Ellyn Jo Waller, Ed.D.
First Lady of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
Ellyn Jo Waller is the partner in marriage and ministry of Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. They have two adult daughters, Elynn Morgan Johnson (Corey) and Eryka Lynn, and one granddaughter, Kori Lynn.
Dr. Waller earned her BS in Special Education from Ohio University and served as a special education teacher in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. She earned her Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Temple University. At Temple University, she taught Literary Methods courses in the College of Education.
Dr. Waller is engaged in civic and humanitarian efforts. She has devoted herself to education, women’s empowerment and champions the fight against human trafficking, domestically and internationally. She is a member of the Links, Incorporated and served as their Human Trafficking Subcommittee Chair from 2015-2018.
Dr. Waller’s continued commitment to education is witnessed by her service as a Board Member of The City School as well as a member of the United Negro College Fund’s Philadelphia Area Office Leader Council.
She currently serves as the President of Community College of Philadelphia’s Foundation.
Founder and CEO, DiverseForce
Sulaiman W. Rahman is the founder and CEO of DiverseForce, a strategic human capital solutions firm that specializes in cultivating diverse leadership pipelines and inclusive ecosystems across all sectors. In 2017, DiverseForce partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to develop DiverseForce On Boards, an innovative leadership development program that trains mid-to-senior level professionals of color from the public and private sectors to serve more effectively on governing boards in the region. The program’s success has attracted support from major corporations and foundations.
Mr. Rahman has been a visionary business and civic leader for over 15 years. In 2007, he founded a professional network, UPPN, and quickly made it one of the Greater Philadelphia area's most respected professional networks with 18,000+ local subscribers and 5,000+ active, next generation leaders. In 2015, UPPN was named the Philadelphia Business Journal's #1 networking association. UPPN is now a DiverseForce talent community. Mr. Rahman currently serves on the board of directors for The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, Mastery Schools, and The Lenfest Institute. He also serves on a mix of for- and non-profit advisory boards.
In the past, Mr. Rahman has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ & DE (2010-2012) and served as a Mayor appointed board member for PIDC (Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.) In 2016, during the Obama Administration, Mr. Rahman was awarded the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award and was appointed by the DNCC (Democratic National Convention Committee) to serve as Co-Chair of the DNC Volunteer Committee that recruited, trained, and deployed over 10,000 volunteers for the Philadelphia Convention.
In 2019, Sulaiman was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a “Power 100,” representing the 100 most powerful people in the Greater Philadelphia area and is the recipient of many honors and awards over the years. A few include OIC’s Game Changer Award (2019), US Senator Bob Casey’s Black History Month Honoree (2019), YearUP’s Urban Empowerment Award (2018), Philadelphia Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award (2017); Philadelphia Tribune’s Most Influential African American Leaders (2009-2018); Philadelphia NAACP Business Leader Award (2015); BMe’s Community Leadership Award & Grant (2015); Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 under 40” (2010); VisitPhilly 360 Creative Ambassadors (2010); Urban League of Philadelphia “Urban Young Leader” Award (2009); Leadership Philadelphia’s “101 Next Generation Connectors” (2009); Philadelphia Tribune’s “10 People under 40 to Watch” (2008).
Mr. Rahman is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania where he studied Electrical Engineering and Entrepreneurship. More information on Linkedin.
Managing Director at Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC
Rasheia R. Johnson, City Treasurer was appointed as Treasurer to the City of Philadelphia on January 19, 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science from Albright College in Accounting. She is also an alumnus of Parkway High School (Northwest), class of 1994. With over 15 years of financial experience and accomplishments, Ms. Johnson decided to leave the private sector and serve the public with the appointment as City Treasurer by Mayor Jim Kenney.
Prior to being appointed Treasurer, Ms. Johnson worked at Siebert Brandford Shank L.L.C as Senior Vice President and head of its Philadelphia office. She also worked in the municipal finance department at Loop Capital Markets in Philadelphia and previously worked for Public Financial Management in Philadelphia. Throughout her career, Ms. Johnson managed over $7 billion in transactions and has provided complex technical and analytical expertise for a variety of municipal issuers.
As City Treasurer, Ms. Johnson overseas the cash management and investments of all City funds, all custodial and commercial banking relationships, and the disbursement of City funds. In addition to overseeing the issuance of all notes and bonds on behalf of the City’s General Fund and Enterprise Funds (Airport, Gas Works, Water and Wastewater) to finance capital projects and major equipment acquisition in adherence with the City’s debt management policy, she ensures that all principal and interest is paid in a timely and efficient manner.
In addition to her financial career, Ms. Johnson finds time to give back to her community by serving on the finance committee of her local church and serving as a mentor to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in finance.
Executive Vice President/Crisis Practice Lead, Tierney
Tim Spreitzer is Executive Vice President at Tierney advertising agency where he started in 2008. Among his accounts are Independence Blue Cross, Corporation Service Company and PECO. Mr. Spreitzer leads Tierney's crisis and issues management practice, where he provides communications strategies for clients facing a variety of situations including mergers and acquisitions, abrupt management changes, labor disputes, and major litigation. Spreitzer currently serves on the Board of Friends of Chester Arthur, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the neighborhood public school.
Mr. Spreitzer's past positions include Communications and Policy Director for Dwight Evans' Philadelphia mayoral campaign and Deputy Chief of Staff at the School District of Philadelphia. Originally from Chicago, Mr. Spreitzer formerly served as an Education and Workforce Policy Advisor for the Office of the Governor of the State of Illinois. He served on The Center for Autism's Board of Directors (2010) and has volunteered for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Mr. Spreitzer earned his bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University and his M.B.A. from St. Joseph's University. He and wife Cheryl reside in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia with their daughters Lucy and Amelia.
CEO and Founder, Saxbys
Nick Bayer has always been in the business of bringing people together, whether it’s as one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs or as a consummate team captain since Little League. So when he created Saxbys in 2005, he never really considered it to be a coffee company — instead, it’s a hospitality company fueled by great coffee. Saxbys has since grown from one corner café to a 30-unit, Philadelphia-based hospitality business with a mission: Make Life Better.
Driven by deep-seated core values and O.D.D. (outgoing, detail-oriented, and disciplined) team members, Saxbys is headquartered in Center City Philadelphia with cafés in six states and on many college campuses — and growing fast (30% a year fast). In April 2015, Saxbys opened its first experiential learning café. The product of a partnership between Saxbys and Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, it’s the nation’s first entirely student-run café where students earn full academic credit through a university cooperative education (co-op) program.
Mr. Bayer is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and an adjunct professor at Drexel University, where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial franchising. As a frequent guest lecturer at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, Nick loves supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and encouraging everyone he meets to believe in the Saxbys mission and core values.
He serves on the Board of The Franklin Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, Drexel University Steinbright Career Development Center and is a Corporate Council Member for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2017, he was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as EY’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. He resides in Center City Philadelphia with his wife and son.
Morgan Cephas was elected to serve her first term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 2016. As a lifelong public servant and native of West Philadelphia, Morgan works to forge cross-sector collaborations and partnerships to solve some of the community’s biggest challenges.
In the General Assembly, Morgan's priorities include expanding access to health care to improve health outcomes, increasing educational opportunities and career pipelines for youth and young adults, creating jobs through business incentives, and ensuring women and girls are a priority. Since her first term, she has successfully secured over $15 million in state funds to improve local schools, parks, businesses, and libraries and to jumpstart community development projects throughout the 192nd Legislative District. She currently sits on the Appropriations, Health, Insurance, Committee on Committees, and Labor & Industry committees and is a co-chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Health Caucus.
Currently, Morgan also serves on the Pennsylvania Workforce Development board, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) board of directors, and Lankenau Medical Center President’s Advisory Council. She previously served as a member of the Governor’s Commission for Women and as a board member of the African American Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Settlement Music School, Wynnefield Branch, and the Village of Champions Youth Network, Inc. Morgan is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta and the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.
Assistant General Counsel in Labor Relations, Exelon Corporation
Mia Fioravanti, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Hilco Redevelopment Partners
Deana Gamble, MS, CFRE
Deana Gamble previously served as Communications Director for the City of Philadelphia. She oversaw strategic and crisis communications for Mayor Jim Kenney and more than fifty City offices, departments, and agencies. Mrs. Gamble worked for the City for almost eight years in various positions, including Chief of Staff and Communications Director for the Mayor’s Office of Education. She was integral in launching Mayor Kenney’s priority education initiatives, including PHLpreK, Community Schools, the local Board of Education, and the Octavius Catto Scholarship in partnership with Community College of Philadelphia.
Prior to the Kenney Administration, she led marketing and development for the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and for a non-profit community development corporation and charter school operator. She earned a Master of Science degree from University of Pennsylvania in Nonprofit Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University in Strategic Communications. She is a proud mother of one son and passionate about expanding quality education opportunities for all Philadelphians.
Donald Guy Generals, Ed.D.
President, Community College of Philadelphia
Dr. Donald Guy Generals became the sixth President of Community College of Philadelphia on July 1, 2014. As the chief executive officer, he guides Philadelphia’s only public institution of higher learning, which serves more than 35,000 credit and non-credit students from diverse social, cultural and educational backgrounds. Previously, Dr. Generals served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey from 2008 to 2014. Before joining Mercer’s cabinet, he held positions as Provost at the Katharine Gibbs Schools in New York City; Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at SUNY Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y., and Dean of Student and Cultural Affairs at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, N.J. Dr. Generals has twenty years of teaching experience.
Dr. Generals serves on numerous boards in Philadelphia including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works, Campus Philly, the Urban Affairs Coalition, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Friends Select School, and the Mayor’s Reconciliation Steering Committee. He served on numerous professional organizations, including the New Jersey Academic Affairs Affinity Group (chair); the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges (Board member since 2010); the College Board, Middle States Regional Council; and the Paterson Board of Education (Commissioner). Dr. Generals writes and speaks on a range of educational issues. His book, Booker T. Washington, The Architect of Progressive Education, was published in 2013.
Dr. Generals earned his Ed.D. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Rutgers University after earning both his M.A. in Urban Education/Community Service and his B.A. in Political Science at William Paterson College. Additionally, he’s earned certificates in administrative leadership and educational management at Cornell and Harvard Universities.
Market Expansion Business and Community Development Leader, JP Morgan Chase
Ina Lipman brings more than 25 years of diversified experience, beginning with the practice of law, and including educational advocacy, organization building and nonprofit work on behalf of Philadelphia children. Of most significance, she served as Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia (CSFP) founding Executive Director for over 17 years. In that capacity, Ms. Lipman raised more than $112 million and awarded over 25,000 K-8th grade scholarships so that economically disadvantaged Philadelphia children could gain access to quality early education. Driven by a deep commitment to providing greater educational opportunity and equity to our most vulnerable populations, Ina continues to work on a variety of public/private partnerships to help scale change. Ina feels passionate about the mission and accomplishments of Philadelphia Community College and looks forward to helping in that effort.
In addition to her work at CSFP, she was formerly the founding Executive Director at The Peggy Browning Fund. She has also worked for Children Achieving Challenge Foundation and Health Partners. She has a J.D. from Temple University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from the University of Connecticut. Ms. Lipman is a late in life athlete and is most proud of the fact that she successfully ran three NYC Marathons since turning 57 years of age – raising more than $50,000 in memorial scholarships on behalf of Johanna Sigmund (Philadelphia native and victim of 9/11/2001 NYC attack). Married to Dan Pickens, she is a mother to three grown daughters and is a grandmother to seven children.
Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, MGA, FAAN
President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation
Vice President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross
Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake is president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation), and the vice president of community affairs at Independence Blue Cross (Independence).
In her role for the Foundation, she leads strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to fulfill the Foundation’s mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and wellness of the community. While overseeing grant-making work, Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake steered the Foundation to be a collaborator, innovator, convener of diverse organizations, and thought leader in addressing emerging health needs in southeastern Pennsylvania.
As the vice president of community affairs, Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake develops and manages relationships with community partners to advance Independence’s social mission efforts.
Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake is devoted to her church and community. She serves as an associate minister at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia. In addition, she is affiliated with more than 30 professional and civic organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the United Negro College Fund, and was the 28th President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Omega Chapter. She has been recognized for her leadership and community service by diverse organizations such as the NAACP, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Tribune, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. She has also been recognized with numerous awards and was listed among the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 100, an exclusive list recognizing area leaders who are shaping the future of Greater Philadelphia. Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake serves on more than 25 non-profit boards and committees of local, state, and national organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield Association -- Corporate Responsibility Committee, Chamber’s Paradigm Award & Scholarship Committee, the Urban Affairs Coalition, and the Urban League of Philadelphia. She also serves on Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions Executive Advisory Council, Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden Dean’s Leadership Circle and The Forum For Executive Women.
Rev. Dr. Marshall-Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Antioch College, a master’s in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Albright College and an honorary doctorate of Health Care Innovation from Harcum College. She is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Jill M. Michal
Chief Strategy Officer for Monj Health, Co-Founder of Kith + Kin
Jill Michal began her career in public accounting as a CPA at Arthur Andersen where she focused on the healthcare and non-profit sectors before leaving to join her favorite client, United Way, in 2001. Ms. Michal spent 14 years in various roles, culminating in her being chosen as the CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey in 2008. In 2014, Jill left the social service sector to go back to her healthcare roots and joined Independence Blue Cross as their VP of Client Experience and later led their company-wide Business Transformation efforts. It was there she connected with various healthcare leaders from across the country, one of whom recruited her to join the startup world, which is where she discovered her passion for early-stage companies. In 2019, Jill became the SVP of Provider Networks for Solera Health, and is now the Chief Strategy Officer for Monj Health as well as the Co-Founder of her own recently funded health startup, Kith + Kin.
Ms. Michal and her husband have 3 children. She is a Penn State grad and serves as the Board Chair of First Up, an early education organization, as well as serving on the Boards of the Healthcare Executives Group, the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation and the Campaign for Working Families. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum.
Nedia S. Ralston
Southeast Regional Director for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Nedia Ralston currently serves as the Southeast Regional Director for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. As Southeast Regional Director, Nedia serves as the Governor's official liaison to local government; coordinates stakeholder engagement for community and constituent groups, and leaders across the eight-county southeastern region of the state including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks Berks, Lehigh, Chester, and Northampton counties.
Ms. Ralston began her career as the Deputy Finance Director for then-Pennsylvania State Representative and House Appropriations Chairman, now Congressman Dwight Evans. During her tenure as Deputy Finance Director, Ms. Ralston helped to raise more than $7 million for Mr. Evans. Ms. Ralston later joined the Wolf for Governor finance team as a Deputy Finance Director. After winning in 2014, she served as Deputy Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Wolf for Governor Transition Team.
In 2018, Ms. Ralston was elected to Chair the Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In addition, she is a member of the Big Brother Big Sister Independence Philadelphia Regional Board and a member of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB).
In 2019, Ms. Ralston was named as one of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African Americans under 40 and African American Leader by The Philadelphia Tribune. Online publication BillyPenn.com highlighted Ms. Ralston as “Who’s Next in Politics: 19 Young People Making a Difference in Philly.”
Ms. Ralston is a graduate of Hampton University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She currently resides in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia where she serves as a committeeperson and Ward Chairperson of the Tenth Ward Democratic Committee, and as a member of United Neighbors of West Oak Lane Association.
Associate, Ballard Spahr LLP
Ms. Roy is an associate in the White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations and Commercial Litigation practice groups at Ballard Spahr LLP. As a member of these practice groups, she conducts internal investigations and advises and defends companies and individuals facing criminal and civil investigation, and has participated in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal regulatory authorities. Ms. Roy's practice includes counseling clients in Anti-Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act matters, as well as matters involving allegations of tax fraud, violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute, violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, securities violations, and other fraud and regulatory offenses. She is a frequent contributor to Money Laundering Watch, Ballard Spahr's blog focused exclusively on money laundering issues and has been named by Super Lawyers as a "Pennsylvania Rising Star" for business litigation for 2016-2017.
Ms. Roy is a 2006 graduate of Emory University and a 2011 graduate of University of Virginia Law School. After law school, she clerked for Judges Robert S. Ballou and Michael F. Urbanski of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Before entering law school, Ms. Roy was an elementary school teacher in Atlanta Public Schools with Teach for America.
Chair of the Firm, Fox Rothschild
Michael D. Soileau
Chief Executive Officer, O3
Soileau brought more than 20 years of cable and telecommunications experience to his previous position as Vice President of Planning and Strategy for communications, data and WiFi products at Comcast. In this role, he was responsible for the planning and design of initiatives for deploying Comcast technology to deliver innovative solutions in Comcast markets. He was also responsible for understanding the company’s competitive market pressures and developing strategic plans to navigate this landscape. Michael managed industry research, developments and needs from new and emerging providers and for future products that are yet to be publicly available.
Previously, Michael served as the Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience at Innovative Communications, a multiservice provider (MSP) of phone, data, video and wireless for the United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. Prior to his assignment in the Virgin Islands, Michael spent 10 years with Comcast, serving in various leadership roles throughout the company’s footprint. Additionally, Michael held several leadership positions at OpTel, a MSP in the multihousing segment.
Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Texas at Austin. This is his eighth year sitting on the board of the National Adoption Center and he is also on the Steering and Advisory Committee for Philadelphia Fight. He is on the board of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and is a member of Lambda Legal’s National Leadership Council. Michael resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Managing Member, Thornton Group Financial Services, LLC
Dominique B. E. Ward, Esq.
Assistant Vice President and Senior Counsel, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group
Dominique B. E. Ward is an assistant vice president and senior counsel at Lincoln Financial Group in Retirement Plan Services based in Radnor, PA. In her current role, she provides legal guidance to Lincoln’s business partners offering retirement plan products and services.
Previously, Ms. Ward served as an associate attorney at Jennings Sigmond, P.C., a boutique law firm specializing in multiemployer benefit plans. She also served as a deputy City solicitor in the Major Tax Unit at the City of Philadelphia Law Department. In addition, Ms. Ward has served as faculty for various professional training programs and continued learning education seminars.
She is the immediate past president of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc., a board member of the City of Philadelphia Labor Standards Board and Tax Review Board, a member of the board of directors of Philadelphia VIP, treasurer of the Foundation of the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division – Philadelphia Chapter, and a past member of the Philadelphia Bar Association Judicial Commission and the Board of Governors.
Ms. Ward was awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc. She was also named a 2020 Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer and as one of Philadelphia’s 2020 Most Influential Leaders by The Philadelphia Tribune.
She received her LL.M. in Taxation and certificate in Employee Benefits from Temple University Beasley College of Law, J.D. from Florida International University College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Bruce Caswell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science, Rowan University, retired
Stanley S. Cohen, Esq.
Senior Counsel, Fox Rothschild LLP, retired
Richard S. Downs
Vice Chairman, American Foodservice Corporation, retired
W. Scott Magargee, III, Esq.
Of Counsel, Dechert LLP, retired
President and CEO, Glenmede Trust Company, retired
Vice President, Community Care and Development Corporation
Managing Director of Opportunity, Employment & Entrepreneurship, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
Harold T. Epps
Senior Advisor, Bellevue Strategies
President, Community College of Philadelphia
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Mellissia Zanjani
Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Community College of Philadelphia