ICYMI: Women Leading the 175th

Women Leading the 175th
Women Leading the 175th
Women Leading the 175th
Women Leading the 175th

In honor of Women’s History Month, I am honoring women leaders in our district by hosting the annual Women Leading the 175th Program. Each of these women have had significant impact not only in our neighborhoods but across the city of Philadelphia. They have received official Pennsylvania House of Representative Citations because of their outstanding contributions to our communities. 

The theme for Women’s History Month this year is Celebrating Women who Tell our Stories. We are honoring women who have devoted their lives to making the 175th District a great place to live, work and grow. Rep. Isaacson is honored to tell these women’s stories. Their perseverance, integrity and fight for equality will not go unrecognized.

I am humbled and full of gratitude for these women and their lasting contribution to the betterment of Philadelphia.

Sheri Cole

Sheri Cole is Career Wardrobe’s (also known as The Wardrobe) founding executive director and has been with the agency since 2000. Under her leadership, The Wardrobe has grown from a grassroots volunteer organization to a nonprofit social enterprise that has scaled its impact throughout the Philadelphia region and the Wardrobe’s mission is to eliminate clothing insecurity and to do that provides outfits for work or life to anyone in need throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In 2003, Ms. Cole was honored by The Philadelphia Business Journal as one Philadelphia’s “40 Under Forty,” for her leadership and community involvement.

She has served as Board President and National Conference Chair for the Alliance for Career Development Nonprofits and leads the PA WORKWEAR coalition. She holds numerous degrees including a Bachelor of Philosophy from Miami University (Ohio), Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio), and certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute.

Erin Linden

Erin Linden is presently the Director of Homeless Services for Philly House in Center City. Philly House (formerly known as Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission) is the largest and longest-running homeless shelter for men in the City of Philadelphia -- and the only provider of 3 meals per day, 365 days per year.

In 2019, she was recruited to Philly House to create a homeless services team to provide progressive case management. Insisting on spending one full year on the front line doing active social services to homeless guests, she was driven to gain a fundamental and a comprehensive understanding of the homeless population in Philadelphia.

Currently, she sits on the Board for Philadelphia’s Roadmap to Homes: Philadelphia’s Five-Year Strategic Plan for the Homeless.

Erin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University. She is a proud mother of three adult sons who reside in Michigan, and currently she lives in Old City Philadelphia with her husband.

Donna Cooper

Donna Cooper prior to Children First, was a senior fellow at the respected national think tank, the Center for American Progress. She served as the Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2010, where she was responsible for the state’s education, public supports, environmental and health care policy. While in that position, Donna led the development of the state’s Cover All Kids program which expanded access to affordable health care to nearly every child in the state. Donna also led the seven-year effort to boost funding for public education that increased K-12 funding by over $2 billion and designed the state’s groundbreaking school funding formula which was enacted in 2008.

Donna was the founding Executive Director of Good Schools, a grassroots organizing campaign, that successfully pushed public education to the top issue in the 2002 race for governor. She also served as Philadelphia’s deputy mayor of policy and planning from 1999 to 2002, where she designed and led the Greater Philadelphia Works Program, one of the nation’s largest and most successful efforts to help single mothers on welfare achieve self-sufficiency.

Donna has a master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Center of Government, and a master’s degree in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training.

Faye Allard

Faye Allard is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Community College of Philadelphia.

At graduation, no one gets more excited than “Dr. Faye,” who gives each and every one of her students who walk across that stage a hug, takes a selfie, prints those photos, and displays them on her office wall.

Dr. Allard has deep commitment to each one of her student’s success and well-being; she has established and co-chairs the Community College of Philadelphia FAST fund (an emergency fund to help students with basic needs). As a result of this dedication, Dr. Allard was the recipient of a national prize for student advising and was recently awarded the Lindback distinguished teaching award.

She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Human Sciences from Oxford University. She has nearly 20 years’ experience teaching in higher education and has taught over 3000 students while at the Community College of Philadelphia, many of whom live in the 175th District and surrounding districts.

Cornelia Dimalanta

Cornelia Dimalanta is a fierce advocate for the rights of Native Americans in the Philadelphia region, has dedicated her life to fighting for justice and equality for her community. As a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Connie knows firsthand the challenges that Native Americans face, especially in a city like Philadelphia where there is little to no advocacy for their needs.

In 2019, Connie founded the Native American House Alliance, a much-needed service organization for Native Americans in the area. Her tireless efforts have been instrumental in raising awareness about the plight of Native Americans in Philadelphia and convincing government officials of the need for a Native American Commission.

Despite facing numerous obstacles, Connie remains steadfast in her commitment to her community. She has fostered countless children over the years and has raised four of her own.

Mary Purcell

Mary Purcell is Director At-Large of Society Hill Civic Association (SHCA), where she chairs the Foglietta Plaza Committee, working to recreate the 50-year-old park in need of reimagining.

She chaired the Master Plan Committee which successfully advocated for passage in 2020 of the Society Hill zoning laws resulting from our Neighborhood Plan, overcoming a mayoral veto. She also serves as a Board Director of Society Hill Preservation Foundation, having served as its President, and is Secretary of Central Delaware Advocacy Group; and

Mary has served on the Council at Society Hill Towers and chaired the Society Hill Towers Community PAC. She often volunteers at elections including voter registration and get out the vote efforts.

The Rev. Susan Richardson, Ph.D.

The Rev. Susan Richardson, Ph.D., received her M.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, her Certificate in Anglican Studies from Virginia Theological Seminary, and was ordained a priest at Christ Church in 2006, serving as Assistant through late 2010. After stepping away to serve as an interim rector in New Jersey, she returned in 2014, serving as Associate, shifting into the role of Interim Rector in June 2022.

She works with all the ministries of Christ Church, including the vibrant young adult and wedding ministries, with passions for preaching and teaching. From 2020-2022, she was an inaugural member of the Mayoral Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs under Mayor Kenney's Office of Public Engagement.

Susan is a member of the 2016 Core Class of Leadership Philadelphia and a 2008 Episcopal Church Foundation fellow for work with children with learning differences. Since 2012, she has also been adjunct faculty at The College of New Jersey, teaching "World Religions" and "History and Theology of Christianity" and, in spring 2022, was a Lecturer/Preceptor at Princeton University for the class "Business Ethics: Succeeding without Selling Your Soul." Beginning in January 2023, she shifted to being part-time interim rector and began work as Manager, Communications and Operations/Lecturer on the staff of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, building on her work with FWI within the Keller Center for Innovative Engineering.

Jedah McClam

Jadah McClam started her jewelry business, McClam Accessories, at 16 years old in high school and has grown her store and accessories business into a successful venture.

Jedah turned her life around after encountering many obstacles in her childhood and early adult years. As a young entrepreneur her main goal is to teach and show others like herself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Jedah, 22, is the youngest owner of a jewelry store in Philadelphia. Located at 1116 Buttonwood St. in the Callowhill Neighborhood, Jadah is proud of her storefront and the customers she serves. She continues to grow her business and outreach to New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami, and Texas.

Christine Castro

Christine Castro works toward equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care through litigation, legal representation, policy development, advocacy, and institutional reform at Women’s Law Project. Christine provides legal representation and assistance to Pennsylvania abortion providers on a wide range of day-to-day issues including regulatory compliance and defense from anti-abortion violence and harassment and serves as counsel on impact litigation.

As Youth Access Manager, Christine helps young people navigate Pennsylvania’s parental consent law to access abortion care through direct representation in judicial bypass proceedings, leads WLP’s expanding judicial bypass team, and develops initiatives to increase access and improve the judicial bypass process for young people across the Commonwealth.

In 2021, Christine was awarded the Emerging Activists in Women’s Health Care by the National Women’s Health Network. Christine joined WLP staff in 2017 after initially serving as a joint If/When/How Reproductive Justice State Fellow for WLP and New Voices for Reproductive Justice.

Christine earned a degree in Political Science from Temple University and a J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.

Ivette Compean-Rodriguez

Ivette Compean-Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the Mexican Cultural Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit organization that promotes understanding and awareness of the cultural diversity of Mexico and its influence in the Delaware Valley region of the United States.

Thanks to the relationships developed, the Mexican Cultural Center has become an influential organization that collaborates on projects with institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, and The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, UPenn Museum, Philadelphia Magic Gardens, as well as the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreations.

Ivette was one of the recipients of the “2022 POWER 100 Who’s Who in Latino Pennsylvania”, under the “Non-Profit Leaders” category.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Ms. Compean-Rodriguez obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) and a master’s in business administration at the Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.

LaQuisha S. Anthony

LaQuisha S. Anthony is a Philadelphia native and founder of V.O.I.C.E (Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences) Inc. A survivor's network, V.O.I.C.E is an organization that aims to develop and encourage the voices of individuals while removing the stigma that often accompanies being a victim of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and any other inconceivable cowardly act. She is the Advocacy coordinator at WOAR Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence and leads their Safe Bars Program, a city-wide initiative under City Safe.

She serves as the PA United State of Women Ambassador and advocates for women’s rights and gender equity. LaQuisha is an author, national advocate, PA certified sexual assault counselor and educator amongst a host of other titles. Her favorite of them all is, being a mom to her son Asher Ryan.

LaQuisha received the 2022 Governor's Victim Service Pathfinder Award for her advocacy work which instituted a crucial amendment to include vulnerable college-aged students in the Historic PA Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations changes in 2019. She received the NSRVC 2021 Visionary Voice Award, was honored by Philadelphia City Council for phenomenal work and leadership in the community and has received many other notable honors.

She pursued her undergraduate education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and completed an Executive Education Program at Harvard University.

Anne Ishii

Anne Ishii is the Executive Director of Asian Arts Initiative, which has operated with a mission to “create community through the power of art” in the North Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia since 1993.

Anne is a writer and editor by trade, with a background in Japanese letters. Her work hinges on issues relating to gender and sexuality. In 2013, she co-founded MASSIVE GOODS: a lifestyle brand and arts agency representing queer and feminist artists from Japan. MASSIVE has produced multiple volumes of graphic novels and a line of clothing and accessories; and She has been published in BUST, Nylon, Slate, Publishers Weekly, the Village Voice, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other publications. She has translated and rewritten over twenty books.

Sarah McEneaney

Sarah McEneaney has lived and worked in the Callowhill neighborhood of Philadelphia since 1979. In the Philadelphia area, her artwork is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Woodmere Art Museum, Bryn Mawr College, and the Delaware Art Museum. McEneaney’s work is represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.

McEneaney was a founding member of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association in 2001 and continues her work there as Board President. In 2004, she was a founding member of Reading Viaduct Project, now known as Friends of the Rail Park (FRP).

McEneaney was appointed by Mayor Kenney in 2021 to the Philadelphia Art Commission. McEneaney’s community activism is a vital part of her artistic practice and can be especially seen in her many paintings of the Rail Park in Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood.

Sarah studied at The University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Delores Flynn Brisbon

Delores Flynn Brisbon From 1954 to 1956, Brisbon worked as assistant to the director of nursing services and as a clinical instructor for Tuskegee University’s John Andrew Hospital. In 1957, Brisbon became director of Nursing Services at Dillard University’s Flint Goodridge Hospital. She then moved to Philadelphia where she became head nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in 1959. Brisbon was promoted to supervisor of medical nursing in 1962, and in 1974, became staff person to the executive director. In 1987, Brisbon formed Brisbon and Associates, a healthcare consulting firm which she operated until 2003.

She’s active in the Philadelphia community. Brisbon was responsible for negotiations with the University of Pennsylvania that resulted in the relocation and construction of the Walnut Child Care Center. Brisbon also served on the boards of Eastern University, Mercy Health System, Eastern Baptist Seminary, and Community College of Philadelphia. Brisbon founded and served as chairperson of the board of the Mother Bethel Foundation for which she has raised $1 million. In addition to her professional activities, Brisbon has raised two children.

Meg Saligman

Meg Saligman has produced over 40 permanent public artworks worldwide, including some of the world's largest public murals. Though she has produced works internationally, Saligman's seminal murals in Philadelphia are considered a catalyst for the contemporary mural movement.

She seamlessly combines both the classical and the contemporary using paint, glass, and light to give new life to the existing architecture. Most recently, Saligman created public installations for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in 2015 and for the Republican and Democratic national nonventions in 2016. Additionally, in 2015, Saligman and her team produced a 42,000+ square foot mural in Chattanooga, Tennessee that highlighted the city's complex racial and cultural dynamics.

Saligman’s work has been featured by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Public Art Review, the Today Show, and numerous others. She has received honors from the National Endowment for the Art and the Mid Atlantic Council for the Arts. She has received the Moore College of Art & Design Visionary Woman Award, Washington University in St. Louis Distinguished Alumnae, and Mural Arts Philadelphia Visionary Artist Award.

Antoinette Powell

Antoinette Powell serves as the Principal of General George McCall School; prior to this role, she was principal of Robert E. Lamberton Elementary School (2018-2022). During the 2018-19 school year, Lamberton achieved improved the number of students who attend 95% or more school days by 13%. Previously, Antoinette was Chief Executive Officer (2017-18) and principal (2015-2017) at Memphis Street Academy at J.P. Jones.

Antoinette has been an educator since 1998. Prior to becoming a principal, Antoinette served as an assistant principal, small learning community teacher leader, math content specialist, building representative and math teacher.

In 2011, Antoinette was selected out of 115 applicants to be inducted into the district’s Aspiring School-Based Administrators Program. In 2004, she was nominated and awarded the Dr. William J. Ross Teacher of the Year Award.

Jeannie Wong

Jeannie Wong has called Philadelphia home since 2006. She is a co-owner of Queen & Rook Game Café, Philadelphia’s #1 rated and award-winning board game cafe with events and youth programming which opened Fall 2019 in Queen Village.

She was recognized in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2020 as well as in Foobooz, Jeannie Wong’s café now serves as a cornerstone for connection and conversation in the neighborhood and across the city. An alum of Hampshire College, Jeannie’s background is in non-profit administration and the arts.

Jeannie serves as an elected Democratic City Committee Person for the 2nd Ward, representing Hawthorne, where she lives with her partner Edward, two children, and Mochi the cat.

Ashley Jordan

Ashley Jordan joined the African American Museum in Philadelphia as President & CEO in September 2021. Jordan, who most recently served as Senior Director of Development at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Ohio, brings significant experience managing and leading cultural institutions focused on memorializing and celebrating the African American experience in the United States.

Other career milestones include serving as Executive Director of the Evansville African American Museum in Indiana and curator for the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Dr. Jordan earned her Ph.D. in United States History at Howard University in Washington, D.C., an M.A. in Public History from Howard University, and a B.A. in history from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

Jordan is also the proud recipient of numerous professional, academic, and civic awards, including the Pace Setter Award from the Association of African American Museums, the Black Excellence Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and multiple?doctoral fellowships from the Filson Historical Society and the Kentucky Historical Society.

Wendy Lee

Wendy Lee has been with PCDC since 1990, with experience as the staff’s Community Liaison, Office Manager and Administrative Assistant. Wendy is a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and is the main staff member of PCDC’s Chinatown Homeownership Initiative.

Wendy provides one-on-one and group bilingual housing counseling services, helping to educate clients and navigate them through the homeownership and/or rental process, from pre-purchase to post-purchase. To date, she has helped over 100 clients become a first-time homebuyer, achieving their American Dream.

Dana Feinberg

Dana Feinberg is currently the Programming and Relationship Manager for the South Street Headhouse District, responsible for building bridges between business owners, neighbors, and the district to make the commercial corridor a vibrant community.

Before moving to Philadelphia in 1997, Dana worked as an Affiliate Relations manager for both CBS and ABC Radio Networks. After moving to the suburbs in 2005, Dana worked as a stay-at-home parent, dedicating free hours to the Home and School Association and as the chair of the DE Valley Art Goes to School Program.

Dana has worked on multiple community service projects, including programming and fund raising for Society Hill Synagogue as well as for the Auxiliary at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dana and her family moved back to Queen Village in 2017 and Queen Village is where she has given her energy and is proud to call home.