How to Make it in America

A Business Leadership Conference for Philadelphia


Panel 1: Getting Started

Philadelphia City Councilman Al Taubenberger (At Large)

A Philadelphian, born and raised, Councilman At-Large Al Taubenberger was sworn into office on Jan. 4, 2016. As a freshman council member he serves as Chair of the Committee on Aging as well as Vice-Chair of Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy.

Before Councilman Taubenberger took office he served for more than two decades as the President of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He also served as President of the Burholme Civic and Town Watch. He was a leading member of the Philadelphia Jobs Commission, the Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission, Northeast Victims Services, Resource Board of the School District of Philadelphia, St. Hubert’s High School Board of Directors, Philadelphia Parking Authority, the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, Wesley Enhanced Living Retirement Communities and the Nazareth Hospital Foundation Board.

Ryan Dorsey
Owner, Recess Lounge, Dos Tacos, Noto

Ryan Dorsey, a Philadelphia nightlife veteran has been in the hospitality industry since his young adulthood. Ryan has an immense amount of experience, from being a bar-back at his father’s bar at 19 years old to owning his first bar at just 25. Ryan currently owns Center City’s Dos Tacos is, a cofounder of Recess Lounge, the Director of Operations at NOTO Nightclub and a partner at Maison 208, Philadelphia’s newest and hottest French – New American restaurant. To say Ryan has experience in the hospitality field is an understatement. 


Terrace Daniels
Owner, Bo Concept Philadelphia

Terrace Daniels is originally from New Jersey but relocated to Philadelphia, PA, in 2016. From Owner to VP of Logistics Integrity at BoConcept Philadelphia, Terrace wears many hats. The former Director of Operations for BoConcept USA, he is now the owner of the Danish furniture showroom located in Center City. Terrace works hard behind the scenes to ensure seamless customer service from point of purchase to delivery, all while maintaining long-lasting relationships. From charity evenings to book readings and beyond, he has opened his doors to host numerous events in an effort to give back to the community.


Joy Patton
Owner, UPS Store 

Stephanie Mays-Boyd
Second Vice Chair, Pennsylvania Convention Center

A native of Macon, Georgia, Ms. Mays-Boyd started her career path at the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1990 as a Convention Marketing Representative.  There she was very active within the community serving on various boards including Boys and Girls Club of Central Georgia, Macon Arts Alliance and Society of Government Meeting Planners. She is a graduate of Leadership Macon.

Ms. Mays Boyd has had a progressive career at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. To fully understand the day-to-day operations of the Center, she began as an Event Coordinator in 1996.  With a passion for sales within the hospitality industry, she joined the sales team as Sales and Service Coordinator then advanced to Convention and Tradeshow Sales Manager.  Ms. Mays-Boyd broadened became a leader within the PCCA as Senior Sales Manager and currently as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  

She currently serves as Second Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) and Executive Board Member for the African American Museum of Philadelphia.  She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Council for the United Negro College Fund, the Philadelphia Tribune Charities Board, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and on the Board of Directors of Legacy Youth Tennis and Education.  She is a Trustee at Lincoln University and a former Trustee of Peirce College. Ms. Mays-Boyd is also very active within the hospitality industry serving on the Board of Directors for PHLDiversity.

Curtis Gregory
Senior Director of Business Services, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Stephanie Green
Citizens Bank

Panel 2: Expanding Your Business

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (9th District)

Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker proudly serves the 9th Council District in Philadelphia which stretches through northwest and northeast communities, including East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Olney, Lawncrest, Burholme and Oxford Circle.

Prior to her election in November 2015, Cherelle served for 10 years as the State Representative for the 200th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she became the youngest African-American woman ever elected in September 2005. As State Representative, she earned a reputation for being one of the most effective, politically-savvy and proactive legislators in the region.

Cherelle is a graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and Lincoln University, where she earned Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science in English Education Degrees, respectively. She is also a wife and mother residing in Mt. Airy, who enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with family and friends during her leisure.

Ken Davies
Founder & CEO, City Fitness

Ken opened the first City Fitness in Northern Liberties in 2007 and has since grown the company to five locations, over 14,000 members, more than 130 employees, and in excess of $10mm annual income. A Millersville graduate and Philadelphia-area native, Ken worked in various roles in commercial real estate and corporate compliance prior to founding City Fitness.



Herbert Reid, Jr. & Herbert Reid III
President and Vice President, Maze Development Group

Stew Keener
Owner, Bar Hygge

Veketia Pierce
General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott – Philadelphia Airport

Veketia is the GM at the Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Airport.  She started with Marriott 21 years ago as a Pastry Cook at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott and held various positions within the hotel including Line Cook, Lead Cook and AYS Supervisor.  She transferred to Courtyard by Marriott and held additional positions including Director of Housekeeping, Event Manager and Assistant GM. Outside of Marriott she volunteers as a National Representative with Young People with the National Young People’s Department.



Curtis Gregory
Senior Director of Business Services, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Stephanie Green
Citizens Bank

Panel 1: Getting Started

Philadelphia City Councilman Derek S. Green, Esq.  (At Large)

As a member of City Council, Councilman Green chairs the Committee on Disabilities and serves as the Vice Chair of the Committees on Aging and Law and Government. Additionally, he serves as the Chairman of the Philadelphia Gas Commission and as a Regional Director for the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.

Councilman Green’s legal experience includes positions as an Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware (Securities and Criminal Divisions). Councilman Green is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey. Before becoming an attorney, Councilman Green was a consumer and small business lender for Meridian Bank. He is also a graduate of the University of Virginia and Temple University School of Law.

Councilman Green and his wife, Sheila, co-founded the first Autism Support Class at Houston Elementary School to help other Autistic children like their son. To aid other families affected by Autism, they are a top regional fundraiser for Autism Speaks.

Melissa Alam
CEO, Femme and Fortune

Melissa Alam is the Founder & CEO of Femme & Fortune, a digital platform and creative marketing agency for the modern, ambitious woman. A self-proclaimed #ideaholic, Melissais best known for creating the first all-female coworking space in Philadelphia called The Hive, as well as her yearly conference for women called The Fearless Conference. When she’s not busy behind her computer screen, Melissa can be found traveling the world and connecting dots between people and communities. She and her businesses have been featured in publications such as BuzzFeed, The Everygirl,, CBS Philly, World Women Foundation and more.


Morgan Berman
CEO, MilkCrate

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Morgan is a multidisciplinary designer whose mission is to promote sustainable design and weave it into the fabric of daily life. She completed her Masters of Science in Sustainable Design at Philadelphia University, where she focused on interactive and industrial design within the broader context of sustainability. Prior to her work as a sustainability advocate and designer, she worked as a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and as an educator/advocate in women’s health.



Sylvester Mobley
Founder & Executive Director, Coded By Kids/Coded By U

Sylvester Mobley founded Coded by Kids in 2013 to bring project-based education to recreation centers and schools. His dynamic programs transform community spaces into centers of innovation, and give students the tools they need to excel in real-world tech careers. Sylvester has received several awards for his work, including a Philadelphia City Council Citation (2016), the Philadelphia Business Journal Tech Disruptor Award (2016), a Philadelphia City Council Resolution (2015), and recognition from Billy Penn as a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (2015). Sylvester is a proud father of three, a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and a veteran of the war in Iraq.


Jonathon Beschen
Manager, Technology Commercialization, Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Jonathon Beschen joined Ben Franklin as a Manager of the Technology Commercialization Group in November. Jon has a strong instinct for developing relationships with passionate people and finding ways to collaborate on creative ideas. He has served on many local advisory boards and is a familiar face in the local tech startup scene.  Before starting at Ben, Jon ran local technology consultancy SparkNET Technologies which developed and invested in cutting edge tech startups. He is also a founding member of a local economic development non-profit Liberty Valley Initiative.



Silvie Gallier Howard
Chief of Staff, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Sylvie Gallier Howard is Chief of Staff of the Department of Commerce. She assumed this position in January 2015 after serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development during the Nutter Administration. In addition to supporting day-to-day operations, Ms. Gallier Howard’s responsibilities include communications and marketing, coordinating legislative activities, international relations, and rolling out new programs. She has spearheaded several priority initiatives, such as the launch of Kiva City Philadelphia, a zero-interest micro-business loan program, and the City’s successful effort to become the first World Heritage City in the U.S.

Prior to joining government, Sylvie spent her entire career in the non-profit sector. For six years, Mrs. Gallier Howard was the Principal and Founder of Clementine Consulting, providing guidance to non-profits and social enterprises working in areas such as education, social justice, economic development and immigration. Mrs. Gallier Howard has also served as the Executive Director of two community-based non-profits in Philadelphia: The Northwest Fund and The Empowerment Group. At the Empowerment Group, Mrs. Gallier Howard started Philadelphia’s first bilingual Spanish-English entrepreneurship training program.

Mrs. Gallier Howard serves on the board of directors of the Global Philadelphia Association and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. She has a B.A. in International relations from Barnard College of Columbia University and an M.A. in Sociology from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Ecuador (a graduate school started by the United Nations Development Program to promote development in Latin America). Mrs. Gallier Howard is fluent in Spanish and French and is the mother of four boys.

Panel 2: Expanding Your Business

Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh (At Large)

David Oh was elected to City Council as an At-Large member in November 2011 and took office in January 2012. He was re-elected in November 2015 and began his second term in January 2016. David was the first Asian-American elected to political office in Philadelphia. He is also the only military veteran currently serving on City Council.

As one of his primary issues, Oh has focused on the economic development of Philadelphia and the further creation of jobs and opportunities for those in the City.


Chris Cera
CEO, Arcweb Technologies

Chris Cera is CEO of Arcweb, which designs and develops comprehensive products and solutions for a variety of enterprises, ranging from startups to Fortune 20 financial services companies. A graduate of Drexel University, Cera was a senior software developer at and Director of Customer Experience & Development at Drakontas.

He is also a co-founder of Philly Startup Leaders, an influential and informal group for early-stage entrepreneurs.



Brigitte F. Daniel, Esq.
Executive Vice President, Wilco Electronic Systems

Ms. Daniel is the Executive Vice President of Wilco Electronics Systems, Inc. (Wilco). Wilco is one of the last remaining African-American owned cable operators in the nation and has provided quality cable services, telecommunication services, and security systems throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area for the last 31 years.

As Executive Vice President of Wilco, Ms. Daniel takes on a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including corporate communications, government affairs, regulatory affairs, public affairs, and corporate administration. She additionally provides overall leadership and strategic vision impacting the growth and future of the company and serves as senior counselor to the President, Will F. Daniel. One of Ms. Daniel’s current focuses with the company is overseeing the launch and implementation of the new WILCO Philadelphia Housing Authority community and entertainment channel, WPHA-TV and the online channel located at

Prior to joining Wilco, Ms. Daniel served as an Officer with the City of Philadelphia’s Minority Business Enterprise Council (MBEC), served as the Director of Business Development and Governmental Affairs for the Academy of Screen Arts, a film school that opened in Ghana, West Africa, in 2002, and worked with Black Entertainment Television, Inc., the Federal Communications Commission, and Wilkinson Barker Knauer as a law clerk, legal intern, and summer associate respectively.

Tiffanie Stanard
Founder & CEO, Stimulus

Tiffanie Stanard is known for following all of her passions – an anomaly in many sorts because she is a techie, a creative, radio personality/producer and serial entrepreneur. Tiffanie has been named by Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the 15 Women Changing the Face of Technology and Innov8tiv Magazine as one of the Top 100 Women Visionary Leaders to Watch. Stanard is the President/CEO of Prestige Concepts (PC), an award-winning brand enhancement firm, specializing in branding and marketing strategies to fuse the organizations for-profit and social impact messaging for customer alignment. Stanard is the Founder/CEO of Stimulus, a technology and media company providing a platform to connect communities to resources and and supply resource-providers with the tools to deepen community impact. For years, Tiffanie has brought her trademark personality and passion for national news and entertainment to radio as one of the hosts and producer for Philly Speaks with Radio One, Inc. Stanard has been a featured speaker for Microsoft, SXSW, IBM, Techweek, AT&T and more.

Christopher Wink
Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Philly

Christopher Wink is a Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of, the local technology news network. In that capacity, he is a co-organizer of Philly Tech Week, Baltimore Innovation Week, Delaware Innovation Week and other events that bring smart people together. Previously, Wink worked for a homeless advocacy nonprofit and was a freelance reporter for a variety of publications. He writes regularly about news innovation and best business practices on his personal blog and curates a personal monthly newsletter of ideas and links. The bicycle commuter loves cities, urban politics and squabbling about neighborhood boundaries.


Jonathon Beschen
Manager, Technology Commercialization Group, Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Silvie Gallier Howard
Chief of Staff, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Panel 1: Getting Started

Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon  (6th District)

Councilman Henon was elected to City Council in 2011 and re-elected to his second term in 2015.  He was unanimously chosen by his peers to serve as Majority Leader in 2016. As co-chair of the Manufacturing Task Force, he worked with business, civic and education leaders to create and implement a plan to expand the manufacturing industry in Philadelphia.  This effort also helped secure hundreds of new jobs in the 6th District with the expansion of Dietz & Watson in Tacony.

In his role as Chair of the Committee on Public Property and Public Works, he helped lead the City of Philadelphia’s negotiation and adoption of the Cable Franchise Renewal Agreement with Comcast, which will expand internet access and adoption opportunities for low-income Philadelphians and seniors, increase resources for public access channels and provide for the creation of a high-speed network that will connect hundreds of City entities, improving the way the City provides service to and for its citizens.

Jack Griffin
President, Metropolis Farms

Jack Griffin is an accomplished entrepreneur, financier, and inventor, holding over 20 patents and pending patents in diverse fields including high-energy rocketry, advanced refractive light systems, and of course, indoor and outdoor farming. He is a self-described socially responsible capitalist and minimalist. Jack’s inventions, businesses, and personal activities center around social justice, environmental responsibility, and economic sustainability. His personal goal is to crush every food desert in the United States by growing both local food and green collar jobs in these communities.


Stacey Mosely

Prior to launching FixList in 2015, Stacey worked for the City of Philadelphia for five years practicing data science and operations engineering for the City’s Vacant Property Strategy and Open Data initiative. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, having studied Manufacturing & Design Engineering with a mix of courses from the Savannah College of Art and Design to balance both her creative and more disciplined interests.

She is the outgoing Programming Chair of Young Involved Philadelphia and an active member of the Urban Land Institute, sitting on the Policy & Land Use Council, Young Leadership Council, and NEXT cohort. Outside of civic life, Stacey is a hiker and cyclist who loves convening the wonderful people she’s come to know. She is honored to be recognized as one of Billy Penn’s Who’s Next in Entrepreneurship, and by the Philadelphia Business Journal as an emerging Woman in Technology.

Leslie Smallwood-Lewis
Member, Mosiac Development

Andrew Niesen
Vice-President, Fulton Bank

Andrew Niesen is a Vice-President in the Commercial Lending Group with Fulton Bank, the largest independent bank headquartered in Southeast Pennsylvania with assets in excess of $17 Billion. Previously, he was Senior Vice- President with Beneficial Bank in Philadelphia and prior to then, Andrew was Director of Business Development for CliftonLarsonAllen, ranked in the top 10 largest accounting firms in the US.  Andrew is experienced working with Investors, Developers and C-Level Executives, public companies and large privately-held enterprises undergoing organizational transformations, risk assessments and growth strategies. Andrew has over 25 years of real estate and corporate finance transaction experience with a focus on capital markets, commercial lending and structured finance.  He has held leadership positions in Business Development, Loan Origination and Corporate Development for domestic and international financial institutions, Fortune 100 and Specialty Finance companies. Andrew’s extensive experience includes all facets of business development, corporate expansion, portfolio management and relationship building.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Union College in Schenectady, NY, Andrew received a Master’s of Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance and Marketing from Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio. Andrew is a member of the Union League of Philadelphia and he resides with his wife in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania and has two grown children.

Kevin O’Donnell
Vice-President, Fulton Bank

Kevin O’Donnell is a Vice President in the Philadelphia Commercial Lending Group with Fulton Bank, the largest independent bank headquartered in Southeast Pennsylvania with assets in excess of $17 Billion.  Kevin has been a Commercial Lender at Fulton for the last 7 years previously working in their Bucks County office in Yardley, Pa. Kevin was the first hire in Fulton’s new Loan Production Office in Center City Philadelphia, which opened in June of 2017.  Kevin has over 35 years of real estate and corporate finance transaction experience with a focus on commercial receivable and inventory lending. He has leadership experience with the running of a commercial lending team at a previous bank, First Republic Bank, also in Center City Philadelphia.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pa. Kevin received a Masters of Business Administration, also from LaSalle University in Economics

Jonathan Todd
Director of Talent Development, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Jonathan Todd is the Director of Talent Development for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce. The Talent Development Unit works with public and private partners, academic institutions, employers and workforce training agencies to develop and strengthen pathways to employment for all Philadelphians. Jonathan is a graduate of Temple University, where he received a BA in Communications.



Panel 2: Expanding Your Business

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez  (7th District)

Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez is a veteran activist with over 30 years of service to the City of Philadelphia, currently serving a third four-year term on Philadelphia City Council. Maria has advocated tirelessly for creating and preserving family-sustaining jobs, investing in a trained and educated workforce, reducing blight and transforming vacant land, keeping families in their homes, mandating ethics and transparency in government, revitalizing neighborhood economies, reforming unsafe demolition practices, and securing the rights of women, families, and workers across the City.

Maria currently serves City Council as Chair of the Committees of Appropriations; Chair of the Committee on Licenses and Inspections; Vice Chair of the Committee on Streets and Services; and Vice Chair of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services. Maria also serves as a member of the following committees: Rules; Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs; Education; Labor and Civil Service; and Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless.

Jessie Garcia
Founder/CEO. Tozuda, LLC

Jessie Garcia is the founder and CEO of Tozuda. She is a patented inventor and her technology is being developed into affordable head impact sensors, so users know when they might have a potential concussion. Jessie graduated Lehigh University with a B.A. in Global Studies in 2012 and a Master’s of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship in 2013. She is a fellow in Stanford’s Latino Entrepreneurs Initiative and is nominated for’s 2017 Stellar Startup Awards.



Roland Kassis
Managing Partner, Domani Developers

Angelina Perryman
VP – Administration, Perryman Building and Construction

Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Syracuse University, and 20 years of personal experience in the industry, CEO, Craig Williams, established Pride Enterprises Inc, as a small construction company in 1996. Emerging from a familial unit of thriving entrepreneurs, Williams began his uphill journey working as a laborer in the family business. He got his start by working for his uncle during summers off from Syracuse, and later moved on to help cultivate a new family business when his father made the acute decision to leave Corporate America and develop his own construction empire.

Today, the accomplished firm handles all aspects of Construction Management, Consulting, and Building. PEI lucratively holds 21 active projects with a total contract value of over 20 million dollars. With a capacity of $15 million in single job bonding, $30 million in comprehensive bonding, and a catalog of completed federal and military contracts, PEI has established itself as a leading firm in its class.

After obtaining a significant amount of success, Williams did not forget his beginning working under his father’s tutelage. Aspiring to be a positive mentor for others, Williams joined the committee of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, which provides high school dropouts the opportunity to earn a diploma and attain vital job skills. Joining YouthBuild evoked Williams to realize his devotion to giving back to the community and mentor others with passions that paralleled his own.

Andrew Niesen
Vice-President, Fulton Bank

Kevin O’Donnell
Vice-President, Fulton Bank

Jonathan Todd
Director of Talent Development, Philadelphia Department of Commerce