strategy, recruitment and diversity initiatives, Crystal Ashby promotes an inclusive culture at Independence Blue Cross, the Philadelphia-based health insurer. The executive vice president is also chief people, DEI and communications officer for the parent company of Independence Blue Cross, and has been recognized for her impact by numerous organizations – including the National Diversity Council, which ranked her in its top 100 HR professionals list in 2021. Ashby, who holds a law degree, was previously interim president and CEO at the Executive Leadership Council.

Tom Baker

Executive Director, North Hills Community Outreach
Tom Baker / North Hills Community Outreach

Neighbors suffering crisis, hardship and poverty turn to Tom Baker and North Hills Community Outreach, the community and interfaith-based organization where, as executive director, he supervises programs for 3,500 local families annually. The former school district executive and Allegheny County Council Member is also the founding chief program officer of Get Involved!, a Pittsburgh-area youth empowerment nonprofit. A longtime volunteer tutor and Big Brother, Baker is also president of the Hampton Township Rotary Club and vice president of the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber Board.

Paul Bencivengo

President and COO, Visit Bucks County
Paul Bencivengo / Provided

Tourism and economic development are twin priorities for Paul Bencivengo, who promotes both as president and COO for Visit Bucks County. He has championed new hospitality offerings like the Bucks County Ale Trail to target the county’s 8 million annual business and leisure travelers – and the $1.2 billion in economic impact they generate. Bencivengo, who previously managed marketing and communications at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, is active with the United Way of Bucks County and the Bucks County Workforce and Economic Development Board.

Lisa M. Boscola

State Senator
Lisa M. Boscola / PA Democratic Caucus Staff

State Sen. Lisa Boscola represents the region halfway between Philadelphia and Scranton – and her politics are similarly centrist. This year, the Democrat affiliated with Andrew Yang’s Forward Party; she has also supported GOP-led measures on trans athletes and children’s access to books that include sexual themes. But Boscola, currently minority chair of the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, has also sponsored bipartisan bills around women veterans’ health care and voting modernization and has championed referenda on expanding nondiscrimination protections and ensuring reproductive choice.

Kelly Boulton

Director of Sustainability, Allegheny College
Kelly Boulton / Allegheny College Marketing & Communications

As director of sustainability, Kelly Boulton led Allegheny College to become one of just eight U.S. higher education institutions to achieve carbon neutrality in 2020 – efforts that resulted in a White House honor. Boulton’s work now focuses on decarbonization through electrification and renewable energy generation and equity-focused community collaborations. She also teaches and mentors as an instructor in the college’s environmental science and sustainability department, as manager of the campus organic garden and as adviser to student groups and government.

Beth Brennan

Principal, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies
Beth Brennan / Submitted

A second-generation Pennsylvania lobbyist, Beth Brennan provides comprehensive advocacy and government relations counsel to clients in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth. Brennan, a principal at the Harrisburg office of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, has secured major state monies for nonprofits like InnovatePGH, the Community College of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Public Health Management Corporation. Her successes also include the passage of state and city legislation and funding for economic development, capital projects and mass transit.

Kim Brister

Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, WellSpan Health
Kim Brister / WellSpan Health

WellSpan Health Vice President Kimberly Brister also serves as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Brister, a human resources veteran, coordinates WellSpan’s DEI education – including the Inclusion Champion Training program, which Training Magazine recognized with its Outstanding Training Initiative Award. She also established WellSpan’s 20-member DEI Steering Committee, helped promote minority leadership at the organization and made WellSpan the state’s first health system to host the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit, a program that cultivates African American medical talent.

Tyrell Brown

Executive Director, Galaei
Tyrell Brown / Kelly Burkhardt

Philadelphia organizer and activist Tyrell Brown is the executive director of Galaei, a social justice nonprofit that serves marginalized communities, especially residents who are queer, transgender, indigenous and people of color. Among Brown’s initiatives are “Philly Pride 365,” large-scale programming that broke attendance records for last June’s Pride and produced the nation’s first parade for National Coming OUT Day this past October. Brown previously organized for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and has been involved with Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive political organization.

Christina Cassotis

CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority
Christina Cassotis / Pittsburgh International Airport

Over eight years as CEO of the authority overseeing the Pittsburgh International Airport, Christina Cassotis has presided over record growth, recruiting multiple domestic and international air carriers – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has prioritized accessibility and workforce development – opening an on-site child care center, rerouting buses to make airport jobs more convenient and launching PIT2Work, an airport career pipeline. Cassotis has also made the airport an industry leader in energy efficiency, overseeing the creation of its two-year-old microgrid along with the construction of a new, state-of-the-art terminal.

Sheila Christopher

Executive Director, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania
Sheila Christopher / M&E Studio

Sheila Christopher, a prominent voice on food insecurity, has been feeding Pennsylvanians since 1987. As the longtime head of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, Christopher advocated for the 2010 Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Act and, in 2014, spearheaded the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Coalition, which encompasses over 100 regional and statewide organizations. More recently, Christopher collaborated with DoorDash to deliver more than 2 million meals to homebound, low-income seniors and partnered with a prescription assistance program to enroll 12,500 people in the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program.

Jeffrey Cohen

Chief Physician Executive, Community Health and Innovation, Allegheny Health Network
Jeffrey Cohen / Highmark

Urologist, cancer expert and longtime hospital executive Jeffery Cohen calls himself a “serial disrupter and entrepreneur” in the medical and life sciences. At Allegheny Health Network, where he serves as the physician executive for innovation, Cohen recently guided the repurposing of a closed Bellevue hospital, AHN Suburban, as a community economic and health development center – and cultivated its health care-focused business incubator, AlphaLab Health. Cohen is currently co-chairing the Tree of Life Synagogue’s “Remember Renew Rebuild” Campaign.

Shirlana Dash

Shirlana Dash / SELF Inc.

Shirlana Dash is the chief executive of Philadelphia's largest provider of emergency housing, SELF (Strengthening and Empowering Lives and Futures). Promoted from COO in October, Dash now wields an annual budget of $10 million to coordinate the nonprofit’s emergency and permanent supportive housing, a homeless outreach team and advocacy for vulnerable communities. This past year, Dash celebrated the opening of SELF’s new Center City headquarters and secured a $1 million federal grant to build transitional housing for area youth.

Pat Edouard

Director, Community Crisis Intervention Program, Institute for the Development of African American Youth
Pat Edouard / DSQ Photography LLC.

Pat Edouard began his public-service career as a sixth-grade peer mentor and later served in the U.S. Army and National Guard. Today, he continues that dedication as director for Philadelphia’s Community Crisis Intervention Program, an initiative of the city Office of Violence Prevention’s Institute for the Development of African American Youth. Edouard’s work has also included educational and workforce development roles with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Overbrook Arts and Environmental Center and Educational Services Program, a Philadelphia youth development startup.

Lorianne Feltz

Executive Vice President, Claims and Customer Service, Erie Insurance
Lorianne Feltz / Erie Insurance

As Erie Insurance’s executive vice president for claims and customer service, Lorianne Feltz leads a team that represents more than half the firm’s workforce and is consistently recognized for service excellence. Feltz, who has held numerous leadership roles at Erie since 1989, is known as a mentor and a champion of the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. She is currently board chair of the United Way of Erie County and is active with the UPMC Hamot Health Foundation and the Erie Women’s Fund.

George Fernandez

President and CEO, Color & Culture
George Fernandez / Color & Culture

Latino and LGBTQ+ community leader George Fernandez helps brands make a difference at Color & Culture, the multicultural marketing agency he leads. The firm is an outgrowth of Fernandez’s original venture, Latino Connection, which last year boasted $55 million in Hispanic-targeted marketing and engagement strategy. He also runs Fernandez Realty Group – which focuses on sustainable and affordable housing like Sycamore Homes, a $3 million mixed-income South Harrisburg project – and is a commissioner with the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic and Latino Affairs.

Mia Fioravanti

Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Hilco Redevelopment Partners
Mia Fioravanti / Hilco Redevelopment Partners

Community outreach and economic inclusion are priorities for Mia Fioravanti, who oversees corporate affairs at Hilco Redevelopment Partners. She recently coordinated The Bellwether District’s first Community Resource Fair and promoted the Career Connected Learning program, which coordinates internships and career events for Philadelphia youth. Previously, at FS Investments, Fioravanti led corporate social responsibility initiatives, served as Executive Director of the FS Investments Foundation and co-led the firm’s DEI strategy. She currently co-chairs the Philadelphia Foundation’s Corporate Volunteer Council.

Daniel Fitzpatrick

President, Mid-Atlantic Region, Citizens
Daniel Fitzpatrick / Jared Gruenwald

Accountant and financial analyst Daniel Fitzpatrick is president of the mid-Atlantic region for Citizens Financial Group and a member of its executive leadership team. Fitzpatrick, a Northeast Philadelphia native, is also deeply involved with myriad Philadelphia and Pittsburgh-area nonprofits. As chair of Philadelphia Works, the city’s workforce development corporation, Fitzpatrick has worked to expand programming alongside a budget that doubled to $120 million. He is also a former chair and executive committee member of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, serving on its CEO Council for Growth.  

EJay Fyke

Community Affairs Manager, Vesper Energy
EJay Fyke / Jessica Hunter-Erie, PA

Longtime activist EJay Fyke manages community affairs for Vesper Energy, where he is a founding member of the company’s DEI Council, helping establish the guidelines that will inform workplace culture and hiring. Fyke is also the chair and CEO of Energize Erie, a publicly established mentoring and workforce training program that supports juveniles transitioning out of the court system. In addition, Fyke serves on the Erie Democratic Party’s Executive Committee.

Michelle Gainey

First Lady; Co-Founder, City of Pittsburgh; Greater Pittsburgh Arts Project
Michelle Gainey / Provided

Pittsburgh’s First Lady, Michelle Gainey, helps empower the city alongside her husband, Mayor Ed Gainey. As co-founder of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Project, she launched last year’s Pittsburgh Paints initiative, a project showcasing the work of local artists in public buildings. A veteran of the Allegheny nonprofit world, Gainey is currently on the lending team at Bridgeway Capital, a business accelerator that invests in underserved areas. She previously held workforce development positions with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Catapult Greater Pittsburgh.

Harold Goodman

Attorney, Raynes & Lawn
Harold Goodman / Raynes & Lawn

From race discrimination to asbestos in schools, attorney Harold Goodman is known as a crusader for civil rights. Goodman is a class action specialist with Raynes & Lawn, a Philadelphia trial law firm known for its dedication to public service. He spent two decades with Philadelphia’s Community Legal Services, managing numerous cases in defense of the injured, defrauded, illegally fired and racially sidelined – as well as a landmark suit that led to the integration of the Pennsylvania State Police.

David Gould

Chief Diversity and Impact Officer, Philadelphia 76ers
David Gould / Submitted

David Gould ensures the Philadelphia 76ers make a difference off the court as the team’s chief diversity and impact officer. He leads the $20 million racial equity and inclusion commitment of the 76ers’ parent company, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, with initiatives like the Buy Black program, which invests in local Black-owned businesses. Gould is also a founding board member of Everybody Builds, a Philadelphia construction-industry organization, and a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Pennsylvania’s Economic and Community Advisory Council.

Kathryn Hartzell

Director of Technology and Innovation Management, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Kathryn Hartzell / Submitted

Keeping Pennsylvanians on the right path is Kathryn Hartzell, who directs technology and innovation management at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. She oversees the department’s $110 million annual budget and recently overhauled processes to save $9 million annually. Hartzell also co-chairs the commission’s Sustainability Committee, helping coordinate PTC’s Earth Week, and organizes a food bank and employee volunteering for Hunger Action Month. As of December, Hartzell will join the board of the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania.

Art Haywood

State Senator
Art Haywood / James Robinson, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus

Philadelphia Democrat Art Haywood defends the vulnerable as minority chair of the State Senate Human Services Committee. Most recently, he introduced legislation to address lead in public school water and to waive admission fees for caregivers accompanying the disabled. Haywood was a prominent figure in the commonwealth's pandemic response; as a member of the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, he advocated for vaccine access and mobile clinics to fight inequities in health care.

Maisha Howze

Owner, In Touch Consulting
Maisha Howze / Mercedes Williams, Movie Scene Queen

Pittsburgh social services veteran Maisha Howze is the owner of In Touch Consulting and founder of the approach she calls W.A.S.H. – Withstand All Strife To Heal – the title of both her workshop series and her 2019 book, “W.A.S.H.: Time To Do YOUR Laundry.” Howze recently authored her second book, “Hidden Gems: Black Women in the Workplace.” She also mentors young Pittsburgh women and volunteers with the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery.

Teresa Hunter-Pettersen

Associate Professor, Medical Education and DEI Director, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Teresa Hunter-Pettersen / LECOM

At Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Teresa Hunter-Pettersen cultivates healthy communities along with healthy bodies. Hunter-Pettersen, a physician who holds additional master’s degrees in public administration and medical education, serves as LECOM’s institutional director of diversity, equity and inclusion; she is also an associate professor of medical education. A two-decade veteran of the college, she leads efforts to promote inclusivity throughout LECOM’s educational and clinical settings. She is also involved in research on Type 2 diabetes – a disease that disproportionately affects communities of color.

Keith Jack

Director of Facilities Operations, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Keith Jack / Submitted

A quarter-century veteran of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Keith Jack has championed sustainability as director of facility operations. He supervised the installation of inductive charging technology along the PTC’s transportation network, a solar canopy to power its vehicle fleet and an energy-independent solar microgrid – an industry first that won the 2023 Toll Excellence Award from the International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association. Under Jack’s leadership, PTC was also the first agency to receive a 100% ranking from the Pennsylvania GreenGov Council.

Brian Jackson

Chair, McNees Wallace & Nurick
Brian Jackson / Scott Halfond

From legal matters to the United Way of the Capital Region, Brian Jackson is a leader in efforts to ensure the well-being of clients and communities. He is the managing partner and chair of McNees Wallace & Nurick, the Harrisburg-based law firm where he has opened five new offices and debuted complementary practice areas. Jackson is also currently chair of the United Way of the Capital Region’s 2023 Campaign and serves as co-chair of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a public-private economic development coalition.

Clayton Jacobs

Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter
Clayton Jacobs / Todd Hiller

Clayton Jacobs, a leader in community mental health, directs the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania chapter, where he previously managed programs and public policy. His education strategy has included cultivating community action networks across the commonwealth and collaborating with local stakeholders to engage Black and Latino communities. This year, Jacobs’ advocacy helped yield FDA approval for the first Alzheimer’s treatment, legislation around early detection and Medicare access to diagnostic and treatment services. He is an inaugural member of the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force.

Kimberly Joyce

Vice President for Regulatory and Legislative Affairs; Corporate Secretary, Essential Utilities
Kimberly Joyce / Submitted

Kimberly Joyce helps 5 million Americans in nine states access clean water and natural gas from Essential Utilities, where she is vice president for regulatory and government affairs as well as corporate secretary. She helmed Essential’s successful acquisition of Peoples, a natural gas distribution company, and championed fair-market-valuation legislation for water and wastewater acquisitions.  Joyce also leads the mentoring and water education partnership between Essential’s Aqua Pennsylvania division and Villanova University’s College of Engineering.

James Kessler

Senior Vice President and Head of State & Local, Publicis Sapient
James Kessler / Olivia Lindon

Over nearly three decades, software expert James Kessler has helped clients exploit digital technologies to improve the customer experience and the public good. Kessler is the national business lead for state and local government industry at Publicis Sapient, the global digital business transformation and consulting firm. Responsible for market development, client impact and growth, he has also helped mastermind the rollout of Publicis Sapient’s new client case management system, a technology that helps public defenders better compile and utilize their clients’ data.

Marc Kurowski

President and CEO, K&W; Historic King Mansion
Marc Kurowski / JPL

Marc Kurowski founded and now leads K&W, the civil engineering and site design firm behind projects like Hersheypark’s $20 million “Chocolate World” overhaul and Harrisburg’s Historic King Mansion, which he transformed into a popular local venue. For the past decade, Kurowski has also chaired the Capital Region Water Board and served as board vice chair for the Harristown Development Corporation. His volunteer commitments have garnered him the Man of the Year Award from the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Central PA and the Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Award.

Congratulations to Chad Dion Lassiter for being recognized in the Pennsylvania Impact Awards

Chad Dion Lassiter

Executive Director, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Chad Dion Lassiter / Submitted

International race relations expert Chad Dion Lassiter has worked on race, peace and poverty-related issues as far afield as Africa and Israel. For the past five years, he’s brought those insights to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, where he launched the agency’s first Civil Rights Division and has led training around issues like diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias and anti-racism. Last April, Lassiter was appointed by President Joe Biden to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunities for Black Americans.

Ted Leisenring

Board President, CRC Watersheds Association
Ted Leisenring / Lindsay Leisenring

After a four-decade career in sales and marketing, Ted Leisenring now finds his purpose in stewarding streams and river banks. Leisenring, a longtime CRC Watersheds Association volunteer, is now the group’s president, leading efforts to reduce toxic runoff and carbon dioxide emissions along Chester, Ridley and Crum Creeks – the primary drinking water sources for Chester and Delaware Counties. Under Leisenring’s leadership, CRC will plant 1,000 trees this year, while its annual streams cleanup draws an equal number of volunteers to remove 36,000 pounds of trash.

Jessica Li

President and CEO, American Scholars
Jessica Li / Submitted

A member of the Philadelphia Chinese American community, Jessica Li founded American Scholars, a company that provides academic and social support and resources to underprivileged Philadelphia-area students – many from immigrant households with language barriers. Li has partnered American Scholars with Philadelphia’s United Ukrainian American Relief Committee and works with local universities on youth service and educational projects. In addition, Li serves as youth development director of the Northeast Philadelphia Chinese Association of Culture Trust.

Vicki Loucks

Vice President and COO, Redstone Presbyterian Seniorcare
Vicki Loucks / Skysight Photography

A decade ago, the Pittsburgh Business Times named Vicki Loucks a “Health Care Hero” in the lifetime achievement category. But Loucks, who holds master’s degrees in both business and nursing, was just warming up: As COO of Redstone Presbyterian Seniorcare, she steered the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and spearheaded its new cognitive wellness program. And as board chair of LeadingAge PA, Loucks recently headed the search team for a new CEO of that statewide aging services trade association.

Mark Lynch Jr.

Business Manager, IBEW Local 98
Mark Lynch Jr. / Provided

As he serves on Philadelphia Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker’s transition team and unveils a new Philadelphia Navy Yard complex for his union, Mark Lynch Jr. is hailing a new era for the city’s labor scene. Lynch is the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, a 5,000-member organization that recently worked on Jefferson Hospital’s new marquee building. Previously, as the union’s safety director, he developed COVID-19 pandemic protocols that were adopted nationally by the Occupational Safety & Health Association.

Daralyse Lyons

Author and Podcast Host, "Demystifying Diversity"
Daralyse Lyons / Submitted

Multiracial influencer Daralyse Lyons hosts the “Demystifying Diversity” and “On Being Biracial” podcasts, promoting cross-cultural understanding and a more integrated world. The Philadelphian is also a journalist, actor, activist and the author of an award-winning children’s book about embracing her multiethnic heritage, entitled “I’m Mixed!” Lyons is known for her TEDx Talk, “Black or White? Refusing to Choose & Embracing Biracial Identity.” She serves on the board of Venice Island and is a member of Comedy Sportz Philly.

AnnMarie McDowell

CEO, CORA Services
AnnMarie McDowell / Submitted

Since taking the reins of CORA, a Philadelphia social services organization, eight years ago, CEO AnnMarie McDowell has more than doubled its annual budget to nearly $40 million. Previously the organization’s COO, McDowell also expanded services to thousands more children and 50 additional local schools and piloted new approaches to early intervention, early childhood education and behavioral health. Under her leadership, CORA Services was named a 2023 Top Workplace by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Charles McLister

President and CEO, Elwyn
Charles McLister / Elwyn

Since taking the helm of Elwyn in 2017, Chuck McLister has restored the human services nonprofit to its strongest financial position in 171 years. He did this through an acquisition and restructuring that included modernizing the organization’s practices, technology, and facilities and opening an independent adult living facility – achievements that earned McLister the Philadelphia 2023 Titan 100 Award. The Pittsburgh native previously served as COO of Bancroft and CEO of Fairmont Behavioral Health Hospital.

Adrienne Miles

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, UPMC Corporate Construction
Adrienne Miles / Mark Bolster, Lead Photographer, Digital Marketing for UPMC

As Western Pennsylvania’s largest health system expands, adding a new flagship hospital and other facilities, Adrienne Miles ensures such projects incorporate the organization’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion. Miles is the DEI manager for UPMC Corporate Construction, with her current focus on the system’s Presbyterian Hospital expansion. She joined UPMC last year after a 13-year career at Gateway Health and, for the City of Pittsburgh, previously managed a monthly health education series, literacy programming and a senior center outreach initiative.

Brian Murray

CEO, SHIFT Capital
Brian Murray / Debbie McGeorge Photography

As founder and CEO of SHIFT Capital, a Certified B Corporation, Brian Murray manages $330 million in investments to lift up underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia and beyond. Under his leadership, SHIFT was among four founding members of the country’s first neighborhood trust, the Kensington Corridor Trust, which transitions real estate assets to neighborhood control. Murray, a Peace Corps alum, also recently launched SHIFT’s NextGen Impact Platform to engage real estate stakeholders nationally in local investment strategy.

Emmanuella Myrthil

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Emmanuella Myrthil / Matt Courchain

Appointed last year as SEPTA’s first chief equity and inclusion officer, Emmanuella Myrthil cultivates a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging throughout the regional transit system. She coordinates SEPTA’s Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Council and leads the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Office, which uplifts small and minority-owned outfits. Myrthil was previously the first diversity division director for the southeast division at HNTB, an infrastructure firm. She currently serves on the American Public Transportation Association Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Michael Newmuis

Head of Impact, FS Investments
Michael Newmuis / FS Investments

Michael Newmuis champions inclusive economic growth, community empowerment and civic pride as the head of impact at FS Investments, a global alternative asset management firm with $75 billion in assets; he is also executive director of the FS Foundation. Under Newmuis’ leadership, FS Investments recently established a scholarship program fully funding two students annually at the Community College of Philadelphia. Newmuis has also coordinated FS volunteer partnerships with nonprofits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Teach for America and the YMCA.

Joe Nguyen

Partner, Stradley Ronon
Joe Nguyen / Stradley Ronon

Commercial litigator Joe Nguyen is a partner and board member at Stradley Ronon, where he serves on the Diversity Committee and Asian Pacific American Engagement Group. Named a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Nguyen also helped found the Vietnam Society, the nation’s first nonprofit catering to the Vietnamese diaspora. He is also active with the Pennsylvania Bar Minority Committee, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania and the National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys.

Aaysha Noor

Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The GIANT Company
Aaysha Noor / The GIANT Company

Guided by her own intersectional identities and dedicated to empowering the underrepresented, Aaysha Noor champions policies aimed at fostering an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce. At The GIANT Company, where she heads diversity, equity and inclusion, Noor organized the Pennsylvania-based grocery chain’s inaugural Inclusion Week and its DEI summit. She also promotes equity in The GIANT Company’s philanthropic efforts – including partnerships with community nonprofits like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Capital Region, and support for nearly 200 local organizations.

Linda Nunes

Vice Chair for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Department of Radiology, Penn Medicine
Linda Nunes / Submitted

As Penn Radiology’s vice chair for inclusion, diversity and equity, Linda Nunes fights health disparities through community initiatives like cancer and chronic disease screenings, education and vaccinations. The Philadelphia native has helped coordinate free mobile mammography, a community health fair and STEM career mentoring workshops for underserved local students. Nunes, a thoracoabdominal radiologist and breast cancer specialist, also serves as division chief for abdominal imaging at Pennsylvania Hospital and a radiology course director at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Kathy Ochroch

Partner and Director of Pro Bono and Community Impact, Blank Rome
Kathy Ochroch / Blank Rome

From the release of a 17-year death row client to securing asylum for Afghan refugees, attorney Kathy Ochroch ensures that Blank Rome makes a positive impact on its Philadelphia community. Ochroch is a longtime partner at the law firm, where she specializes in business litigation and directs the firm's pro bono and community impact efforts; she also coordinates the nonpartisan Election Protection Pennsylvania hotline. Her advocacy – especially in cases involving abused children, veterans and disabled people – has garnered awards from the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar associations.

Matt Rader

President, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Matt Rader / Rob Cardillo

Matt Rader leads the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which leverages horticulture to advance healthy environments, community, fresh food and economic opportunity. Rader’s purview includes 20 public gardens, $15 million in community programs, the Philadelphia Flower Show and initiatives like “Love Where You Live,” which greened 13 vacant acres and created 1,120 daily jobs in its first year. Under Rader’s guidance, PHS is also a lead partner in the Philly Tree Plan, which secured $12 million in federal funding to grow shade equitably across the city.

Sulaiman Rahman

Founder and CEO, DiverseForce
Sulaiman Rahman / Whitney Thomas

From his base at Philadelphia’s P4 Hub, a convening space for racial and economic inclusion projects, Sulaiman Rahman cultivates leaders of color with BBEx Network, his 20,000-strong professional community. He also founded and leads DiverseForce, a diversity recruiting consultancy that partners with the University of Pennsylvania and an executive search firm on DiverseForce on Boards, an executive nonprofit initiative now in its 11th cohort. Rahman is the chair-elect of Mastery Charter Schools and serves on the Lenfest Institute of Journalism’s executive committee.

Jessica Ritchie

President, UPMC Pinnacle Foundation
Jessica Ritchie / Stephanie Benamor

As president of the UPMC Pinnacle Foundation, Jessica Ritchie leads the health system’s charitable work throughout Central Pennsylvania. She steers partnerships to address health disparities – like a partnership with a Lancaster doula program to mitigate the Black and Latina maternal mortality crisis – and community wellness, such as a veterans’ outreach collaboration on housing and health care. Ritchie also supports UPMC’s workforce development needs through tuition assistance for local students training for high-demand health positions, and serves on UPMC’s Central PA Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

Maria Frizelle Roberts

President and CEO, MFR Consultants
Maria Frizelle Roberts / Edward Savaria Jr.

As both a leader and collaborator, Philadelphia business consultant Maria Frizelle Roberts has earned a reputation for rethinking conventional methodologies. She leads MFR Consultants, the advisory and information technology services outfit she founded in 1989, and recently participated by invitation in a reciprocal business exchange sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Philadelphia Business Journal named Roberts a Most Admired CEO in 2020, while this year, the Philadelphia Foundation recognized MFR Consultants with an Inspirational Community Leadership Award.

Jasmine Sessoms

Chief Engagement Officer, Community College of Philadelphia
Jasmine Sessoms / Hilco Redevelopment Partners

The Community College of Philadelphia has vastly expanded its reach and programming in recent years thanks in large part to Jasmine Sessoms, its chief engagement officer. She led the launch of CCP’s Catto Scholarship, a mayoral initiative that subsidizes tuition for Philadelphians, and is creating a Black and Brown Women’s Political Institute to groom women leaders for government roles. Sessoms is also the community outreach co-chair for the Mann Music Center and the government relations chair for PHL250, the city’s planning committee for America’s 250th celebration.

Barry Sharer

Board Chair, Woods Services

Barry Sharer chairs the Board of Trustees for Woods Services, a Langhorne-based nonprofit that provides support, services and advocacy for people with autism, brain injuries, developmental disabilities and other special needs. With the support orchestrated by Sharer, Woods operates housing, workforce, behavioral health and other programs for 4,000 clients annually. Sharer is also a founding partner with the certified public accounting firm of Sharer Petree Brotz & Snyder, where he directs the bankruptcy and litigation services departments.

ZsaNell Smith

Director of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, FMC Corporation

FMC’s DEI chief, ZsaNell Smith, was recently recognized with a 2023 Diversity in Business Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal for her efforts to foster an inclusive workplace culture at the Philadelphia-based agricultural products giant. Smith has held a variety of impactful roles over a dozen years at FMC, where she now serves as director of global diversity, equity and inclusion. She previously worked in information systems and procurement roles, and prior to that, spent more than a decade as a senior consultant with Accenture.

Heseung Song

President and CEO, Mighty Engine
Heseung Song / Andrew Huth

Twenty-three years ago, developmental psychologist Heseung Song channeled her insights to found Mighty Engine, a Philadelphia-based agency that partners corporate and community stakeholders on initiatives like Project Storyboard, an early-literacy program, and Philadelphia’s smoking-cessation campaign. Song also manages strategy for socially driven organizations, including the United Negro College Fund and the Center for Black Educator Development. She is a trustee of East Rock Institute, the nation’s oldest Korean American cultural organization, and was a founding member of United Way’s regional Social Venture Partners.

Tawanda Stamps

Director, Contract Administration and Procurement, University of Pittsburgh
Tawanda Stamps / Portrait Innovations

Since 2000, Tawanda Stamps has led efforts to support a diverse, local pool of contractors, suppliers and employees for the University of Pittsburgh. Stamps directs contract administration and procurement, coordinating services for the university’s facilities, management, planning, real estate and design and construction departments. She has spearheaded outreach to increase African American participation in university construction projects. Stamps also serves on the Chancellor’s Anchor Initiatives Committee and the university’s Business & Operations Strategic Advisory Board, which collectively work to support local businesses and diverse hiring.

Mark Stewart

Chair, Ballard Spahr
Mark Stewart / Ballard Spahr LLP

In addition to chairing Ballard Spahr, one of the country’s top law firms, Mark Stewart is a pro bono advocate, a promoter of diversity, a mentor to young lawyers and a volunteer with children’s organizations. Under his leadership, Ballard Spahr ranked seventh in female partners among the nation’s largest law firms. Stewart also leads the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Corporate Council’s support for a fundraiser that has raised $600,000, and he was recognized with this year’s Police Athletic League of Philadelphia Board Member Service Award.

Matthew Stitt

Director, Management and Budget Consulting Group, PFM
Matthew Stitt / Philadelphia City Council

At PFM’s Management and Budget Consulting group, Matthew Stitt co-leads its Center for Budget Equity and Innovation, which helps public-sector clients achieve equity goals, and coordinates the firm’s Economics and Tax Strategy practice area. Stitt led the firm’s engagement with the 2021 Bloomberg Philanthropies City Budgeting for Equity & Recovery project and is currently working on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Public Finance Initiative, developing fiscal programs that center equity and sustainability. He is also a distinguished fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government.

Abraham Sultan

Co-Founder and Partner, Nuvalence
Abraham Sultan / Natalie Cartz

There are a lot of potential uses for AI – but at Nuvalence, the startup consultancy he co-founded, software engineer Abraham Sultan is using technology to empower communities and organizations. He helped launch Nuvalence’s suite of digital government resources, which assist clients with citizen benefits, licensing and permits, and driver and vehicle services. Sultan also helped create open-source software that enables agencies to more efficiently automate their contact centers. He previously built and ran a 50-person engineering organization, among other startup ventures.

Salima Suswell

National Senior Adviser and Pennsylvania Executive Director, Emgage
Salima Suswell / Governor's Office

Salima Suswell is the national senior adviser and Pennsylvania executive director for Emgage, the nation’s leading Muslim American civic engagement organization, and also heads Evolve Solutions, a political consulting firm. Last March, she orchestrated Philadelphia’s first Muslim Community Mayoral Candidates Forum and organized City Hall’s 2023 Ramadan Iftar Dinner, a community fundraiser. She serves by appointment on both the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women.

Shahrukh Tarapore

Chief Technology Officer, Archetype
Shahrukh Tarapore / Philadelphia Business Journal

At the intersection of social consciousness and software, Shahrukh Tarapore is a partner in Archetype, the Philadelphia consulting and investment firm. He has lent his expertise in technology strategy, funding and development to projects like DigiBite, an app that has expanded dental services to underserved communities, and Kith and Kin, a woman-owned business that launched a health management app. Tarapore also serves on the advisory board of Social Venture Partners Philadelphia, a trust-based philanthropy supporting BIPOC-led organizations.

Kyra Taylor

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Erie’s Black Wall Street
Kyra Taylor / Romo Pics

Social services veteran Kyra Taylor heads Erie’s Black Wall Street, the nonprofit she co-founded to cultivate Black wealth and empower communities of color across Erie County. Two years ago, Taylor launched the Pathway to Homeownership program, which has provided funding to help aspiring first-time homeowners with down payments and other costs. Her entrepreneurial support resources – including a Black-owned Erie County business directory app – have helped legions of local small business owners. Taylor also runs Keys2Live, a coaching consultancy.

Zabeth Teelucksingh

President, Global Philadelphia Association
Zabeth Teelucksingh / Al B

Born in Tunisia and educated in Britain, Zabeth Teelucksingh brings a worldly perspective to the Global Philadelphia Association, which promotes the city as an international hub. Under Teelucksingh’s leadership, the nonprofit hosts an annual World Heritage week and stewards Philadelphia's Sustainable Development Goal project, which pairs public artworks with global NGO grants. Teelucksingh serves as nominating chair for Philadelphia250 and state representative to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Advisory Committee, and is active with the Alliance Française de Philadelphie.

Congratulations to Linda Thomas-Hemak for being recognized in the Pennsylvania Impact Awards

Linda Thomas-Hemak

President and CEO, The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education
Linda Thomas-Hemak / The Wright Center, Scranton, PA

Linda Thomas-Hemak is CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education –­ but the Lackawanna County native still makes time to see patients weekly. Board-certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, addiction and obesity medicine, Thomas-Hemak recently celebrated The Wright Centers’ new Wilkes-Barre practice, which expanded affordable, integrated health services to underserved populations in Northeast Pennsylvania. She also oversees 10 primary care practices and training for hundreds of novice doctors annually and recently hired the centers’ first environmental, social and governance specialist.

David Thornburgh

Chair, Ballot PA
David Thornburgh / Submitted

Among the high-impact economic and civic initiatives David Thornburgh has created: Philadelphia’s Enterprise Center, Graduate! Philadelphia and Campus Philly. Currently senior adviser to the Committee of Seventy, Thornburgh co-created the Draw the Lines initiative to fight partisan gerrymandering; he also chairs the Ballot PA campaign, which he co-founded to allow independent voters to participate in primary elections. Thornburgh teaches public policy at Temple University; previously, while executive director of Penn’s Fels Institute of Government, he launched a national public policy student competition.

Amol Waishampayan

Chief Product Officer,
Amol Waishampayan /

As the founding chief product officer at, Amol Waishampayan empowers 6,000 U.S. companies (and counting) by helping them use AI to shift away from third-party cookies and mobile IDs. Under Waishampayan’s leadership – which includes responsibility for technology, strategy and engineering – the company has grown by nearly 400% over the past two years. The serial entrepreneur and lowercase-letter fan is also co-founder of carbonzero, a nonprofit that uses blockchain technology to reward consumers for carbon-positive actions.

Gerri Walker

President and CEO, The Behavioral Wellness Center at Girard
Gerri Walker / Hosea Johnson

Six years ago, Gerri Walker turned around then-bankrupt North Philadelphia Health System and rebranded it as The Behavioral Wellness Center at Girard, recently named by Newsweek as one of the country’s best big-city addiction centers. At the organization, which serves 1,000 clients daily, Walker launched a community mobile unit, a wound care division and an employee wellness program, and also secured Joint Commission accreditation. She was previously the first woman and African American to hold the dual role of Philadelphia’s city representative and director of commerce.

Christine Waller

Vice President, Communications and Corporate Responsibility, Duquesne Light Company
Christine Waller / Chad Isaiah

At the Duquesne Light Company, communications and corporate responsibility chief Christine Waller issued Duquesne Light's inaugural environmental, social and governance report outlining the company’s progress and long-term commitments. She also oversees the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and guides Dusquesne’s charitable giving, which granted $2 million in 2022 to Pittsburgh-area organizations advancing social and economic equity, workforce development and sustainability. Last year, Waller led DLC to be the first-ever U.S.-based utility to host the Global Clean Energy Action Forum.

Erika Whyte

Vice President; Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Janney Montgomery Scott

Over a 25-year business career, Erika Whyte has established herself as an expert in the corporate diversity, equity and inclusion space. She is currently vice president and DEI director at Janney Montgomery Scott, a Philadelphia-based financial services firm that manages $130 billion in client assets. Whyte, who holds an MBA, previously worked in diversity and inclusion roles with the Lincoln Financial Group and JPMorgan Chase, and directed client services at BNY Mellon.

Funmi Williamson

Board Member, Urban Affairs Coalition
Funmi Williamson / Exelon Leadership Meeting

In addition to her extensive volunteer work with nonprofits like the Urban Affairs Coalition, Funmi Williamson is an acknowledged leader in the energy sector, including a recent posting at PECO, the commonwealth’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Williamson, who has an MBA from the University of Virginia, was named one of the Philadelphia Tribune’s 2023 Most Influential African American Leaders, previously served on the African American Leadership Council for Exelon, PECO’s parent company, and is a board member of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Jennifer Wilson

President and CEO, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania
Jennifer Wilson / Amy Brink

A year after joining the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania in 2010, development chief Jennifer Wilson was named president and CEO. Under her leadership, the foundation has provided $52 million in grants and scholarships, secured $55 million in charitable donations and launched 2020’s First Focus Project, a community anti-racism initiative. The Williamsport native, recognized by the Susquehanna Council as a 2016 Distinguished Citizen, serves on the boards of the Lycoming County Authority and the Pennsylvania Economy League, Central Division.

Jennifer Wintermyer

CEO, Tri County Community Action
Jennifer Wintermyer / Tri County Community Action

After joining Tri County Community Action in 2011 as director of family and social services, Jennifer Wintermyer became CEO in 2015, focusing on social determinants of health to combat poverty and promote equity. She led TCCA’s successful merger, expanding service delivery and coverage to rural areas, and led the Harrisburg organization to trauma-informed certification. Wintermyer, who previously worked at Catholic Charities in Pittsburgh, currently serves the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania board as second vice president and chair of the governance committee.

Alison Young

Managing Partner, RWB Strategies
Alison Young / M. Cronan

In addition to her extensive philanthropy and volunteer work across the Commonwealth, Alison Young is managing partner at RWB Strategies, helping grow the organization from a startup to five locations and $2 million in annual revenue. Young, who is currently completing doctoral research at NYU on the emotional intelligence of public sector leaders, is a former White House official. She serves on the boards of the PA Conference for Women, America 250PA, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc., and volunteers with CASA Philly.

Jeremy Young

CEO, Federal Resources Corporation
Jeremy Young / Lauren Bell/ Bell Jar Creative

Erie native Jeremy Young is invested in his hometown – literally. As CEO of Federal Resources Corporation, Young created a downtown living stipend for employees and an economic development partnership to revive the West Bayfront neighborhood where FRC is based. Under his leadership, FRC reached $100 million in revenue and has been repeatedly named an Inc5000 Fastest Growing Company and a Great Place to Work Certified Company.

NEXT STORY: The 2023 Fifty Over 50