We’re pleased to introduce the Fellows and facilitators of the 2023 Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy! The Academy — launched in partnership by Scranton Area Community Foundation and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program — brings leaders from across the Northeastern Pennsylvania workforce ecosystem together for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. The Academy provides a forum for local leaders to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions for economic opportunity for all. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy is one of eight local academies launched in 2023. Alumni of the Academy become part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, joining Fellows from fourteen previous Academies in eleven cities in the US and Canada.
COO, Scranton Area Community Foundation
Maggie serves as the Chief Operating Officer at the Scranton Area Community Foundation. Since 2016, Maggie has helped to establish nearly 100 charitable funds and to process over $14 million in grants and scholarships. She oversees many of the Foundation’s community initiatives, including capacity support for nonprofit organizations.
In her volunteer work, Maggie has served on the boards for six organizations, including serving as the President of the Junior League of Scranton and Cinderella’s Closet of NEPA. She has been recognized on the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal’s Top 20 Under 40 and has received a number of Junior League awards including the Association of Junior League International’s Rising Star Award. Maggie received a B.S. in Biology and a M.B.A. in Operations and Healthcare Management, both from the University of Scranton. She lives in Glenburn with her husband Eric, her mother Donna, and her Golden Retriever Rosie.
NEPA Thrives Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation
Jana is the NEPA Thrives Manager at the Scranton Area Community Foundation, managing the Foundation’s workforce initiative. Before moving to Pennsylvania from Washington, DC in 2022, Jana was the Grants Manager at Jubilee Jobs, a nonprofit that helps people with barriers to employment find jobs.
Jana has 15 years of development and communications leadership experience at arts and education nonprofits and was an Arts Management Fellow at the Kennedy Center. Previously, she was an International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce and served as the Acting Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassies in Kyiv, Ukraine and Prague, Czech Republic. She also worked on the Department’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Task Force.
Jana has an MA in International Affairs from American University and a BA from Bucknell University. She serves on the Board of Directors of Sitar Arts Center, where she had volunteered teaching the violin for many years.
Senior Community Inititative Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation
Vivian Williams serves as the Senior Community Initiative Manager for the Scranton Area Foundation, representing all identified coalitions and direct service projects that the Foundation engages in facilitating and accelerating a regional change movement.
Initiatives that Vivian has helped develop since joining the Foundation in 2019 include NEPA Moves, a regional transportation collaborative, NEPA Home, focused on affordable and attainable housing and NEPA Gives, a regional giving movement that in three years raised $2.9 million for over 230 organizations.
Vivian holds an MBA in General Management from Marywood University in Scranton, PA and a B.A. in Communications and Nonprofit Management from Salem College located in Winston-Salem, NC.
Senior Director of Grants and Education, WVIA
A graduate of Bowling Green State University and an award-winning teacher and administrator, Vicki served as the Director of the nationally recognized Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program at Misericordia University, which provides education and no-cost housing for single parents and their families. After a decade spent building a solid programmatic and financial foundation for this initiative, Vicki returned to the classroom before finding her way to WVIA.
Vicki has served as a volunteer adult and youth educator for North Branch Friends Quaker Meeting, a board member of the Wyoming Valley Peace and Justice Center of NEPA and is Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Wyoming Free Library. Vicki is a published author.
Director of Operations, The Institute
Jill is the Chief Operating Officer at IPPED, an analytics and consulting firm in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In addition to various marketing and administrative responsibilities, she oversees projects involving strategic planning, program design and evaluation, community needs assessments, market and feasibility studies, and policy research.
Prior to entering her current role, Jill enjoyed several years as a freelance writer and editor. This work included the development of educational materials, such as benchmark-aligned passages and assessment items for high-school and university-level curricula. She also completed a decade-long journey of counseling and advocating for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
Jill earned her MBA from Wilkes University and studied English and Women’s Studies as an undergraduate at Penn State University. Jill’s primary objective is to contribute to productive and proactive community impact.
Executive Director, Greater Hazleton Partners in Education
Cathy is the E.D. of Greater Hazleton Partners in Education, a non-profit 501(c)(3) business education partnership which was created over 20 years ago.
A graduate of Penn State University – Hazleton and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, Cathy holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in HR Management. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources and received her life and career coaching certification from the Life Purpose Institute in San Diego, CA.
Before joining Partners in Education, Cathy worked locally in the Human Resources field for many years. She took over the role of executive director at PIE in 2014 and manages the day-to-day operations of the non-profit and its programs.
Assistant Administrator, Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab
Brian Coulthard is the Assistant Administrator at Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab. Founded as the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania in 1916, Elan Skilled Nursing and Rehab, a Jewish Senior Life Community, has grown to become a leading provider of short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, memory care, and onsite dialysis care. Brian has engaged in workforce development through understanding the value of growing and developing our local economy utilizing local resources.
Director of Leadership and Accountability, Scranton School District
I began my career as a Health & Physical Education teacher in the Pocono Mountain School District and Tunkhannock Area School District for a total of 6 years. In 2013, I became an Assistant Principal at West Scranton High School for 3 years, followed by 2 years as an elementary Principal at Charles Sumner Elementary. I then returned to West Scranton High School as Principal for 4 years.
Most recently, I was appointed Director of Leadership and Accountability for the Scranton School District, where I oversee our 17 district schools and Principals on a daily basis. I have also served in the Army National Guard for 6 years, including a 1-year deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, serving as a calvary scout.
Senior Director of Human Resources, Settlers Hospitality Group
Janna returned to the family business in beautiful NEPA in 2022 after a decades long career as an education leader in the NY charter school sector where she worked as an Arts Director, a Dean of Students, a Principal and a Managing Director. Her work in the New York City charter schools was driven by a commitment to equity and community.
Her background in humanities and social justice have shaped her people centered approach to leadership. These experiences prepared her to develop the Human Resources department at Settlers Hospitality.
Heartwood Coordinator, Willow Foundation
Tamear’s professional background consists of working with at risk youth, drug and alcohol populations, and now homeless populations. His ultimate goal is to end homelessness in the Greater Hazleton Area. Growing up in New York City as a homeless at risk youth, he can identify certain barriers that our members have to face on a day to day basis.
In his current role as the Heartwood Center Coordinator, his responsibilities include community outreach, and fundraising. His goal is to continue to help those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
Executive Director, Dress for Success Lackawanna
Serena is the E.D. at Dress for Success Lackawanna, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence and help them thrive in the workplace. As Executive Director, Serena provides career development services for women entering the workforce or seeking a career change. She also offers one-on-one career coaching services such as resume and cover letter writing, job search techniques and interview skills.
Prior to working with Dress for Success Lackawanna, Serena was employed with the Pennsylvania State Department of Corrections. During that time, she held the title of Correctional Employment & Vocational Coordinator at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Widener University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Marywood University. Serena is committed to helping women build self-confidence and achieve their definition of success.
Organizational Development Manager, The Wright Center for Community Health
Tiffany Jackson is responsible for developing and implementing leadership and employee development programs, performance management processes and employee engagement activities. She has more than 19 years of experience as a Marketing & Training Manager and Human Resources Director in state/county government and the private sector. Tiffany also has experience as a Business, Communications & English Adjunct Professor.
She is a longtime SHRM Volunteer Leader, having served on the Maine State SHRM Council as Certification Director, Human Resources Association of Southern Maine as VP of Communications, Tiffany currently serves on the Board of Directors for NEPA SHRM. Tiffany has a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Master of Science in Management. Tiffany is also a Certified Human Resource Professional (SHRM-CP). Tiffany enjoys empowering people and helping create better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together.
President & CEO, Friends of the Poor
Meghan became the first lay President & CEO of Friends of the Poor (FOTP), a nonprofit agency in Scranton sponsored by the Congregation of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 2017. FOTP seeks to ease the burden of living in poverty and enhance the quality of life for all who live in low- to moderate-income communities. Due to the increasing wage-gap, rising cost of living, and ever-steepening benefit cliff, FOTP has expanded rapidly since 2019.
In an effort to keep up with need and guide the agency’s growth in a meaningful and sustainable way, Meghan is committed to the parts of her role related to advocacy. She is particularly interested in addressing the interrelated systems and structures surrounding workforce development that contribute to poverty in the greater Scranton area.
Founder & CEO, Dress For Success Luzerne County
Linda Loop is the Founder & CEO of Dress for Success Luzerne County. She first became involved with Dress for Success in 1998 as one of the 1st volunteers when the organization started in 1997 in NYC where she was enjoying her career in the financial services industry. After returning to her home in Northeastern Pennsylvania, she founded the Luzerne County Affiliate of Dress for Success in 2010 and has delighted in seeing the agency grow into a thriving and vital part of the community.
Linda believes in empowering not only women, but all individuals who seek help in gaining economic independence through career development. Linda serves as the co-chair of the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Development Services Advisory Board. She is the Chair of the Luzerne County Reentry Coalition and the Public Relations Officer for the Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club.
LEAD Case Manager, Outreach
Heather has 15 years of experience in a variety of capacities in Human Services including Program Management, Compliance, HR, Mental and Behavioral Health, and currently, working for Outreach in Case Management for Workforce Development specializing in the re-entry population. Coupled with her years of experience in Human Services she has also earned an MBA.
She has a creative and strategic mindset and believes that her skill set will be advantageous to the Leadership Academy. She looks forward to working closely with everyone for the betterment of the community.
Community Organizer, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Alejandra is a native of Guatemala. Over the span of fifteen years, she has been working in the non-profit sector serving low-income families and working closely with the Latino Community in the greater Scranton area. Some of Alejandra’s recent passions are to work on issues of diversity and inclusion and access to mental health services and higher education. She works at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine as a community organizer, where she links the needs of community organizations to medical student’s interests.
Prior to her current position, Alejandra worked at Lackawanna County Behavioral Health Program, as the adult behavioral health coordinator and at Friendship House in the children’s behavioral health department. She was the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at Catholic Social Services. Alejandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Penn State and is a social work alumna from Marywood University. She lives in Dunmore, PA.
Director of Economic Development, Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce
Shanie has spent three years designing unique, customized projects to create a positive impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Shanie has spearheaded efforts to “move the needle” by addressing specific skills gaps and enhancing the quality of workforce in the area. As a certified Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner (IBM), Shanie’s approach to problem solving has been a tried-and-true method of testing solutions to regional social and economic issues. She places a strong emphasis on social innovation in her work to bring creative solutions to the forefront.
Shanie graduated summa cum laude from the Pennsylvania State University in 2020 with her BS in Business with concentrations in management and marketing. In 2021, she earned her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. She is a 2022 graduate of the Business Leads Fellowship Program through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Executive Director, Catherine McAuley Center
Krista is the E.D. of the Catherine McAuley Center, a nonprofit based in Scranton, PA that serves women and children experiencing homelessness. As Executive Director, Krista leads the Catherine McAuley Center, calling on her previous non-profit management experience at the Lehigh Valley Health Network, the Alzheimer’s Association, Wilkes University and the Arthritis Foundation, her New York University Psychology Degree and passion for empowering women and creating a home in NEPA. Krista oversees the operations of the Center and develops strategy to continue to serve the NEPA community.
Krista currently serves as a board member for the Scranton Housing Authority, the Scranton/Lackawanna County Continuum of Care and the NEPA American Cancer Society Advisory Board. She is proud to call Scranton her home and lives with her husband and two children.
Vice President of Human Resources/Compliance Officer, Allied Services
Judy has been with this post-acute healthcare system for over 32 years and provides executive level leadership and guidance to the organizations HR operations. She counsels department-heads regarding employee relation issues including coaching, discharge, EAP, grievances, unemployment compensation, equal employment, and discrimination, complaints, working conditions, and morale.
She works with her team to creatively develop, implement, and monitor the effectiveness of programs and identify recruitment needs and strategies. She is responsible for setting, enforcing and evaluating policies and best practices and identifying and implementing long-range strategic talent management goals. She researches, develops, and implements competitive compensation, benefits, performance appraisal, and employee incentive programs for a workforce of over 3000 employees. She collaborates with executive leadership to define the organization’s long-term mission and goals; identifies ways to support this mission through talent management.
Assistant Professor, Marywood University
Michelle Lynn Ostroski, EdD, LSW is a dedicated and accomplished professional with a passion for social work, healthcare, and leadership, who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to academic excellence and personal growth. Dr. Ostroski has a strong foundation in social work principles and her education has equipped her with the essential skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Dr. Ostroski currently serves as an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the School of Social Work at Marywood University, where she inspires and mentors the next generation of social workers. Her role as an educator allows her to share expertise and passion for social work, healthcare education, and leadership with aspiring professionals. Dr. Ostroski integrates innovative teaching methods by employing principles of social emotional theory in practice and education, fostering a nurturing and empathic environment and ensuring a holistic and compassionate approach to social work education and practice.
Program Manager, Outreach
The LEAD Center at Outreach is a non-profit organization located in Scranton, PA. Jennifer helps individuals in employment search, creating resumes, mock interviews and distributes a weekly job posting that is shared throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Wyoming and Susquehanna County.
The LEAD Center assists all job seekers and specializes in helping individuals with criminal records, transportation barriers and individuals in recovery. Jennifer Shoemaker has worked at Outreach since 2015 and has been the Program Manager for The LEAD Center since 2019. The LEAD Center at Outreach is driven to move families toward stability and economic self-sufficiency, to help people find gainful work and break the cycle of recidivism and poverty. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Scranton earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
Director of Career Services, Fortis Institute
An educator of over 25 years and certified in English K-12 and Elementary Education, Kirsten began her career in the NJ / NYC metro area teaching students in both suburban and urban school districts including Rockaway, Paterson, and Newark.
Kirsten then transitioned to the role of Director of Grants and Education with WVIA Public Media before assuming her current role as Director of Career Services for 3 Northeastern Pennsylvania campuses of Fortis Institute.
Associate Vice President Academic Affairs, Luzerne County Community College
Susan has worked at the College for over thirty years, first as Director of the New Choices/New Options Program, which assists single parents and homemakers in their return to college, then in progressive roles in Workforce Development and currently in her role in Academic Affairs.
Susan oversees the Continuing Education Department, Adult Literacy, and the Center for Business Solutions, the business and industry outreach arm at Luzerne. Susan is the regional WEDnetPA partner for business and industry incumbent worker training and works as the liaison at Luzerne for the public workforce system.
Executive Director, tecBRIDGE, LLC
tecBRIDGE is a regional economic development organization dedicated to building entrepreneurship, innovation, and the knowledge economy in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Don has over forty years of business management and leadership experience. He began his career on Wall Street before moving to NEPA to lead NatWest Bank’s operations subsidiary of 1,300 staff at Montage Mountain.
Don is a serial entrepreneur. He has started four companies including a consulting firm specializing in technology consulting, project management, and HR services and two software development companies. Don also manages an angel fund for small business investment in northeast Pennsylvania.
Don is a graduate of the University of Chicago where he majored in Economics. He and his wife Laura live in Dalton, Pennsylvania and are the proud parents of two daughters. Ask him about his passions. In addition to family, he has many.
Advocate and Scranton Human Relations Commissioner
Keshia, former healthcare worker, Scranton Human Relations Commissioner, Labor Council Deleagte, Lackawanna Democratic Committeewoman, member political leader with SEIU HCPA. As a community leader, I’ve lobbied with legislators, fought to change Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, been on the strike line with healthcare workers so they can be RESPECTED, PROTECTED AND PAID. Worked on various political campaigns to ensure we get the right people in office to serve our communities.
As an advocate I use my voice to mobilize our communities to advocate for social and economic justice. I strive to vanquish oppression, make our communities better for all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, color, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic national origin. My goal is to bridge the gap of inequality and make sure every person has a seat at the table of EQUITY, INCLUSION AND ACCOUNTABILITY.