Philadelphia 2018 Fellows

Meet the 2018 Philadelphia Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)

Estelle Acquah

Senior Program Manager, School District of Philadelphia

PHOTOEstelle Acquah is an experienced policy and systems thinker who has held various education and health policy roles in the non-profit, public, and private sectors. She is passionate about building public and private partnerships aimed at solving some of the most critical challenges in urban communities, including access to equitable education and community social supports. Her north star goal is to work to eliminate barriers that prevent youth from disadvantaged backgrounds from actualizing a world for themselves that transcends their present circumstances.

She currently works at the School District of Philadelphia, supporting leadership development for current and aspiring school leaders. She previously served Chief of Staff for the Chief Academic Officer of the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE).

Estelle maintains an active service and civic life, serving as a mentor and workshop leader for Mighty Writers, Mentor for Philadelphia Futures, PhilaSoup Board Member, Member of Residents of Ward 5 civic group, Member of Philly CORE leaders, Organizer for Swing Left:PA -07, and Board Member of Novastar Academy (a school in Kasoa, Ghana).

Estelle is a proud graduate of Brown University and is currently pursuing an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. A native New Yorker, Estelle didn’t learn to drive until she was 25 or how to ride a bike until 28, and is currently taking swimming lessons to complete her learning of normal adolescent skills. She loves cooking, volunteering, and everything city life has to offer.

Brandy Bones

Senior Manager, ICF

PHOTOBrandy Bones is a certified planner and Senior Manager at ICF where she works with communities across the country to design and implement affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and disaster recovery programs. She is the Board Treasurer of Bella Vista Neighbors Association, board member of a health center for the homeless in Camden and serves on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council Public Participation Task Force. Ms. Bones also volunteers at Mighty Writers.

Laura Boyce

Instructional Practice Director, Teach Plus

PHOTOLaura Boyce's career has been driven by a passion for empowering underserved students and improving access to great educational opportunities to all children regardless of zip code. She currently serves as the Philadelphia Instructional Practice Director for Teach Plus, an educational non-profit that coaches teacher leaders to accelerate literacy achievement at their schools. Previously, Laura served as a middle school principal in Camden, NJ, where her students dramatically outperformed the district on state tests and made record gains in literacy and math. Laura began her career as a high school English teacher in West and North Philadelphia. In her free time, Laura enjoys running, reading, soccer, and music. She holds a BA from Princeton University and a MEd from the University of Pennsylvania.

Daniel Ceisler

Law Student

PHOTODaniel was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, DC in 2014. After graduating, Daniel was commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army Reserve. In 2016, Daniel volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment as part of a Joint Special Operations Task Force. He was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious service in a combat zone.

After returning home from Afghanistan, Daniel managed his mother's successful campaign for the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. He previously served as a staffer for five political campaigns at the state and federal levels, and continues to advise progressive candidates. Daniel takes particularly great pride in supporting military veterans who are running for office for the first time.

Daniel is still an Intelligence Officer in the United States Army Reserve. He focuses primarily in threats to the stability of nations in the Horn of Africa.

Daniel is currently a student at Temple Law School where he is a Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellow. During Law School, he interned with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is seeking to become a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office after graduation.


Jessica Collazo

Assistant Program Officer, LISC

PHOTOJessica developed her commitment to improve low income communities growing up in North Jersey. She settled in Philadelphia to do just that after receiving her degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. While in Pittsburgh, she served three terms of national service. She began building language and literacy skills with preschoolers in underserved neighborhoods with Jumpstart, and later implemented citywide youth mentoring and literacy initiatives in the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office. She went on to serve as Deputy Service Officer for youth initiatives before making the leap across the state.

Jessica is an Assistant Program Officer with Philadelphia LISC, a community development organization-helping neighbors build communities. She manages economic development programming, aimed at building financial stability and employment pathways to empower residents in distressed communities around the city. She also collaborates with community partners, and provides technical assistance, data management and development strategies to build their capacity to develop.

Jessica also passionately advocates for supportive policy change and strategic relief efforts to Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in transition to the mainland, serving with local and regional organizations.

Aside from supporting equitable communities, Jessica enjoys cooking with sofrito, pausing JFK documentaries to tell you what she thinks, sampling fair trade coffee & exploring Philadelphia's parks, libraries & museums at warp speed.

Erinn Corbett-Wright

Associate, Philadelphia Program, Pew Charitable Trusts

PHOTOErinn is a proud Philadelphian, wife and mom who is overjoyed to say that she is a Temple Owl, Penn Quaker and LaSalle Explorer. She is passionate about encouraging growth and impact within the nonprofit sector and works as an Associate in the Philadelphia Program at Pew Charitable Trusts to provide support to important civic and cultural institutions throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Her desire to be in the public sector started with various internships in the office of City Council President Darrell Clarke, the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia and a fellowship in the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity during her undergraduate years at Temple University. Erinn credits her interest in policy to Mayor John Street for his Special Topics in Urban Politics course. Erinn also credits her passion for community impact to the time she spent supporting Pennsylvania State Representative Jordan Harris as his Executive Assistant. She enjoys serving on the Alumnae Board of the Agnes Irwin School and mentoring teen girls in the AIS Allied program, in addition to chairing the Alumnae Board of the Steppingstone Scholars Program. Erinn thinks that Philadelphia is the best of both worlds: just small enough to navigate easily but still maintains its big-city status. Additionally, she thinks that Philadelphia is one of the best cities for culinary diversity in the United States. When not eating her way through the city, she picks up some much-needed cardio by chasing around her adorable son, Yaseen.

Andre Del Valle

Legislative Aide, City Council of Philadelphia

PHOTOAndre Del Valle, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, graduated cum laude from La Salle University in 2014 where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Spanish. In his time at La Salle University he was the Vice President of the College Democrats, a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Honors Society), and Sigma Delta Pi (National Hispanic Honors Society). He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Public Policy, anticipating to graduate in May of 2018, as part of the first graduating class from the program at Temple University. Andre currently serves as a Legislative Aide for Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, representing the 7th Councilmanic District in Philadelphia, and served as her former Campaign Coordinator in her 2015 re-election campaign. Outside of his current role at City Hall, he serves on the Executive Board of the Philadelphia Young Democrats, and is also the Founder and Senior Executive of NutShell Politics, a mobile application that promotes voter education among millennials.

Kelsey DeMerlis

Project Manager, Philadelphia Youth Network

PHOTOKelsey currently works at Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and inequity through education and employment. Kelsey is passionate about creating access and opportunity for youth and young adults In her role, Kelsey cultivates public and private partnerships working towards the community's economic advancement. She has has focused her career in workforce development in both project management and direct service roles for youth and young adults as well as with special populations.

Kelsey is a proud graduate of Penn State University with a bachelors of science degree in Psychology. A native of the suburbs of Philadelphia, Kelsey spent a brief period of time in New York City though moved back to Philly after realizing there is no competition for Philadelphia's community.

Charles Gress

Senior Associate, PNC Capital Markets LLC

PHOTOCharlie Gress is a Senior Associate in Public Finance at PNC Capital Markets in Philadelphia. In this role, he works on capital project financings and debt restructurings for governmental entities and higher education institutions. He assists banking teams in both new business development and deal execution, focusing his efforts on financial analysis, document review, and due diligence processes.

Outside of work, Charlie is Co-Chair of the Young Leadership Network of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he leads the YLN's community service initiatives and assists in organizing the group's other programming. Passionate about community and economic development, Charlie has also spent time as a volunteer on the Capital Improvements Committee of the Mayfair Business Improvement District. Charlie further serves as a team leader for Penn Pro bono Alumni Consulting (PennPAC), which brings together teams of experienced Penn alumni to provide pro bono consulting services to Philadelphia area nonprofits.

Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Charlie graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School before earning a B.S. in Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Hansel

Associate, Berezofsky Law Group LLC

PHOTOSarah Hansel is an attorney with the Berezofksy Law Group, LLC, a law firm with offices in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, NJ. Sarah fights for individuals harmed by corporations and government agencies, representing clients in complex environmental litigation, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, consumer litigation, and employment discrimination and civil rights matters. Currently, she is actively involved in the firm’s representation of thousands of individuals in Flint, Michigan who were significantly harmed after their drinking water was contaminated with lead and other harmful substances. Sarah fell in love with Philadelphia when she moved here from New York City four years ago to clerk for Judge Joel H. Slomsky in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She recently began serving her community as a volunteer election official, and now lives in Northern Liberties with her husband, Neil Palmisiano, and their beloved dog, Shannon. On the weekends the trio can be found strolling through Liberty Lands Park or enjoying wings at North Third.

Jasmine Heiss

Director of Outreach & Public Affairs Strategist, The Vera Institute of Justice

PHOTOJasmine Heiss is the Outreach Director and Public Affairs Strategist for the "In Our Backyards" campaign at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she focuses on the shifting geography of mass incarceration in an era when the highest incarceration rates are no longer in the nation’s big cities, but rather in the thousands of often overlooked smaller cities, towns, and rural areas that comprise nearly half the U.S. population. Jasmine works to inform the public dialogue, engage new constituencies, and guide change in order to truly undo mass incarceration where it begins—in all of our backyards. Prior to joining Vera, Jasmine worked as at the local, national and global level on a range of criminal justice issues, including solitary confinement, mass incarceration and police accountability. She previously served as the Deputy Director of The Coalition for Public Safety, the nation's largest bipartisan effort to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, and as Amnesty International USA’s Senior Campaigner, where she lead work on groundbreaking victories, including the passage of the country’s first reparations package for police torture survivors. Jasmine also helped secure the release of two of the nation’s longest held-prisoners in solitary confinement and served as a human rights monitor during protests in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. Jasmine grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago.

Jamal Hill

Corporate Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

PHOTOJamal Hill's interests lie at the intersection of law, business, and public policy and using them together to address issues such as economic inequality and criminal justice reform. A native of Atlanta, GA and graduate of Brown University, Jamal arrived in Philadelphia by way of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he earned his law degree and a certificate in management from the Wharton School. While in law school, he volunteered with the Criminal Record Expungement Project, taught entrepreneurship skills to students at a youth detention center in West Philadelphia, and completed a congressional internship on Capitol Hill. Jamal currently works as an attorney in the Corporate and Business Transactions Group at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, where he counsels companies of all sizes on matters such as mergers and acquisitions, financing and securities. He also advises pro bono clients on various subjects related to corporate governance. Active in the community, Jamal is a member of the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia, Young Involved Philadelphia, and the Urban League of Philadelphia. Outside of his professional and civic pursuits, Jamal enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, working out, traveling, and learning about the city's unique history and many diverse neighborhoods.

Brandon Johnson

Assistant Director, External Affairs, Urban Affairs Coalition

PHOTOBrandon is the Assistant Director of External Affairs at the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), a nonprofit that unites government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiative to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues in the greater Philadelphia area. Brandon has been a member of the UAC Family since 2014.

Brandon believes in service to others and service in his community. As a citizen, he knows he is only as strong as the citizenry. In his altruistic pursuit, Brandon works everyday to drive change in his community from the ground up.

A lifelong volunteer, Brandon had his formative experience as an AmeriCorps Member, managing after-school programs in low-income neighborhoods. His passion for community engagement has only grown and deepened over time, honing his talents in Columbus, Ohio, Newark and Wilmington, Delaware, and now in Philadelphia.

Brandon holds a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) focused in Non-profit/Public/Organizational Management from University of Delaware, and a Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University.

When he is not working, Brandon enjoys supporting the arts, cheering on his Alma Mater and local sports teams, cooking, running, and exploring Philadelphia – his birth city and his new home.

Nancy Kohn

Food Systems Strategist

PHOTONancy Kohn is a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in the academic, public, and nonprofit sectors. As a food systems strategist she established a strategic and financial planning firm rooted in social justice and racial equity that works with leaders in nonprofit and government agencies to plan, manage, and implement strategies for transformational growth moving them towards social and racial justice. Prior to this venture, Nancy served as the Director of Garden Programs for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, where she led community gardening, re-entry, and food security initiatives with a focus on partnership and capacity building across Philadelphia and the Commonwealth. At the School District of Philadelphia, Nancy directed the Nutrition Education program, Eat. Right. Now., where she emphasized the importance of healthy eating and connecting children to their food source with gardening and education. She served as the Director of GreenThumb for NYC Parks, where she worked citywide to oversee policy, programming, and technical support provided to over 500 community gardens and an additional 500 school gardens; working with stakeholders to improve policies addressing food and land security moving the city towards more equitable habits.

Nancy’s experience ranges from finance and clinical research before making the leap to public health and sustainable food systems. She served on the Board of Directors for the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA). Currently, Nancy is an appointed member of the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) and its co-chair for the Urban Agriculture subcommittee as well as a Board member of the Farm School NYC. She holds a BA in Political Science from Temple University and an MA in Health Education from Columbia University. Nancy is passionate about empowering individuals and communities, ensuring equity to open space and healthy foods, to improve the quality of life for all residents.

Joseph Lee

Management Consultant, North Highland

PHOTOJoe is a management consultant with North Highland's Public Sector Practice where he works with state and local clients in the Northeast. Prior to joining North Highland, Joe was a graduate student in Philadelphia where he worked with several local nonprofits, including the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Center City District, PennPraxis, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Before returning home to Philadelphia, Joe served as a U.S. intelligence analyst for three years in Washington, D.C. where he completed rotations with the U.S. Department of State and the President's Analytic Support Staff. Joe is an appointee to Mayor Kenney's Millennial Advisory Committee and advises State of Place, a predictive analytics tech startup. He is passionate about cities, tech, government, and Asian American issues. Joe is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Fels, MPA) and Johns Hopkins University (BA).

David Marshall

Executive Director, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee

PHOTODavid Marshall is the new Executive Director of Pennsylvania's Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, working to elect and re-elect more Democrats to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Over the last decade, David has worked in states across the country to elect Democrats up and down the ticket, and has been a part of winning races at the state, local and federal levels, including managing Perry Warren's successful State Representative campaign in 2016. In addition to electoral campaigns, David has worked in issue advocacy and non-profit fundraising. He was born and raised in Bucks County and earned Bachelor's Degree in Political Science at Kutztown University.

Alisa Snyder

Manager, Process Improvement, Comcast

PHOTOAlisa Snyder is a manager on Comcast's Process Improvement team. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, she specializes in getting to the root-cause of issues and streamlining end-to-end processes. Before coming to Comcast, Alisa worked as a project manager for JP Morgan Chase in the investment bank, implementing Dodd-Frank requirements. Prior to the bank, Alisa was part of Lockheed Martin's Finance Leadership Development Program, where she had the opportunity to rotate through various roles within the company to learn how different aspects of a large defense contractor function. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College and her MBA from Drexel University. Alisa fell in love with Philadelphia when she became a resident shortly after college, and enjoys spending her free time mentoring and volunteering for a number of local non-profits.

Monica Taylor

Assistant Professor and Program Director, University of the Sciences

PHOTO

A graduate of A.I. DuPont High School in Wilmington, DE, Monica received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. She was a standout on the women’s basketball team, which led to her having the opportunity to play professionally in Ireland. Monica served as a graduate assistant basketball coach at East Stroudsburg University while earning her Master’s degree. Monica worked at the US Military Academy at West Point before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She returned to the Delaware Valley region after four years as a professor and assistant basketball coach at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.

Monica is a professor and program director in the Kinesiology department at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. In addition to her teaching, research, and administrative duties, Monica is working on community outreach projects to educate high school students about potential future careers in the healthcare industry. She is spearheading a project called Early STEAM working in local Philadelphia elementary schools to introduce young students to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Monica also serves as a School Board Director in the Upper Darby School district, a western suburb of Philadelphia. Monica lives in Upper Darby with her husband Jason and two children, Maya and Zoey.

Allie Wiegel

Senior Data Analyst, Comcast

PHOTOAllie is a Senior Data Analyst on Comcast’s Sustainability team in Philadelphia. In her role, Allie provides the data support and strategy development for her team’s various projects including reducing the emissions produced by Comcast’s vehicle fleet, reducing waste of food, paper and plastic in Comcast facilities, standardizing green building construction and design practices and many more. A native of Santa Cruz, CA, Allie came to Pennsylvania by way of Bryn Mawr College where she graduated with honors with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. Allie was a four-year member of the Women’s Varsity Soccer team and an active participant in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. In addition to dedicating herself to corporate sustainability, Allie began volunteering as an SAT tutor with Focused Athletics, an local Philadelphia organization dedicated to assisting Philadelphia public high school football players improve their strength, conditioning and academic standings.

Joanna Winchester

Co-Founder, North 4th LLC

PHOTOJoanna has 12 years of experience facilitating community-based solutions. Her background includes community organizing work in Oakland CA and Washington DC, leadership development with grassroots nonprofits and political organizations, and startup & small business support. Most recently, Joanna served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), where she was named a “2017 Rising Star” by the Philadelphia Association of CDCs. She has since launched a consulting business (North 4th LLC) with co-founder Shanta Schachter, supporting nonprofit organizations and social impact companies with strategic planning, resource development and capacity building. Joanna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Kenyon College and a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the board of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, the advisory board of the Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, was a 2017 cohort member of Philly Girls Do Good, and she coordinated Philadelphia's iconic Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby for three years running (2014-2016). Joanna lives in West Philly with her wife, two cats and more yarn than is healthy.

Will Woldenberg

Founder & President, Entegrit

PHOTOWill Woldenberg is the founder and president of Entegrit, a management consulting and professional staffing veteran-owned small business (VOSB) and benefit corporation (B-Corp) in Philadelphia that advises clients on strategy, implementation, organizational transformation, process design & redesign, and public affairs & public relations while providing clients with temporary professional staffing solutions.

With more than a decade of experience in consulting, utilities, healthcare policy, and sports management, Will has led initiatives for some of the largest organizations in the country including the United States Army, Exelon, and global non-profits. His career has included leadership in strategic planning, project implementation, human resources, public relations & public affairs, and organizational change.

A veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, Will continues to serve the United States Army Reserve as a part-time Public Affairs and Signal Corps Officer. He is a graduate of the Defense Information School’s Public Affairs Qualification Course (DINFOS PAQC) and the Signal Basic Officer Leaders Course (SBOLC) and is currently completing the Signal Captains Career Course (SCCC).

Will is dedicated to public service and has served on multiple nonprofit boards. He is a graduate of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s 2016 core class and previously graduated from the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia’s Business on Board program.

Will is also a life-long learner. He earned his master’s in Business Administration and his master’s in Strategic Management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and English from Tulane University. Will has also earned multiple professional certifications, including a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB), a Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

He lives with his wife Corey, a physical therapist, in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia.