2017-18 Officers and Director Bios
Wade Albert (President) Wade is a lifelong Philadelphian and a resident of greater Center City for over 10 years. He has been actively involved in CCRA since joining the Board in 2015. Wade practices law with Sobol & Sobol, P.C., a boutique management-side labor and employment firm, where he primarily represents clients in employment discrimination, wage and hour law, and restrictive covenants matters. He is passionate about community service and politics. In addition to CCRA, Wade serves on the Boards of several organizations including the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club and Philly Set Go. He also enjoys handling pro bono cases for individuals who could not otherwise afford to hire legal counsel. Wade lives with his partner, Peter, near Rittenhouse Square.
Matthew Fontana (Executive Vice President) Matthew is a labor and employment attorney at Drinker Biddle and Reath, LLP, a board-member of Children’s Village, an early childhood education provider in Philadelphia, and co-founder of Philly Set Go, a political action committee focused on increasing millennial engagement in state and local politics. He has been a CCRA Board Member since 2015.
Philippa Campbell (Vice President) Pip is the chair of CCRA Historic Preservation Committee. She presently is the CCRA Board secretary and has served as a member of many CCRA committees/task forces focused on development in the neighborhood and other issues. She completed the Planning Commission's Citizen Planner Institute (CPI) and has served as a member of the Advisory Board since 2015. In her professional life, she is a professor at Thomas Jefferson University in the College of Health Professions where she primarily does research and demonstration work designed to establish evidence-supported models for young children with disabilities to receive high quality child care in the community and for children/families who live in poverty to have opportunities for successful participation at home and in school and community environments.
Frances Levi (Vice President) Fran is a retired City of Philadelphia management employee and long-time center city resident. She and her husband, Ned, raised two children in center city and are committed to city living. She has been a CCRA board member numerous times and is currently a member of the Zoning and Education and Family Committees.
Dawn Willis (Vice President) A longtime Center City resident, Dawn lives with her two children in the Rittenhouse area. Dawn works as a Medical Content Editor, and enjoys taking advantage of the arts in Philadelphia.
Matthew Schreck (Treasurer) Matt previously served as chair of CCRA’s Sponsorship Committee, and before that as Director, completing a three-year term. Matt and his wife, Kristen Phillips, moved to Philadelphia in August 2011.They live near Fitler Square and love Center City, in particular its walkability, abundant culture, and the dog-friendliness of the neighborhood. He is an attorney engaged in private practice, and also serves on the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia board.
Heather Montgomery (Secretary) Heather is a Lancaster County transplant, living in Center City since May 2013. She and her husband, Frank, lived in an apartment at 20th and Locust after they married, and they debated whether their family plan would take them to “somewhere along the rail line” or if they should stay in the city. They purchased their version of a “tiny house” in the neighborhood and that is where they are raising their now 1 year old son, Jack. Heather is a consultant, specializing in the Property & Casualty insurance industry and currently working for an international insurance company. Outside of work she enjoys walking the city with Jack, checking out all of the family activities that the city has to offer, and working on projects around the house – especially creative ways to live in 800 square feet. Heather is looking forward to working with CCRA and helping other young families that picked the city as the place for them!
Charles Robin (Assistant Treasurer) Charles has been a Center City Realtor since 1990. He currently owns and manages a third-generation real estate company, Robin Apartments, that has been on the same corner – 20th & Chestnut St. – since 1937. Charles and his wife of 20 years, Miae, have two beautiful children. Charles has been an active member of CCRA since 1992, serving as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. He has also served as the Ninth Police District Advisory Council Representative, as the Co-Chair on the Remapping Taskforce, as well as on numerous committees, including the Finance, Zoning, and House Tour committee.
Lauren O’Donnell (Assistant Secretary) Lauren is a Philadelphia area native who has lived in the Rittenhouse neighborhood for the past five years. She works as a litigation associate at Blank Rome LLP, concentrating her practice on white collar criminal defense and products liability defense. Lauren is excited to be a part of CCRA’s mission to continually improve Center City for residents and visitors alike.
Director Candidates Biographies
Paula Cohen Buonomo (Three-year term) Paula was born and bred in Philadelphia where she raised her family, taught in its school system, and now shares her passion and love for Philadelphia with its current, new and returning residents in her career as a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services-Fox and Roach at The Rittenhouse. A proud Fitler Square resident for 25+ years, in addition to her intimate knowledge of Rittenhouse Square and the city, she directed several local and national volunteer programs, serving as a former Institute for Contemporary Art Advisory Board member and a volunteer for CCRA. Philadelphia is on the cusp of a renaissance. It consistently ranks at the top of surveys as the most desirable city to live, work, and raise a family. Philly’s a big, world class city with a small-town feeling and a great story to tell. Paula is not only proud of her Philadelphia roots but wants to make Center City both “welcome home” and a “welcome home” for everyone.
Donna Cordner (Three-year term) Donna is a Philadelphia enthusiast. She loves her Fitler Square neighborhood and appreciates Philly’s many diverse neighborhoods, walkability, cultural offerings, and friendly neighbors. Donna comes with some serious street cred having lived in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Moscow, Seattle, Santiago, and Brooklyn! Donna is a managing partner of a venture capital firm investing in early stage companies and an active member of Robin Hood Ventures, one of the largest angel Investor groups in the region.
Jane Epstein (Three-year term) Jane has lived in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for the past 30 years, where she and her husband Charles raised their two children. Jane runs a business providing consulting services for fine art collections, including collections management and estate resolution. She has served as a committee person in the 8th Ward, on advisory boards of arts organizations, and on the steering committee of the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden. She looks forward to serving on the CCRA board, and advocating for the interests and needs of the residents who live in our community.
Carole Giampalmi (Three-year term) Carole achieved her 25 year dream of living in Center City Philadelphia four years ago when she and her husband, Joe, moved to the Academy House where she currently serves on the homeowner’s Council/Board of Directors. Her past experience as Vice President, Customer Services, offers a background dedicated to customer satisfaction and problem resolution. Carole hopes to use her customer service/problem resolution skills while serving on the CCRA Board to help improve daily life for residents of Center City.
Lea Oxenhandler (Three-year term) Lea is an Architect and Design Manager at People's Emergency Center CDC in West Philadelphia. As an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Lea works to encourage equitable and sustainable real estate development and historic preservation along the Lancaster Avenue commercial corridor. Lea and her husband have been lucky enough to live in Fitler Square since 2010. As an architect, community member, and fierce advocate for Philadelphia, she looks forward to becoming involved with CCRA's work to enhance the experience of living in Center City.
Adam Roseman (Three-year term) Adam is a Philadelphia-area native and currently lives on 15th and Locust with his wife Dana and their newborn son Asher Leo Roseman. Adam is an associate in the Labor and Employment Group with the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP where he represents employers in a variety of employment related disputes and also provides day-to-day employment counseling. Adam looks forward to working with the other CCRA members to improve the neighborhood that he and his family call home.
Julie Wertheimer (Three-year term) Julie serves as Chief of Staff for Criminal Justice for the City of Philadelphia. A proud Philadelphian, she lives with her husband, and fellow CCRA Director, Ben Waxman, in the Rittenhouse Square area.
Isaac Bracher (Two-year term) Isaac is a resident of Rittenhouse Square, and a project architect with the acclaimed Philadelphia firm, KieranTimberlake. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for the arts and historic preservation in his community. Isaac looks forward to capitalizing on his professional and personal experiences to enhance the CCRA Board of Directors.
Melissa McCleery (Two-year term) Melissa is a fundraiser and political consultant with Rittenhouse Political Partners, where her work focuses on creating and implementing strategic finance and political plans to elect women and minority candidates. She is especially passionate about her work with Represent PAC, an organization working to elect more Democratic women to PA state legislative offices and build a pipeline for women to higher elected office though significant, early campaign contributions. Melissa grew up in the Lehigh Valley and graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with degrees in women’s studies, political science, and Spanish, and spends her free time running, hanging out with her beloved Bichon pup, Jack, and adding to her collection of blue and white striped dresses.
Francesco DiCianni (One-year term) Frank grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and has been living in Rittenhouse Square for the past 5 years. He is a Drexel University Alumnus, graduating in 2012 from the School of Engineering. His office is located on the 1600 block of Pine Street, where he operates a real estate development and construction consulting company.
Brett Goldman (One-year term) Brett Goldman was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia. After living in Tel-Aviv, Israel and Washington, DC, Brett moved back to Philly in 2016 and is currently a resident at the Academy House. Currently, Brett is a lobbyist at Duane Morris Government Strategies and is actively involved in Political and Jewish Communal circles both locally and nationally. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and a nice glass of scotch or bourbon
Rick Gross (One-year term) Rick is a returning Director. Rick and his wife, Roberta, moved to Rittenhouse Square five years ago, and has been enchanted by the neighborhood and the city ever since he had been a real-estate and transaction attorney in Washington, DC. Rick is Senior Manager of his company, BW Realty Advisors LLC, which finances large public/private projects throughout the country. In addition, Rick won a Tony in 2013 for co-producing the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway; both he and Roberta are active with local theater and arts organizations in their new hometown. They have adult twin sons, and Max, a beautiful English Springer Spaniel who has become a well-known member of the Rittenhouse dog community.
Barbara Halpern (One-year term) Barbara is a returning Director. Barbara is currently an English as a Second Language tutor for the Center for Literacy. Previously, she practiced law in Center City. In 2012, she and her husband, Carl, moved to Filter Square from Abington, PA. Barbara has been a V.P. for CCRA and has also acted as the Liaison to the Schuylkill River Community Garden Steering Committee, as well as the University of Penn’s Office of Government and Community Relations. As Membership/Sponsorship Chair, she generated new types of business memberships, created a Restaurant “Dine with Us” program and increased membership as a whole. She currently co-chairs the Celebration for Center City Living.
Nathaniel Parks (One-year term) Nathaniel is an entrepreneur who, throughout his career, has focused on utilizing technology to help progressive candidates and organizations. He lives on Rodman Street with his wife Sallie, their daughter Celia and dog Wrigley.