Sessoms is the founder of the organization “She Can Win” that trains young women to run for office and was recently awarded a large grant by the Eileen Fisher Foundation. Sessoms can recruit women from her law firm board room and suddenly hold a community gathering to speak to the block captains about their civic responsibilities and running for office.
Category: Mission Leader of the Year
Mission Leader of the Year doesn’t just “do their 9-5”; they geek out over Philly and are over-the-top dedicated to making this city a better place, whether it’s through their job, their volunteerism or a project they are passionate about.
Cheetham is passionate about making data open, accessible, and free to the public, as evidenced by projects like OpenDataVote and Summer of Maps. As founder and CEO of Azavea, he has led the charge for using mapping technology to answer complex social questions around urban planning, economic development, public transit, safety, energy and more.
Hauger, an engineer and a current math and science teacher, started the after school Hybrid X Team in West Philadelphia High school a little over a decade ago. He challenges the students in math, science and engineering by mentoring them to creating hybrid vehicles. They have won multiple national competitions, and have even outperformed universities and corporations.
Through their leadership with the Bryson Institute—the education and training department of the Attic Youth Center—Washington helps create opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within safe and supportive communities. In addition to pushing for LGBTQ acceptance broadly, they lead customized training seminars for youth, social services providers, professionals, parents and more.
Simran Sidhu has recently completed a nearly 15-year tenure as executive director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, a diploma-based program that provides young people who have dropped out of high school with an opportunity to reconnect with their education and to serve their communities in a meaningful way. A 2009 graduate of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, Simran was named to a “40 Under 40″ by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2009 and has served on the Professional Advisory Committee for United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, the Meredith Elementary School Council, and the Board of The Reinvestment Fund. Sidhu is working on a new mission organization.
Chris Lehmann is the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy , a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia, PA. The Science Leadership Academy is an inquiry-driven, project-based, 1:1 laptop school that is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement nationally and internationally. The school was recognized by Ladies Home Journal as one of the Ten Most Amazing Schools in the US, has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School from 2009 through 2013 and has been written about in many publications. This year, Lehmann oversaw the expansion of the new SLA Middle School in West Philadelphia. He’s Assistant Superintendent of the Innovation Network for the School District and co-chair of EduCon.
Named Executive Director of the Philadelphia office of the GreenLight Fund in January after an aborted State Senate campaign, Omar Woodard has a decade of experience working in venture philanthropy, management consulting and foreign and U.S. government relations. A native of North Philadelphia, he has made deep poverty his focus. Widely recognized for his expertise in nonprofit board governance, Omar serves as an advisor and director to the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, the Girard College Foundation, the Maternity Care Coalition, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and many others.