Startups

Power Moves: Jen Devor returns to Campus Philly as VP of partnerships

Plus, leadership moves at IBX, the Office of Sustainability, Citizen Diplomacy International and the Pennovation Center.

Jen Devor.

(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.


After a three-year break from Campus Philly, Jen Devor has returned to the nonprofit as its VP of partnerships.

Devor had a long tenure at the college student engagement organization, but in 2019 left to pursue her dream of running for city commissioner, the role that oversees elections in Philadelphia. She lost, but it led her to explore a series of career moves. That included starting her own consulting business, and running a year-long contract with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia on a project that was ultimately shuttered in the pandemic.

She stayed on to work on the org’s marketing and communications team for a few months, helping to produce the web series “The Pivot.” But eventually, she said, she had to make the decision — like a lot of working parents — to leave the workforce and conduct virtual schooling with her daughter.

“I don’t regret that decision for a minute — my daughter needed me and I feel so privileged and fortunate that I was able to be there for her,” she told Technical.ly. “It was also the same time I cofounded Better Civics, a nonpartisan nonprofit that creates educational resources to better explain how government works and to encourage individuals to be more civically engaged.”

The org was a platform for city commissioner “brought to life,” she said, and it got her through a pandemic and an important election. Within the past year, she’s continued her consulting business, worked with partners like Witty Gritty, Resolve Philly and some orgs outside of the region.

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This summer, Devor returned to Campus Philly in a role that supports partnerships and the launch of a consulting arm to help other cities engage and retain their college talent. She said the pandemic has changed some of how the org operates, including producing everything virtually and making in-person events and gatherings “intentional and engaging.” It also went fully remote this past spring.

“So much of Campus Philly’s work is about partnerships — exposing students to all Philly has to offer, introducing employers to emerging talent, working with the city to better serve their young residents, and putting quality opportunities in front of young professionals,” Devor said. “I look forward to getting reacquainted with old partners and meeting new ones to connect them with the region’s outstanding college students and recent grads.”

IBX promotes an executive

Independence Health Group, the parent company to Independence Blue Cross, announced that Michael Vennera had been promoted to EVP and chief strategy, corporate development and information officer at the end of June. Vennera has been with the company for 25 years across roles in across informatics, information systems and operations, and was most recently its SVP and chief information officer.

Vennera has also spearheaded Independence’s organizational focus on innovation, including driving the company’s culture and capabilities program and leading the company’s role as a founding partner of the B. PHL Innovation Festival. (now to be led by Amplify Philly).

“The last two-plus decades with Independence have been integral to my professional and personal growth, which speaks volumes of the company’s talented, forward-thinking leaders and our dedicated team of associates,” Vennera said in a statement. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to further advance my career at a company that is so deeply committed to its associates and the communities it serves.”

Philly’s sustainability director is leaving her post

The City of Philadelphia’s director of the Office of Sustainability, Christine Knapp, will leave her position at the end of August, the Mayor’s Office said last week. Knapp has served as director since January 2016 and has led Philly gov’s sustainability and climate action work. She previously served as the deputy chief of staff for the Philadelphia Water Department.

During her tenure, Knapp led the creation and implementation of Greenworks, the City’s comprehensive sustainability framework, and the City’s first climate action playbook. Under her leadership, the Office of Sustainability has taken on roles in addressing climate impacts like heat and flooding, environmental justice, waste reduction, municipal energy management and food justice.

“Christine has been an extraordinary leader in the City’s fight against climate change. Under her direction, Philadelphia has taken on a variety of new policies and programs aimed at creating a healthy, livable city now and in the future,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “I am thankful for her persistence and passion in pushing this critical work forward.”

The mayor appointed Saleem Chapman to serve as the next director of the Office of Sustainability. Chapman has served as the deputy director over the last three years and in 2021 was also appointed as the City’s first chief resilience officer.

Citizen Diplomacy International is losing its leader

After seven years with the organization, Citizen Diplomacy International announced that President and CEO Siobhan Lyons will be leaving her post. The nonprofit aims to engage the Philadelphia region in international affairs and build a global network for the region’s institutions and people.

Lyons joined Citizen Diplomacy International in 2016, overseeing the org’s first leadership transition in nearly 30 years. She’s built a “robust” diplomacy organization and grew Philadelphia’s international profile as a welcoming city and destination for international business and visitors, the org said in an announcement.

The CEO has been in Philadelphia since 2006, and has focused on immigrants and immigration in her work since.

“Siobhan is a connector and a champion for the City of Philadelphia,” said Peter Gonzales, president and CEO of The Welcoming Center, in a statement. “She exemplifies how immigrants use their international experience to elevate our City. She has a vision for what Philadelphia can be on a global scale and has worked to make that a reality in every role she’s occupied.”

Pennovation Center adds two

The Pennovation Center in Grays Ferry welcomed two team members this month in Edward Bell and Cierra Hughes-Hicks.

Bell joins as the center’s bio labs facility manager, bringing nearly 15 years of virology, cell culture, infectious disease research, and laboratory management experience at University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University and Battelle Memorial Institute. He’s also worked in stem cell manufacturing and reprogramming at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

Hughes-Hicks joins the org as its member engagement and communications manager. She graduated from Drexel University with a degree in health sciences and has experience in residence life, marketing and health communications.

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