Power Moves: Philly finds a permanent commerce director and PSL loses staffer to Startup Grind

Longtime healthcare exec Michael A. Rashid will become the next Department of Commerce head, and Jaclyn Allen is leaving Philly Startup Leaders. Plus: more D&I corporate hiring, Deborah Diamond moves on and Spark Therapeutics names a new exec.

Michael A. Rashid and Jaclyn Allen are making moves. (Courtesy photo/Photo via LinkedIn; image via Canva)

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

At a time when the City of Philadelphia faces hundreds of millions of dollars of a budget gap while rushing to offer local businesses funding relief amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a transition in its top biz-supporting entity is set to take place: Mayor Jim Kenney announced last week that Michael A. Rashid will become the Department of Commerce’s next director, succeeding Sylvie Gallier Howard, who has held the role of acting commerce director since March.

He’s currently president of Michael A. Rashid Associates and brings experience as CEO of both AmeriHealth Caritas and Total Health Care in Baltimore to his role. He also served on the Obama administration’s National Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities from 2013 to 2015.

“Michael Rashid brings an unmatched combination of entrepreneurial passion, long-standing relationships, and a business savvy that will be crucial for Philadelphia as we confront the extraordinarily challenging economic climate facing our city,” Kenney said in a statement.

Gallier Howard became acting director in February when Harold T. Epps left the role and plans to leave the City after a transition period “to return to consulting on economic development policy, organizational strategy, and leadership development,” per a press release. Rashid will take over the position starting Nov. 30.

“I am excited to get to work on implementing fair, equitable and inclusive business development efforts that will help spread economic vitality and opportunity to all of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods,” Rashid said in a statement. “While the City’s Department of Commerce leads this important work, I also recognize the power of collaboration. It will take an enhanced focus on partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to bring about the kind of recovery our city — and its residents — deserve.”


Jaclyn Allen, head of programs and operations at Philly Startup Leaders, will be leaving her position next month to take a role running global entrepreneurship org Startup Grind’s partner success and startup engagement work. Like former PSL Director Kiera Smalls, who also left her position this year, Allen will be joining her new role remotely in Philly.

In addition to her executive role, Allen will be running the org’s Philly chapter, which hosts monthly speaker series events. The transition to this role was “the natural next step for me,” Allen said, as she’ll leave after three and a half years with PSL.

This new role is similar to her current role in that it’s “all under the same mission of connecting entrepreneurs with the resources needed to succeed,” but on a global scale, she told

Allen is staying on at PSL until the current cohort of its accelerator wraps up on Dec. 8, and said she’ll help the board of directors in its search for an executive director, so the org isn’t left without senior leadership. The board is hoping to make their appointment by the end of the year, and Allen said she plans to help with the transition and onboarding, too.

Like the rest of Startup Grind’s executive team, Allen will work remotely with the Philly chapter and on global events, like the upcoming Startup Grind Global Conference in February.

“I’m excited to bring the Philly startup community together on regular basis, and this role will be more about bridging the gap on local ecosystems and what’s happening all over the world,” Allen said.


Deborah Diamond announced in an email Thursday that she’d be leaving her role as president of Campus Philly at the end of January, saying she feels “that it’s time for change for me and for the organization.”

Deborah Diamond. (Photo via LinkedIn)

She wrote that she came to Campus Philly with goals of connecting with the region’s college population and to increase the number of students who stay after graduation. After achieving these goals in her 10-year tenure, she said, she’s ready to move on. Ashlie Thornbury, Campus Philly’s VP of partnerships, will assume the role of interim president while the org searches for a permanent replacement, Diamond said. That transition will take place on her last day, of Jan. 29.

Starting in February, Diamond will become affiliated with consulting and advising firm u3 Advisors as director of Campus and City Consulting, she wrote.

“The past 10 years have been the most professionally happy ones of my life and it’s because of partners and colleagues like you,” she said. “I have been a part of an incredible community in Philadelphia and I thank you for your partnership and friendship.”

In May, Diamond wrote an op-ed calling for Mayor Jim Kenney to reconsider proposed budget cuts to departments like the Department of Commerce, the Office of the City Representative and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, saying it would “provide no front door to anyone from outside Philadelphia looking in,” affecting Campus Philly’s mission of recruiting and keeping young talent to the city.

“The economic case for these offices is paramount now. But as a third-generation Philadelphian who has also lived in other large U.S. cities and abroad, these offices represent something more significant,” she wrote then. “They represent the difference between a provincial, inward-looking, narrow city and a cosmopolitan, world-renowned, outward-looking city.”


Michael O’Bryan, director of learning at The Village of Arts and Humanities, recently rebranded his firm HD2 Solutions to Humanature. The design strategy firm is focused on educating corporate and other clients on diversity, equity and inclusion practices for the workplace. O’Bryan, a future of work advocate, is also a member of the newly formed Future Works Alliance, and joins its 14-member board of directors.

O’Bryan and cofounder Robert Peagler are hiring two part-time employees, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week, and clients include the Mural Arts Philadelphia, Temple University Hospital, Triple Bottom Brewing and the Philadelphia Youth Network.

“Folks are dealing with trauma and chronic stress” during the pandemic, O’Bryan told the paper. “COVID just surfaced problems that were already there, and employers want to know how to address that. They don’t want to be mean employers.”

Michael O’Bryan. (Photo via LinkedIn)


Comcast Spectacor, the live sports, entertainment and gaming arm of the broadcast corp, announced this week that it had appointed Andrea Agnew in a newly created role of VP of diversity, equity and inclusion. She will join the company’s senior leadership team to implement Comcast Spectacor’s D&I strategy across its portfolio, including the Philadelphia Flyers Business and Hockey Operations teams, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia Wings and the organization’s Gaming division that includes the Philadelphia Fusion.

Her role will build on current initiatives in training, recruiting, career development, community engagement, procurement, corporate culture and mentorship. She’ll also work with Comcast to align with the company’s overall commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Agnew brings more than 20 years of human resources management experience to the role and has worked for Comcast since 2006, and continues to serve as the executive director of change management for the Comcast Total Rewards Innovation and Products Team.

“I am thrilled to join one of the premier sports and entertainment companies in the world and to work hand in hand with their teams to create sustainable and impactful change,” Agnew said in a statement. “I’m inspired by Comcast Spectacor’s commitment to making its workplace and communities more dynamic and inclusive, and am committed to activating this purposeful vision. I look forward to building upon their DE&I strategy and programs to build a better future.”


University City’s Spark Therapeutics announced this week that it had appointed Michael Retterath as chief strategy officer. The addition comes at a pivotal time, CEO Jeffery Marrazzo said, as the company further leverages resources from its 2019 merger with Roche.

“After another year of incredible growth in our hometown of Philadelphia, we are poised to scale and accelerate our gene therapy research like never before as we create the path to the next generation of gene therapies,” Marrazzo said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have Michael at the helm of our long-term strategy as we approach nearly one year since close of the merger with Roche and aim to further leverage the global resources of Roche to accelerate our vision of a world where no life is limited by genetic disease.”

Retterath joins Spark from Bain & Company, where he served as a partner in the healthcare practice for a decade. He focused on corporate and business unit strategies, organizational transformations, product launches, growth strategies and new market entries across multiple therapeutic areas, like rare disease, the central nervous system and ophthalmology across a wide range of modalities.

Companies: Spark Therapeutics / Campus Philly / City of Philadelphia / Philly Startup Leaders
Series: Power Moves

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