Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)

October 15, 2006
Edition: CITY-D
Page: E01


A survey picked 101 people making a difference. Who's on and who's not may surprise.


Farah Jimenez is the first to say she was "utterly shocked" when she learned she was on a list of 101 area leaders known and trusted for their effectiveness at getting things done.


"I didn't think there were enough people who know who I am," said Jimenez, 38, of the neighborhood renewal group Mt. Airy USA. "I know I don't have that many friends and family in Philadelphia."


Perhaps, but in nine years as Mt. Airy USA's first executive director, Jimenez impressed enough people to become one of 101 "connectors" most often named by 4,800 citizens responding to a survey by Leadership Philadelphia.


Leadership Philadelphia - formerly Leadership Inc. - was founded in 1959 by a group of corporate and academic leaders to foster greater participation in the city's civic leadership. The Connector Project is intended to get more people in the region to think about such things. It is also a first step in designing a curriculum to develop leadership skills that will be a pilot program next spring in Philadelphia high schools.


"This is not a popularity contest," said Elizabeth Dow, Leadership Philadelphia's president. "We were looking for a certain kind of leader, and it takes all kinds of leaders to run a city."


Indeed, the results are notable not just for those who are on the list, but for those who did not make it.


Mayor Street, for example, is not on the list. Nor are the current members of City Council, the city's congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), or State Sen. Vincent Fumo (D., Phila.).


Only a few of the 101 are - or were - elected officials: Gov. Rendell, State Reps. Dwight Evans and Cherelle L. Parker, Democrats from the far northwest parts of the city; former City Councilman Michael Nutter, now a candidate for mayor; and former City Councilman Edward Schwartz, who now heads the Institute for the Study of Civic Values.


Dow herself was named one of the 101 connectors, as were several other Leadership Philadelphia alumni including Nutter; Marsha Perelman, president of Woodforde Energy Inc.; and Judy Wicks, president of the White Dog Cafe.


Dow said people too often think of leadership only in terms of politics and public offices. "We're just trying to start a different conversation about leadership, a need to have a broader range of views," Dow said.


Connectors, Dow said, leverage their people skills throughout a career. Those traits - in the corporate boardroom, elected office, charity or cultural group - benefit society, business and the economy.


Dow said she was not surprised that many of the region's most high-profile political leaders did not make the list.


"The usual suspects are covered in the news all the time, so we know a great deal about them and how they operate," Dow said. "This is a different group of people who often fly under the radar screen."


Others on the list include well-known nonelective city officials such as Paul Vallas, chief executive officer of the Philadelphia School District; Street's current managing director, Pedro A. Ramos; lawyer David L. Cohen, Rendell's chief of staff during his two terms as mayor and now executive vice president of cable-television firm Comcast; Phil Goldsmith, Street's former managing director; city Commerce Director Stephanie Naidoff.


Some are movers in the business community, such as Ronald Rubin of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust; Hugh C. Long, who heads Wachovia Corp.'s operations in Pennsylvania and Delaware; Charles P. Pizzi, president and CEO of Tasty Baking Co.; and Irene H. Hannan, senior vice president at Citizens Bank.


Still others are involved in the city's charitable or cultural sectors such as David Fair, vice president of community impact at United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and a veteran advocate for people with HIV/AIDS; Peggy Amsterdam, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; Rebecca Rimel of the Pew Charitable Trusts; and Sister Mary Scullion, founder of Project HOME and an advocate for homeless people.


But many, like Jimenez, would arguably not make any random citizens' top-10 list.


"It's a list of the unusual suspects," Jimenez joked.


Another is Jon Herrmann, 28, a North Jersey native who came to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and fell in love with the city.


Five years ago, Herrmann founded Campus Philly, a group and Internet Web site to link students attending the region's 40 colleges and universities and encourage out-of-towners to stay in the city after graduation.


Herrmann said he was surprised and gratified at being named to the connectors list.


"It's not about how many people you know, it's how well you know them and how well you establish trust," Herrmann said. "It's about making good on your commitments."


Dow said she decided to do the Connector project after an editorial column by Chris Satullo, editor of The Inquirer's editorial page, decrying the lack of leadership in the city in the wake of the city government corruption scandal.


Satullo - who said he did not know Dow when he wrote the column - is one of the 101. Not on the list is Inquirer editor Amanda Bennett or Philadelphia Daily News editor Michael Days, or anyone else from those newspapers.


Dow said her reaction to the column was, "we have fabulous leaders. They're just flying under the radar screen."


Dow said she then contacted Karen Stephenson, a "corporate anthropologist" and former Harvard professor whose company, NetForm Inc., analyzes corporate problem-solving by mapping office connections and relationships.


Stephenson said she was excited by the challenge of transferring her theories from the office to a complex geographic region like Philadelphia.


Starting with a base of 1,800 Leadership Philadelphia alumni, the group asked the public to nominate people who had a reputation for trust and an ability "to get things done and consider common good."


A total of 4,800 people responded between January and March, submitting 4,300 names. Those named most often ultimately became Leadership Philadelphia's "101 connectors."


Stephenson said she was surprised how many connectors - 67 percent - were not Philadelphia-born, especially considering their most unifying trait.


"First and foremost, they have a passion about Philadelphia," Stephenson said, adding that that passion could be one reason behind Center City Philadelphia's current renaissance.


One former outsider - and another of the 101 - is Louis Coffey, 66, a partner in the WolfBlock law firm in Center City who specialized in real estate and corporate securities, but who has always done pro bono - legal volunteer - work for a variety of groups. The Pittsburgh native is also a current board member and immediate past president of the Center City Residents' Association.


"I grew up poor and I feel very fortunate, very grateful for the opportunities I've had here," Coffey said. "I think it's important to give back and to actively participate in creating the life I want and the city I want. Philadelphia is a great city and it's great because the people make it great."


Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or




Dean Adler: Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds.


Peggy Amsterdam: Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.


Bruce Aronow: Managers Investment Group L.L.C.


Sheila Ballen: educational and environmental activist, former executive director of Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group.


Wendy Beetlestone: Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin.


Richard Bendis: "True Product ID Inc."


Chuck Bragatikos: Vibrant Development Group L.L.C.


Karen Buchholz: Comcast.


Duane Bumb: City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce.


Della Clark: The Enterprise Center.


John Claypool: AIA Philadelphia.


Louis Coffey: "Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen L.L.P.


David L. Cohen: Comcast.


Richard J. Cohen:


Philadelphia Health Management Corp.


Patricia Coulter: Urban League of Philadelphia.


Helen Cunningham: Samuel L. Fels Fund.


Nick DeBenedictis: Aqua America.


Elizabeth Dow: Leadership Philadelphia.


Kevin Dow: Wachovia Corp.


Nancy Dunleavy: Dunleavy & Associates Inc.


Joseph Dworetsky: Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin.


Dwight Evans: Pennsylvania House of Representatives.


David Fair: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.


Varsovia Fernandez: Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Graham Finney: board member, Philadelphia Parks Alliance.


Stephanie Gambone: Philadelphia Youth Network.


Daniel Garofalo: University of Pennsylvania.


Valerie V. Gay: Temple University.


Terry Gillen: Grays Ferry activist, Democratic leader of 30th Ward.


Eva Gladstein: City of Philadelphia.


Nancy Goldenberg: Center City District.


Jane Golden: Mural Arts Program.


Phil Goldsmith: Goldsmith Kahn Associates.


Steve Goodman: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius L.L.P.


Rosemarie Greco: Governor's Office of Health Care Reform Forum.


Derek Green: Office of Councilwoman Marian Tasco.


Alan Greenberger: MGA Partners.


Melissa Grimm: Philadelphia 2016 Working Group.


Alison Grove: Alison Grove Consulting.


Gloria Guard: People's Emergency Center.


Craig Hamilton: The Philadelphia Orchestra.


Bill Hankowsky: Liberty Property Trust.


Irene Hannan: Citizens Bank.


Jon Herrmann: Campus Philly.


Lissa Hilsee: Greater Philadelphia Cares.


Kenny Holdsman: Academy for Educational Development.


Steve Honeyman: Eastern Philadelphia Organizing Project.


Feather Houstoun: William Penn Foundation.


Mark Alan Hughes: Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania.


Farah Jimenez: Mt. Airy USA.


Ernest Jones: Philadelphia Workforce Development Corp.


Loree Jones: City of Philadelphia.


Sam Katz: Leverage Partners L.L.C.


Josh Kopelman: First Round Capital.


Meryl Levitz: Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.


Paul Levy: Center City District.


Charisse Lillie: Comcast.


Hugh C. Long: Wachovia Bank.


Brett Mandel: Philadelphia Forward.


William J. Marrazzo: WHYY Inc.


Alba Martinez: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.


Sharmain Matlock-Turner: Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition.


Stephen Mullin: Econsult Corp.


Stephanie Naidoff: City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce.


James E. Nevels: The Swarthmore Group.


Jeremy Nowak: The Reinvestment Fund.


Michael Nutter: Nutter for Mayor.


Marlene Olshan: Big Brothers Big Sisters.


Cherelle Parker: Pennsylvania House of Representatives.


Marsha Perelman: Woodforde Energy Inc.


Charles Pizzi: Tasty Baking Co.


Pedro A. Ramos: City of Philadelphia.


Edward G. Rendell: Governor of Pennsylvania.


Estelle Richman: Department of Public Welfare Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Rebecca Rimel: The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Howard D. Ross: LLR Partners Inc.


Ronald Rubin: Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.


Chris Satullo: Philadelphia Inquirer.


Edward Schwartz: Institute for the Study of Civic Values.


Sister Mary Scullion: Project HOME.


Josh Sevin: City of Philadelphia, Department of Commerce.


Laura Shubilla: Philadelphia Youth Network Inc.


Zack Stalberg: Committee of Seventy.


Patrick Starr: Pennsylvania Environmental Council.


Harris Steinberg: Penn Praxis.


Marc Stier: Neighborhood Networks; Neighborhood


Rob Stuart: Evolve Strategies.


E. Mitchell Swann: MDC Systems L.L.C.


David Thornburgh: Alliance for Regional Stewardship.


Ellen Toplin: Toplin & Associates Inc.


Nick Torres: Congreso De Latinos Unidos.


Joe Torsella: National Constitution Center.


Andrew Toy: Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC).


Paul Vallas: School District of Philadelphia.


'Dolf Ward Goldenburg: William Way LGBT Community Center.


Rob Weber: Antiphony Partners L.L.C.


Melissa Weiler-Gerber: WomensWay.


Ken Weinstein: Trolley Car Diner.


Judy Wicks: White Dog Caf


Diane-Louise: D-L Wormley: Philadelphia Neighborhood Development Collaborative.


Lynn H. Yeakel: Drexel University College of Medicine -Institute for Women's Health & Leadership.


SOURCE: Leadership Philadelphia.


6 who made the list


Edward G. Rendell, 62, Pennsylvaniagovernor; former mayor of Philadelphia.


Valerie V. Gay, 41, director of development, Temple University's College of Continuing Education, financial-management programs for young African Americans.


Dwight Evans, 52, Democratic state representative from Germantown area's 203d Legislative District.


Sister Mary Scullion, 53, founder of Project HOME, advocate for homeless people.


'Dolf Ward Goldenberg, 35, executive director, William Way Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.


Pedro A. Ramos, 41, managing director, City of Philadelphia.


6 who did not


John Street, 63, mayor of Philadelphia.


U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), 61, chairman of Philadelphia Democratic Committee.


Marjorie O. Rendell, 58, Pennsylvania's first lady; judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


Malcolm Lazin, 62, founder of Equality Forum, civil rights group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.


Romulo L. Diaz Jr., 60, city solicitor, City of Philadelphia.


Amy Gutmann, 56, president, University of Pennsylvania.

Illustration:PHOTO AND CHART

LAURENCE KESTERSON / Inquirer Suburban Staff


Jon Herrmann, executive director of Campus Philly, was named one of the city's 101 connectors. His group and Web site link students attending the region's 40 colleges and universities and encourage out-of-towners to stay in the Philadelphia area after graduation.


APRIL SAUL / Inquirer Staff Photographer


Louis Coffey is a partner in the WolfBlock law firm in Center City who has always done pro bono work for a variety of groups. He's a director of the Center City Residents' Association.


ERIC MENCHER / Inquirer Staff Photographer


Farah Jimenez, executive director of Mt. Airy USA, is one of 101 civic leaders known and trusted for their effectiveness at getting things done. She was chosen in a survey conducted by Leadership Philadelphia, which encourages greater participation in the city's civic leadership.




AREA'S 101 CONNECTED LEADERS (SOURCE: Leadership Philadelphia)


6 who made the list; 6 who did not



Copyright (c) 2006 The Philadelphia Inquirer