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Power Moves: The Economy League promoted J’nelle Lawrence as Nick Frontino moves on

Plus, Philly's Department of Commerce finds a director after a tumultuous exit, and AT&T has a new external affairs rep.

J'nelle Lawrence.

(Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, gig or promotion? Email us: philly@technical.ly.


Philly’s nonprofit, nonpartisan economic policy think tank announced a slew of leadership changes this week.

For one: After about 12 years in his role, Managing Director Nick Frontino has left Economy League of Philadelphia for an opportunity at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

He’ll be taking an engagement manager role with McKinsey after serving as a project manager, then managing director of the Economy League since 2010, the org said.. Frontino wrote in an email to colleagues and friends in March that he had “deeply enjoyed” his experience driving growth and expanding opportunities for folks in Philadelphia and across the region during his tenure.

“The passion and tenacity of Philly’s civic leaders is second-to-none and has left an indelible mark on me both personally and professionally,” he wrote.

Economy League Communications Manager Lara Aiyegbusi told Technical.ly that after a “rapid but thorough search process” to fill Frontino’s role, the org was “thrilled” to promote from within: J’nelle Lawrence, previously program director of the org’s Philadelphia Anchors For Equity and Growth (PAGE), is now deputy executive director of the Economy League. The newly created role replaces the managing director position and adopts most of its responsibilities, Aiyegbusi said, including managing people, programs and partnerships. Jeff Hornstein remains executive director.

Lawrence began her role March 15. The Villanova University grad previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia as a procurement specialist and at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals as the global supplier diversity manager. Lawrence began her work with the Economy League in early 2020.

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Lawrence’s appointment has left her role open, to be filled by current program staffer Kenyatta James. Accordingly, the PAGE supplier diversity community manager role is now open.

The leadership changes also include former Economy League project manager, Mike Shields, who was promoted to research director: “I’m excited to build and guide a new research agenda as well as expand our team in the near future,” Shields wrote on LinkedIn recently.

Department of Commerce picked a new director

In other economic policy news, former Temple University VP Anne Nadol was chosen to be the City’s new commerce director. Nadol, who started the job last week, replaced Michael Rashid, who resigned in December following reports that he allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks and verbally abused department staffers. He had been with the department since late 2020.

The department hasn’t had a steady leader for a few years now. Rashid had taken over from Sylvie Gallier Howard, who was the department’s acting commerce director for about nine months when Harold T. Epps left the role in February 2020.

Nadol will be in charge of the policies that support the City’s small businesses, startups and larger corporations. There will be a continued eye on pandemic-related economic recovery.

“I’m honored and humbled to help champion Philadelphia’s small businesses, which are the backbone of communities across the city,” Nadol said in a statement. “As the city’s economic development driver, the Commerce Department is just one critical piece to the larger business ecosystem, and it will take enhanced and focused collaboration across all sectors as we work to drive an inclusive and equitable recovery.”

It’s not Nadol‘s first government appointment: She served in city government during the administration of Ed Rendell in the 1990s, and worked at the US Commerce Department before joining Temple two decades ago.

AT&T named a new regional director of external affairs

On April 1, AT&T Pennsylvania welcomed LaTara Harris as its new director of external affairs in the region. Harris has been with the company for almost a decade in the Baltimore and DC region, where she’s a native. She will manage external affairs, government affairs at the municipal level, public policy liaison, corporate social responsibility and be the day-to-day contact for the Philly community.

Harris comes to the org after serving as the director of partnerships and outreach for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. She was honored in 2015 as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and a Minority Business Leader in DC in 2017.

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