Our Team and Leadership
Christine Simiriglia, MS
Chris Simiriglia launched Pathways in Philadelphia in 2008. Under her leadership, the agency has rapidly expanded services to meet the growing and changing needs of our neighbors with disabilities experiencing homelessness.
Chris most recently worked at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA (now Mental Health Partnerships), holding various positions including Vice President. She has worked with various service systems and has had several papers and tool kits published related to her work with homelessness. She also consults on managing non-profits. Chris prides herself on Pathways’ continued ability to move the needle forward for people, even in the most trying times.
Doug Hacker, CPA
As the Chief Financial Officer for Pathways to Housing PA, Doug plans to utilize his non-profit financial expertise along with his passion for mission-driven services to develop strong professional relationships that will enable him to be the best resource he can be for Pathways. He has nearly thirty years of experience in the non-profit arena along with ten years of experience as a CPA in public accounting and for profit hospital settings. He has been married to his wife Gerri, for nearly thirty years and they have twin 25-year olds, Marissa and Matthew. He enjoys collecting sports cards and memorabilia along with playing golf. Growing up in New York, Doug had three career paths in mind: Professional Accounting, Professional Golf, and Stand-Up Comedy!
Valerie Johnson, MBA, CFRE
Valerie Johnson joined Pathways to Housing PA as Director of Institutional Advancement in 2018, and was promoted to VP of Advancement and Special Projects in 2021. Prior to that, she was the Director of Advancement for Council for Relationships. She also worked as a fundraiser for Valley Youth House and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Valerie, a Certified Fundraising Executive, holds a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and an MBA from Drexel University. A member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2012, she serves on their Board of Directors as Vice President of Education and Professional Development. Valerie has been a featured speaker for the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, NTEN, AFP GPC, and AFP Brandywine, and contributes to Generocity.
Oksana Kazharova, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
Oksana Kazharova joined Pathways to Housing PA in 2015 as an Assistant Team Leader. Oksana’s leadership skills were recognized shortly after her arrival and she was subsequently promoted to Team Leader; Senior Team Leader; Assistant Clinical Director; and Clinical Director. Oksana is passionate about supporting her staff and helping them to exceed their own expectations regarding professional growth.
Prior to her arrival at Pathways, she developed excellent clinical skills as a Therapist at John F. Kennedy Behavioral Health Center. She received renowned acclaim with her diligent work with persons under the supervision of the United States Federal Probation Department. Oksana is a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Social Work and a 2008 graduate of The Rutgers School of Social Work.
Sharon Johnson, MBA, SHRM-SCP
Sharon Johnson, MBA, SHRM-SCP joins the Executive Team of Pathways to Housing PA serving as the Director of Human Resources. Sharon bring with her over 15 years of experience leading the HR initiatives for a large human service nonprofit organization, first serving as the HR Director, than as CHRO, where she was the main figure in building the HR infrastructure. She is a solid human resources executive, innovative in all facets of HR, she relies on best practices and works to incorporate them into the culture of the work environment.
For over 15 years, Sharon also served as an advocate for housing services for vulnerable populations considering all forms of disorders and related conditions, serving as an Advisory Board Member RHD’S Endow-A-Home Program. Sharon’s motto is that we all have a social responsibility to assist those in their community and beyond.
Sharon Johnson has earned a B.B.A in Accounting from Temple University’s Fox School of Business: an M.B.A in Human Resources Management from Walden University and in 2006, became a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources.
John Lambert, MA
John Lambert has served as the Director of Housing for Pathways since 2008. John received his B.A. in Sociology from Ramapo State College; and his M.A. degree from Rutgers University. He came to Pathways to Housing PA with a diverse employment background which includes working as a teacher and a certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
In 2000, John moved to the South Jersey/Delaware Valley area and joined the staff of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA (MHASP). He received training and certification as a Targeted Case Manager, and later became the Program Manager for a low income housing project for people with mental health issues.
Tom Maroon, MBA
Tom Maroon spent over 12 years coordinating and directing educational community service initiatives. Using leadership development models, Tom lead groups working in community kitchens, homeless shelters, construction projects for homes and schools, tutoring elementary students and organizing summer camps.
After earning a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Tom worked in Guatemala and Mexico building homes and schools with Habitat for Humanity and Los Ninos. Tom was also a Loan Counselor helping low and moderate income families with financial literacy, credit repair and mortgage acquisition. Prior to working at Pathways to Housing PA and the Philadelphia Furniture Bank, Tom was a 7th grade English teacher at DePaul Catholic Elementary school.
Andrew Spiers, LSW
Andrew Spiers joined the clinical leadership team of Pathways to Housing PA in February 2018, and now serves as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Housing First University. He received his Master of Social Service from the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College, where he concentrated in Community Practice, Policy, & Advocacy. Prior to his work at Pathways, Andrew served as the Lead Therapist at Resources for Human Development’s Morris Home program— a residential substance use treatment program for members of the transgender community.
Over the past decade, Andrew has worked and volunteered with organizations such as Prevention Point Philadelphia, The Institute for Community Justice at Philadelphia FIGHT, GALAEI, The Bridge Way School, the Public Education & Outreach subcommittee of the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic, and the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club. He has taught human services and sociology courses at Harcum College, and presented at conferences nationwide on harm reduction, Housing First, and behavioral health best practices for LGBTQ+ communities.
Andrew is passionate about helping organizations and communities to create and sustain meaningful change through individualized training, tailored TA support, and collaborative problem-solving.
Board of Directors
Kristen Alwine is the Sr. Director of Financial Operations at MidAtlantic Retina, a leading retina practice in the world. Kristen has spent the last 30 years in healthcare in a financial capacity helping businesses strengthen their net income while keeping a consumer-focused approach. As Chief Financial Officer, she oversaw human resources, IT, and the maintenance department. Along with managing the property management company. Behavior health is a passion of mine and believing everyone needs a chance. We all have a journey, and no person is the same. If you believe in people, they will start to believe in themselves. Changing your belief can change a perspective and change the path you are on. Kristen also has a coaching company Dream, Believe, Success, Inc., to help people see their full potential and breakthrough the boxes they have put themselves in and hold them back.
Kristen graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Accounting. Currently, she is pursuing her master's in Cyber Accounting at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Kristen and her husband reside in Telford Pa and their one daughter is currently attending West Chester University majoring in Psychology.
Diamond Bertil is a Senior Manager in PwC’s Risk and Regulatory team. With over 10 years of audit and consulting experience and extensive knowledge of compliance, operational, and control frameworks, she helps her clients solve complex issues and drive key priorities within their risk management, internal audit, and corporate governance programs. Her range of clients has included private and public companies across the pharmaceutical, retail and consumer, media, industrial products, and technology industries.
Diamond is passionate about helping others and giving back to her community. She previously served on the board of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. - Philadelphia chapter and has been involved with multiple mentoring programs and initiatives to teach financial literacy.
Diamond holds a dual B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Pennsylvania.
Brandyn Campbell (she/her) is the Founder and President of Brandyn Campbell Communications, a boutique consulting firm that helps organizations articulate and build their commitment to racial justice. She draws on over 15 years of experience providing training and strategy on multiculturalism and cultural competence. Brandyn has successfully worked with clients around the world to provide solutions to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their communications and culture
Rosemary Conroy Hughes
Rosemary Conroy Hughes is an IT Project Manager whose specialization in technology solutions for health and human services agencies is mission-driven, and personal. Rosemary's experience in program development and evaluation for a wide range of social service agencies in Philadelphia led to her current career in "behind the scenes activism," helping nonprofit organizations to implement state of the art technology, and business process improvements. Rosemary has been involved with Pathways to Housing PA as an advisor and supporter for four years. She and her husband, Paul, have five grown children and one remarkable granddaughter, Cordelia.
Elisa Foster currently serves at the Associate Director of Penn Women’s Center at the University of Pennsylvania where she advocates for gender equity among all areas of the campus community. Prior to joining Penn in 2017, Elisa served as the Manager of the Women's Leadership & Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University. Elisa’s background also includes grant writing and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations throughout the Philadelphia region as a consultant for Fairmount Ventures and a fundraiser for the Women's Business Development Center and Urban League of Philadelphia. She also served as a marketing coordinator and market researcher for The Melior Group where much of her work focused on helping colleges and nonprofit organizations meet the needs of their constituencies.
Elisa has continued to use her nonprofit background through community service. She has previously served as an Executive Service Corps Volunteer at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management and a board member of Ursuline Support Services in Pittsburgh. She holds a BA and MA in Communication from Villanova University.
Kas Garnes, MBA is the Vice President of Operations, Patient and Specialty Services (PSS) at Novartis. Prior to that, she worked at Jefferson, Virtua, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia leading several areas within physician and hospital operations. Community involvement has always been at the center of Kas’s being. She was an active board member of St. Mary’s Respite (an organization that supported families affected by AIDS/HIV). She is an active volunteer with My Sister’s Place (a rehab housing facility for mothers with substance use issues). Kas is also the committee chair for the Mentor Program with the Philadelphia chapter of HFMA (healthcare financial management association).
Kas received a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Drexel University. She continues at Drexel as an adjunct professor in the Health Administration Department.
For years his Linkedin headline read "World’s Most Handsome Social Media & Content Marketing Strategist." But today he prefers to go by another title: Superhero. Jeff Gibbard is the Founder of The Superhero Institute, a training, and development company that shows people how to be super and human at work and in life. Using a combination of his proprietary Superhuman Framework and the Superhero Code of Ethics, Jeff reveals the inner workings and simple strategies that unlock the heroic potential of leadership, communication, strategy, and enduring growth.
Jeff took a hard pivot in 2019 after more than a decade of work in the Social Media industry and is now on a mission to help rehumanize the online world, inspire the next wave of extraordinary leaders, and give every human being access to the tools and training they need to be more strategic, thoughtful, and effective. Jeff's career has brought him face-to-face with companies large and small, engaged and disengaged, ethical and, eh, *not so much*. From these experiences, Jeff has developed an insightful and strategic mind that is always balancing the interests of business with the more important interests of people and the greater good.
He is a graduate of Temple University and earned his MBA from Drexel University. He's an expert strategist, dynamic keynote speaker, and the host of the popular podcast Shareable and forthcoming podcast Rogue.
Megan Gibson (she/her) is a career educator and entrepreneur. This is her 20th year as a public school Health and Physical Education teacher. While her students call her “Ms. G,” one of Megan’s first entrepreneurial pursuits earned her the nickname “Peanut Butter Lady.” As the creator of PB & Jams PHL, Megan brought artisanal nut butters and innovative food creations to the Philadelphia area via a food truck, line of retail products, and philanthropic initiatives. In 2016, PB & Jams PHL was selected as a “culinary entrepreneur with innovative ideas” by the global brand Triscuit and was featured in a year-long television and print media campaign. While PB & Jams PHL is no longer in operation, it remains an instrumental part of Megan’s education in community-centered entrepreneurship.
A licensed realtor, Megan has turned her passion for real estate into a successful second career. Tapping into both her business and education background, she has helped clients throughout the region to realize their dreams of home ownership. She maintains a special focus on supporting members of marginalized communities as they navigate the home buying process. Megan was born and raised in Philadelphia, and is a proud graduate of The Philadelphia High School for Girls (GHS #240). A lifelong athlete, she attended the University of Rhode Island on a full basketball scholarship. Megan earned her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University. In addition to her professional pursuits, she enjoys a full life with her partner of five years, her close and loving family, and her church community as a leadership council member at Tabernacle United Church in West Philadelphia.
Ms. Griffin is a dynamic, high-performing health care executive leader nationally recognized as a subject-matter expert for patient access, physician engagement, and population health. As a contact center visionary, she has a track record of helping Cleveland Clinic, Houston Methodist and Vanderbilt University Medical Center dramatically improve the patient and physician experience. With an ever-vigilant patient-centered care approach, her approach and style are optimistic and collaborative. She has a reputation for formulating strategies to achieve improvement in service delivery and creating valued collaborations and coalitions among diverse stakeholders. Ms. Griffin also has a lifetime commitment to the community and actively engages to do the personal and systemic work of forging a pathway to individual empowerment and stability.
Jessi Ray Koch
Jessi Ray Koch has a personal and professional dedication to building a more equitable and beautiful world through innovative community planning and engagement. She recently returned to her hometown of Philadelphia where she works as a private consultant. Jessi served as a State and Local Policy Senior Specialist for Grounded Solutions Network, and prior to that was a Senior Planner with the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office where she focused on affordable housing policy and development in support of a more affordable Austin for all residents. Jessi attended the University of Texas in Austin where she received her MS in Community and Regional Planning and MS in Urban Design.
Laura W. McClammer, Esq. serves as legal counsel for AmeriHealth Caritas, a mission-driven organization focused on offering comprehensive, outcomes-driven access to care to those who need it most through integrated managed care products, as well as pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, among other offerings. She joined the company in 2014. In her role, she assists the business in navigating the complex regulatory healthcare landscape, primarily focused on advising on the day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives occurring in Medicaid managed care. Laura is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Throughout her education and career, Laura has been passionate about addressing social inequality through access to healthcare, which is why the mission of Pathways to Housing PA resonates so deeply with her. Laura currently lives in the Fairmount area of Philadelphia with her husband and daughter and loves to explore the variety that Philadelphia offers.
Anthony is thrilled to serve and be a part of Pathways to Housing PA, aiming to extend his experience to Pathways' executive management team and to be a part of the solution to helping Philadelphians reclaim their lives. Anthony is a professional with almost 20 years of financial and operations management experience. He is a proven leader in financial operations focusing on providing organizations with current industry best practices and out-of-the box critical thinking. He prides himself on his ability to move the needle while preserving the integrity of organizations. He also believes in creating strong teams and work environments that are conducive to innovation.
Anthony has held various executive management positions from Chief Financial Officer to Vice President of Finance in most sectors such as non-profit, academia, government and private. He has managed budgets from $62 billion to $20 million. He has dedicated his career to causes that he believes in and feels are worthy of advancement. Anthony graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Finance from the State University at Albany.
In his spare time, Anthony maintains a financial blog where he shares his insights on the financial markets and current issues facing the markets. He is a student of American history, the latest economic theories, leadership stories and philosophy. Lastly, he aims to live his life by the sage words of Miguel Pinero contained in the poem “Seekin’ the Cause”.
Damon Reaves is the Interim Senior Curator of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has a background in visual arts and theater and in 2008 was awarded the Locks post graduate Fellowship. He was previously the Director of Community Engagement at the Isabella Stewart Garder Museum and has also worked as a teaching artist for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. He received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008.
Ira Neil Richards is a partner in the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. He is Chair of the Firm’s Class Action Practice Group and the Firm’s Political Action Committee. In addition, he is a certified yoga instructor.
Ira practices nationally representing clients in complex litigation matters. He has decades of experience in litigating complex, multiparty class actions for businesses and government agencies on both the plaintiffs' and defendants' sides. His class action experience spans a variety of substantive areas, including antitrust, securities, and consumer matters. He also represents clients in matters involving issues of corporate governance disputes, partnership and shareholder disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and securities sales and valuations. In addition, Ira represents government agencies in matters under state and federal law. As an appellate advocate, Ira has argued cutting edge issues in federal and state appellate courts.
Brian Rodin currently works as a market research lead at Vanguard where he supports brand and product marketing efforts with investor and advisor insights to help lead data-driven decisions. Prior to Vanguard, his experience has been on the full-service market research consulting side – working at Deloitte and a boutique Philadelphia-based firm, The Melior Group.
Outside of his professional experience, he has served on various boards and committees in a marketing expertise capacity, including a prior Pathways board membership most recently as the Board Secretary.
Brian also contributes to his community by leading the LGBQIA+ employee resource group at his former employer Deloitte and now at Vanguard which includes the creation of various volunteer initiatives, non-profit partnerships, and employee engagements.
Brian holds a BA in Psychology and Economics from Syracuse and is pursuing his executive MBA from Drexel University.
George Sabo, IV is a senior manager with the accounting firm RSM US LLP (RSM) and has 20 years of public and private accounting experience. He has worked with a wide array of industries including real estate, manufacturing, government contracting, education, gaming, and entertainment, franchisee/franchisor, food services, financial services, health care, and employee benefits plans. George's real estate background includes commerical, and multi-family properties, hotels, and shopping malls. George also has extensive experience with Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit transactions. Before joining RSM, George held positions in a publicly traded battery manufacturing company, and a local accounting firm, in which he had extensive experience in auditing, consulting, internal controls, taxation, outsourced accounting services, and financial forecasting.
George serves diverse clients from closely held (family owned) companies to nationally, and internationally traded public companies. George has prided himself on being able to assist companies with applying best practices in operating their businesses resulting from a wide array of value-added recommendations in internal controls, streamlining processes, better utilization through the use of technology, and recommendations related to utilization of resources.
George has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Drexel University and is a Certificated Public Accountant (CPA).
Mark Salzer, Ph.D. is a psychologist and Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Public Health at Temple University. He is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, a rehabilitation research and training center funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research since 2003. It is an internationally recognized scholar on community inclusion of people with significant mental illnesses. Dr. Salzer was an original board member of Pathways to Housing PA and returns to the board for a second time in 2020 to support this great mission and organization.
Luis Soto is a Bilingual Forensic Certified Peer Specialist, Certified Recovery Specialist, Recovery Coach, and PPLA Advanced graduate. He is well educated on recovery principles and leadership principles through the Philadelphia Peer Leadership Academy and the Leadership Development Program Tier 1. He is also a person in Long Term Recovery, for over 10 years, 6 months and, + days.
Luis comes to the Behavioral Health community through Pro-Act where he was the bilingual lead volunteer. Responsibilities included facilitating recovery support groups, peer mentoring, recovery coach, and Chairman/Founder of the Inspiring the Latinos Committee. Luis is also the Co-Founder of the Latinos in Recovery Support Group at Pro-Act.
Luis is a Certified Peer Specialist for the Community Wellness Engagement Unit which is under the City of Philadelphia/DBHIDS. Luis works with a unit that has greater access to services for individuals, families, and the community at large. Luis also is a student, studying to get his degree in Human Services/Behavioral Health next year.
Michelle Tepper is the Director of Strategic Relationships at Exude, Inc. She joined the Exude team in 2009 with a strong focus on market development and corporate strategy. Michelle ran Exude’s TrustScripts Discount Prescription card program, yielding $3.5 million in savings to date. In her current role, Michelle partners with CEO’s and CFO’s to strategically design and implement an effective Organizational Health structure. Additionally, after years of helping female leaders on an individual basis, especially those in the non-profit marketplace, Michelle established an educational Women Series for Exude clients and other female community leaders. These programs help individuals develop their leadership and professional skills, as well as their ability to develop these skills in their employees, clients, and communities. Along with being on the Board of Pathways to Housing Pa, she is also on the JEVS Foundation Board.
Pamela A. Vasquez is a Certified Recovery Specialist with over 35 years of experience working with the public. Pam started her career in the business sector. Nineteen years were spent in the banking field, several years with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and then 10 years in retail.
After the untimely death of her daughter from an overdose, Pam knew that she needed to make a difference in the lives of others who were suffering from Substance Use Disorder. Her desire became to save another mother's child. She engaged in shifting careers. Pam began working at a recovery house, moved to work as a Treatment Tech at an in-patient drug and alcohol facility then took the schooling necessary to obtain her Certified Recovery Specialist credential.
Pam is now working with the Recovery Overdose Survivor Engagement Program (R.O.S.E). This is a program were CRS's engage with overdose survivors in Emergency Rooms in an attempt to get them into treatment. This program is under the umbrella of the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.
James Whitaker currently serves as the Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) Safety Division Deputy Director. He is responsible for planning, developing, and implementing a comprehensive and diverse Safety and Occupational Health program encompassing the MCBQ geographic area of responsibility. Acts as the assistant principal authority and advisor to the Commander and Chief of Staff, MCBQ pertaining to the development of policy and procedures relating to SOH.
Prior to that, James served 20 years in the United States Navy under the Naval Construction Force as a Navy Seabee. Aside from serving our country, James has been a pillar in the City of Philadelphia through his recurring donations to Philabundance, Donors Choose, and Pathways to Housing.
James has a certification in Safety Management from the American Society of Safety Professionals. Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt, USMC.
Dr. Jennifer Wood
Dr. Jennifer Wood is a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University. Her research examines policing and public health issues, with a focus on alternative frontline responses to mental health crises. Through her work, she has explored the intersections between issues of housing stability, mental illness, and substance use disorders, and the ways in which multiple forms of disadvantage lead to repeat encounters with police. Her work is devoted to better understanding how multiple systems can or could coordinate to be responsive to people’s social and medical needs and avoid criminal legal system interventions. Jennifer grew up in northern Ontario, Canada, and completed her education in Ottawa and Toronto.