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New Leaders Council

2018 Fellows


Estelle Acquah

School District of Philadelphia

Estelle 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, Deputy Chair 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

ICF International

Brandy 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

Teach Plus

Laura 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 MEd from the University of Pennsylvania. 


Daniel Ceisler

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Daniel 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, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment as part of a Joint Special Operations Task Force. Daniel is currently a 2L at Temple Law School.


Jessica Collazo

Local Initiatives Support Coalition

Jessica, originally from North Jersey, settled in Philadelphia after receiving her degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. While in Pittsburgh she served terms of national service, building literacy skills in underserved communities with Jumpstart, and implementing citywide youth mentoring initiatives in the City of Pittsburgh Mayor's Office. In her current role at Philadelphia LISC, Jessica manages a network of career and personal finance service centers in Philadelphia, an economic development initiative developed by LISC aimed at building clients skills to gain financial independence, and stabilize their households financial outlook. In partnership with community based organizations, Jessica works to provide technical assistance, grant compliance and data management strategies to increase their capacity to strategically serve and revitalize their communities.


Erinn Corbett-Wright

Pew Charitable Trusts 

Erinn 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 love of community impact to the time she spent supporting State Representative Jordan Harris as his Executive Assistant.

Erinn enjoys serving on the Alumnae Board of the Agnes Irwin School and mentoring teen girls in the AIS Allied program. She 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

City of Philadelphia

Andre 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

Philadelphia Youth Network

Kelsey 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

PNC Capital Markets

Charlie 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

Berezofsky Law Group

Sarah Hansel is an attorney with the Berezofsky Law Group, 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

Vera Institute of Justice

Jasmine Heiss is the Outreach Director for the "In Our Backyards" campaign at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she focuses on addressing the astronomical increase of local jail incarceration in America's hundreds of small and rural counties. Jasmine has worked 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, where she helped lead 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. She also helped secure the release of two of the 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 from the University of Chicago. When she's not talking criminal justice policy or politics, you might find her in the dance studio or running the Schuylkill River Trail.


Jamal Hill

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP

Jamal’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 and taught entrepreneurship skills to students at a youth detention center in West Philadelphia. 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

Urban Affairs Coalition

Brandon 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 here in Philadelphia.

Brandon holds a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) focused in Nonprofit/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

Kohn Strategies

Nancy Kohn is a skilled executive with over a decade of experience in the academic, public, and private sectors. As a food systems strategist she newly established a strategic and financial planning firm rooted in social justice and racial equity that sets out to work with leaders in nonprofit and government agencies to plan, manage, and implement strategies for organizational growth moving them towards social and racial justice. Prior to this new 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, 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 communities, ensuring equity to open space and healthy foods, to improve the quality of life for all urban residents.


Joe Lee

North Highland

Joe 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

Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee

David Marshall is the new Executive Director of Pennsylvania's Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, working to elected 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


Alisa 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 nonprofits.


Monica Taylor

University of the Sciences

Monica Taylor has a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Maine, an MS in Clinical Exercise Physiology from East Stroudsburg University and a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Monica is a professor and program director 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 health sciences. She is also spearheading a project called Early STEAM working in local Philadelphia elementary schools to introduce young students to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). In November 2017, Monica was elected to the Upper Darby School Board. She lives in Upper Darby with her husband Jason and two children Maya and Zoey.


Allie Wiegel


Allie 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, food, paper and plastic waste reduction 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, a local organization dedicated to assisting Philadelphia public high school football players improve their strength, conditioning and academic standings. Through her participation with NLC, Allie hopes to expand her reach even farther into the Philly community.


Will Woldenberg


Will 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. A veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, Will continues to serve as an officer in the United States Army Reserves. He earned his master’s in Business Administration and his master’s in Strategic Management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a 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 neighborhood in Philadelphia.


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