Impact Essays

Featured Testimonials

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia plays a key role in creating ambassadors to serve the City. I am proud to be an alumnus of this program, which raises awareness, connects, and issues a call to action to the region’s emerging leaders.”

Michael Nutter
Former Mayor
City of Philadelphia
Core Class of 1989

“LEADERSHIP creates an extraordinary opportunity for executives to unleash their desire to give back to the community. I know firsthand the value LEADERSHIP Philadelphia brings to the city and the surrounding area by providing regional executives with an experience of growth, connection, and passion for community service.”

Craig Adams
President and CEO
Core Class of 2000

“We are here to engage, inform, and inspire Philadelphia’s best and brightest to serve the community. This work is a calling for the staff and a game-changer for participants.”

Liz Dow
LEADERSHIP Philadelphia
Core Class of 1986

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia encouraged me to think big, to never take no for an answer, and to realize that through hard-work, collaboration, and creativity much can be accomplished. LEADERSHIP makes Philadelphia a place where leading means giving and giving means making tangible changes occur.”

Jane Golden
Executive Director
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Core Class 1996

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia has a long history of partnering with the Philadelphia Police Department. The participant ride-alongs give executives the opportunity to “walk a mile in our shoes”, learn about community policing up close, and build a bridge between the public and private sectors.”

Richard Ross
Philadelphia Police Department
Core Class 2005


“Our company has been a long-time supporter of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. We have sent many of our key executives through the executive course and have chosen to reward employees who hold professional promise with enrollment in the Core class. With each person we’ve sent through the program, we have identified key developmental goals at the forefront that should be addressed and achieved via participation in the program.

One employee who was selected for the program was identified as needing to improve her collaboration with other departments as well as networking effectiveness, all the while hoping to soften her ‘rough edges’. While this manager was and is a gifted and talented employee who is extremely adept at her job function, others with whom she worked found her abrasive, cold, and combative. In short, people didn’t like working with her and avoided interactions with her, causing her to be less effective than she could be.

Upon being selected for inclusion in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, the employee was told why she was being sent through the program: she had promise to be much greater than she is and needed to work on the areas outlined above. By working with a variety of personalities toward a common, altruistic goal within her Junto, this employee learned how to more effectively and compassionately communicate in order to achieve the team goal. And, by partnering with a local organization, she learned the importance of kindness and extending grace to others. I am delighted to share that each goal identified for her at the start of her LEADERSHIP Philadelphia experience has been achieved—her interaction with her peers has improved dramatically, and for the first time that I can recall, proactive and collaborative strategies are being developed and executed across departments. I cannot say enough about how LEADERSHIP Philadelphia helps develop employees both professionally and personally.”

Suzanne Garber
Chief Operating Officer
International SOS 

Core Participants

“Participating in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s Core program was an outstanding experience – one that I still talk about regularly some three years later. As a non-Philadelphian, the networking opportunities afforded by the program to get to know over 100 other professionals in the City’s close-knit private and non-profit sectors were invaluable. I gained a true appreciation for the City, the challenges faced by its inhabitants on a daily basis, and found a previously untapped desire to give back to the community. I highly recommend this program.”

Matthew Abbott
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Core Class of 2008

“In order to be a leader, you must have a vision. You cannot lead if you don’t know where you want to go. LEADERSHIP Philadelphia helped me create my vision for my life – personally and professionally. During the course of the program, I grew monumentally as a person and a leader by learning from inspiring speakers, discovering how to become actively engaged in my community and finding out more about myself through self and peer analysis exercises. I was able to transfer the knowledge I gained at LEADERSHIP to my work at Comcast, where I have been able to grow in my career and also co-lead a volunteer committee. You will never achieve goals if you don’t set them. LEADERSHIP showed me how to set meaningful goals. The experience was invaluable and has had a lasting impact on me.”

Chelsea Badeau
Managing Editor
Comcast Interactive Media
Core Class of 2008

“My experience in the LEADERSHIP Core program helped me realize that being active in something I’m passionate about outside of work helps me bring positive energy to my job each day, enables me to serve as a role model both inside and outside of work, and just plain old makes me happy. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, so what was holding me back all these years? LEADERSHIP helped me realize that it wasn’t my hours, my job, or my company – it was me believing it was all those things. And somehow, through the mystical experience of going to LEADERSHIP each month and opening my mind to dozens of different topics and people and experiences – none of which directly hit on this point, I was able to see the situation for what it really was and not what I had made it out to be. That realization, and this LEADERSHIP experience, has re-energized me, changed my perspective, and made me a better and happier person.”

Kathleen Bauman - Senior Manager
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP - Core Class of 2011

“I am so grateful for having the opportunity to participate in the LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Core program. Of all the leadership programs I’ve participated in the past, this was the most enlightening and rewarding.

Prior to joining the program I thought I knew a lot about our city and the challenges we faced. However, after going through the program I realized that my knowledge was limited to my previous exposure. LEADERSHIP Philadelphia broadened my knowledge of many sectors of the city from the arts to education to city government. And the focus on using our leadership skills to give back to the community is second to none.

LEADERSHIP used several tools that helped me assess my leadership skills and style. I tried to apply much of what I learned within my own team at work. It was evident that I was successful when my LEADERSHIP sponsor praised me on how well my team interacted with each other as well as their internal clients.

In 10 short months, LEADERSHIP has helped me to grow as a leader in both my community and my job. And for that, I am very grateful. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program. However, if I said nothing else, I’d like to say “thank you” to Liz and her staff for what I believe is the best well kept secret in our city…the LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Core program.”

Vinnie Burrus
Commercial Desk Manager
International SOS Assistance Inc.
Core Class of 2011

“Participation in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia 2011 provided an excellent learning opportunity for me which allowed me to grow exponentially in my networking and leadership skills. It helped me and my employer connect to corporations, community partners, politicians, and educators across the city. I can honestly say that I can pick up a phone and connect with another leader in the city to get questions answered or things accomplished quickly. This was the single most valuable thing I have ever done for my professional career and it will be beneficial to the Fox School, Temple University, and the City for the next two decades (or more!).

Through the program, I learned more about my own style of leading, how to work with diverse teams to accomplish goals, how to grow my personal network, and how to build strong partnerships with organizations across the city based on the kind cooperation that will allow all to benefit and accomplish more. Partnerships that can leverage what each organization excels at, moves everyone forward, and benefits the city as a whole. Because of my participation in LEADERSHIP, I am more in tune with what is happening within the city and where my personal skills can be utilized to help others who are striving to make things better. I have learned that I can find time to work with community organizations where there is a strong fit between my personal values and the organization’s mission. I have joined the Boards of Urban Tree Connection and Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center, both connections that I made because of my participation in the LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Core Program.”

Debbie Campbell
Senior Assistant Dean
Fox School of Business and Management
Temple University
Core Class of 2011

“I’ve truly been humbled by this experience. Not only has my Junto had an impact on my life but each and every one of you has had an impact in one way or another. Never before have I met such an exceptional group of people.

What I learned from LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is that legacies are not built in a day, and because legacy building is ongoing, your success can be redefined.

LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is like a compass we use to find ourselves on the map of human geography. It shows us where we have been and what we have been, where we are and what we are. Most importantly, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia shows us where we still must go and what we still must be.”

Mary Capetola
Former President
The Sunoco Foundation
Core Class of 2009

“I participated in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia in 2010-2011. Prior to the interview with Liz Dow, I spoke to a number of recent participants from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia about their experience. Listening to their stories it was clear to me that LEADERSHIP was something I wanted to do. The ten month journey did not disappoint me. As an eternal optimist, I always expect things can and will get better. What I experienced with LEADERSHIP Philadelphia were people who rolled up their sleeves and made things better. The presenters, LEADERSHIP staff, and my classmates are bright, hard working, idealist, and pragmatic people with different backgrounds and experiences and a common goal – to make a difference. I saw the LEADERSHIP Philadelphia experience as a blend of three separate forces. First, there were the speakers and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia staff. Next, there were the experiences of the different venues. Finally, there were the experiences and interactions with my classmates especially with my Junto mates. These forces combined created a powerful experience – one that I will keep with me for life.

LEADERSHIP Philadelphia was life altering for me. I knew I wanted to do more volunteer work. Early in the LEADERSHIP program, I saw the time was now for me to become more active as a volunteer. Seeing the work of others I was both in awe and humbled. How could I refuse to give more when all these wonderful people were doing so much, yet so much more needed to be done? I truly believe the LEADERSHIP experience helped me to be a better leader in my job. With the different personality/leadership style tools and the feedback from the staff and Junto mates, I had a better understanding of my strengths and areas where I needed to grow. I have used a number of different tools in my job to understand motivations and leadership styles. There was something about the exercises conducted through LEADERSHIP Philadelphia that seemed more personal and on target. I am truly fortunate to work in an organization that values giving back to the community. I would like to believe that my enthusiasm for LEADERSHIP Philadelphia helps to reinforce this with others at the Bank and thus inspire even more participation.”

Michael Doyle
Assistant Vice President
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Core Class of 2011

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia connected me with the City of Philadelphia in ways I never could have imagined. It was a phenomenal experience – like getting an MBA in City of Brotherly Love studies. More than the knowledge I gained, though, was the experience of becoming connected to others committed to making a difference in this region. It takes the concept of six degrees of separation to an art form. No matter what I need to accomplish in my professional or personal life, I know there are 110 other LEADERSHIP Fellows I could contact who would help me. That’s pretty powerful.”

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Core Class of 2011

“The fifth largest city in the nation is in reality a small town filled with talented, committed, and community-oriented professionals. LEADERSHIP affords you the opportunity to connect and collaborate with these gifted people to achieve results beyond what you can alone imagine. When you are surrounded by extraordinary people on a mission, ideas quickly take shape and materialize into projects that are rapidly accomplished with energy and results that exceed expectations. Does that sound like a blueprint for success in your organization? Imagine an opportunity to spend a year interacting with the City’s best and the brightest, learning what makes Philadelphia (and yourself) truly exceptional, while simultaneously enhancing the lives of the less fortunate in your community, and you have just imagined LEADERSHIP Philadelphia.”

Mike Fortunato
Chair, Employment Law Group
Rubin, Fortunato, and Harbison, PC
Core Class of 2011

“Participating in the LEADERSHIP Core program helped me to better understand myself by exploring who I am internally and how I relate to other people. This has proven to be a particularly important skill as I know my (natural and developed) strengths and those areas that require some work. In addition to having a better understanding of myself, I believe the LEADERSHIP Core program expanded my leadership capabilities through the individual and collective work around specific topics. I especially appreciated learning how to identify other’s strengths and encouraging those strengths for the good of the team. One of the greatest aspects of the LEADERSHIP experience is being able to network with amazing leaders in our region. I value the relationships I developed in my class, and am grateful to know that when I am in need, there are resources available to my organization and me through my LEADERSHIP network. I also appreciate answering the calls from fellow LEADERSHIP alumni, and knowing that I am a part of their resource toolkit. I am a proud LEADERSHIP Philadelphia alumna!”

Valerie Gay
Executive Director, Art Sanctuary
Core Class of 2006

“Given that I knew LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s incredible reputation before I applied, the personal development and connections that I gained through the Core Program were exactly what I expected. What I never could have imagined, nor have I witnessed with any development program is how, after graduation, Liz and her team have supported, connected, counseled and educated key members of the Cadence Cycling Foundation and me at critical points in our organization’s early years, that have put us on a strong growth trajectory. Being a nascent organization, with much to learn and little experience growing a non-profit, we called upon LEADERSHIP Philadelphia for guidance in finding service providers, leadership training, legal professionals, and in growing our staff and board. The Cadence Cycling Foundation now has an infrastructure in place to support our strong mission, passionate staff, and dedicated board. With LEADERSHIP’s advice at critical points, we have become a sustainable organization and we are changing kids’ lives – ‘Helping kids create opportunities through cycling’.”

Jayme Anne Goldberg
SilverLine Athletics
Vice Chair of Cadence Cycling Foundation
Core Class of 2006

“Participating in the Core Program helped me to improve management skills; increase network; and up brand awareness for our company. Most importantly, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia allowed me to truly connect with a City I thought I already knew.”

Erik Hirsch
Chief Investment Officer
Hamilton Lane
Core Class of 2010

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a transformative experience. Liz has carefully crafted a program that helps leaders connect with their community, other leaders, and themselves. The program allowed me to see leadership from a fresh perspective and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in it.”

John Janney
SVP Marketing
Independence Blue Cross
Core Class of 2006

“Through my experience with LEADERSHIP, I gained a better understanding of my own personal strengths, talents, and also weaknesses and fears. I gained integral knowledge of a city I have lived in for 37 years. Most importantly, I became more aware of my own personal capacity for leadership, more driven, and interested in how I could use my gifts and abilities in greater service to my organization and to our city as a whole.

LEADERSHIP challenged me to think beyond myself, beyond that specific point in time, and to push my own expectations for my career and eventual legacy.

My LEADERSHIP experience helped me to build a strong and diverse network of friends and contacts, and also a higher profile for myself and the organization I represented.”

Kathryn Ott Lovell
Parks and Recreation Commissioner
City of Philadelphia
Core Class of 2008

“So much changed because of this program. I am absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to participate:

10 great new friends
Dozens of new contacts
I learned more about Philadelphia in 9 months than I did in 31 years growing up here
I learned new things about myself
Developed my leadership skills
And realized the importance of civic involvement.
I will lead a more balanced, fulfilled life from here on out…Thank you LEADERSHIP staff — you changed my life!”

Scott M. Miller
First Vice President
Tenant Advisory Services
CB Richard Ellis, Inc.
Core Class of 2008

“I can see the complete picture now, the entire program and the real purpose of LEADERSHIP.
I started this program with three (now incorrect) assumptions: First, I’m a lifelong Philly guy. What do I need this for? Second, I’m too old for this group. Third, I teach Leadership at the grad school level. What else can they teach me? Boy, was I wrong on all three counts!”

Bill Morsell
Senior Vice President
Keystone Mercy Health Plan
Core Class of 2008

The diversity of experiences and points of view helps you be more creative and open-minded when setting goals in both worlds, while the nature of the relationships you forge helps drive you to be more honest with yourself about your motivations and the feasibility of your aspirations. That balance is invaluable because in the end, leadership must be a combination of motivating people to join you on a journey, but also picking the right destination. There is nothing like LEADERSHIP Philadelphia for bringing those two things together.”

Andrew Olson
Chief Operation Officer
Comcast Converged Products
Core Class of 2010

“The Core Program taught me more about myself than even I knew; especially about work life balance and being present. Not only did my directs and peers at work notice a positive change in me, but so did my wife and kids. And as for proof that the curriculum has value to your employer, I’ve been promoted almost every year since graduating from the class! (I don’t think it’s just a coincidence).”

Gerald W. Peden, M.D.
Senior Manager
Core Class of 2007

“LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a career game changer that gets to the heart of connection and commitment. The personal and professional growth that results is deep and lasting.”

Jan Shaeffer
Executive Director
St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children
Core Class of 2006

“Through LEADERSHIP, I came to understand the geometric power of making connections – from the large ones to the little ones – especially when driven by a “pay it forward” mentality. By pooling our resources and our talents and leaving our egos behind, our capacities to make a difference for our community, our workplaces, and, as a consequence, ourselves, have no real limitations. Congratulations to Liz Dow and her team at LEADERSHIP for creating a reality-based, yet irrepressible crucible for positive change.”

Stella Tsai
Archer & Greiner, P.C., Attorneys-at-Law
Core Class of 2008

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to participate in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. The program gave me an appreciation of Philadelphia, broadened my perspective on issues impacting the region, and taught me about the importance of reflection and appreciation.”

Mailee Walker
Executive Director
Claneil Foundation
Core Class of 2008

Executive Program Participants

“Having recently moved to Philadelphia to join Comcast as one of their senior Human Resource leaders, I was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Executive Program of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia shortly after my arrival. Both my employer and I recognized the opportunity and need for me to become a contributor in the community, both on behalf of Comcast and to support my goal to contribute back to the community in which I live and work. The program greatly exceeded my expectations. I developed a quick but strong sense of the needs of the Philadelphia region, along with its many strengths, some well known and others not so much. Having successfully graduated from LEADERSHIP, I find myself often seeing opportunities to “make a difference” where before they would pass me by. The program has offered me a chance to accelerate my networking and has given added motivation for myself and my wife to establish greater roots in this community.“

Sandy Gunn
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Comcast Interactive Media
Executive Series 2010

“As the trailing spouse of an uprooted NYC executive, The Executive Program of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia provided me with an incredible perspective into what is the “community of Philadelphia”. Unvarnished, real and with so much opportunity for development, it made me realize that we really can contribute and we can make a difference in the lives of people around us. As an executive, the program has focused my attention on the dynamics of the community, how that plays out in the workplace, and how we can rally together to make Philadelphia truly great. Our experience at LEADERSHIP provided the springboard for my husband and I to put down permanent roots in Philadelphia and make this city home – by literally building a new house.”
Susan Gunn

Susan Gunn
Senior Vice President
Executive Series 2010

Collaborative Member

“Devereux’s involvement with LEADERSHIP Philadelphia has been a valuable and rewarding experience. In three short years of membership, we have been fortunate to have three graduates join our efforts, one as a board member and two as members of board committees. They all are incredibly dedicated, hard-working, and thoughtful additions to our advocacy and awareness efforts.”

Antonia Allsman
Director of Development
Devereux Pennsylvania

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