As the City of Philadelphia’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO), Josie (she/her) provides direction, guidance, advice, and support to the Mayor, as well as City departments, agencies, authorities, boards, and commissions, on improving and strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout City government, including in the provision of services and the conduct of City business. Josie manages the operations of the DEI office and provides oversight and support to the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. As CDEIO, Josie also provides policy guidance and strategic direction to the City’s Office of Economic Opportunity.
Prior to joining the City, Josie worked as a Supervising Attorney and Co-Director of the Energy Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) where she led advocacy to improve energy and water affordability and efforts to ensure equitable access to utility customer assistance programs. Josie represented hundreds of low-income Philadelphia residents in legal disputes to preserve their access to life-essential utility service. She represented individuals and Philadelphia-based community organizations in cases before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Pennsylvania courts. As an attorney, Josie played a leading role in advocacy campaigns to improve Pennsylvania’s energy affordability standards and to establish the City of Philadelphia’s first income-based water affordability program. Other accomplishments include commissioning CLS’s first study on race, COVID-19, and utility insecurity and serving as the first Chair of CLS’s Racial Equity Subcommittee. Josie is a graduate of Temple University, Beasley School of Law, and the University of California, Berkeley. Josie is a Philadelphia native and a proud graduate of Overbrook High School.
As Director of ADA Compliance in The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), Adrienne Ewing has over 25 years of experience in accessible architectural design, ADA policy, and disability awareness training. Under her vision, she worked with residents and businesses in Brooklyn, NY which encouraged the construction of a new accessible community center. She has previous experience with the MTA-NYC Transit Authority, NYC Department of Finance, and HIBU-Yellowbook USA in King of Prussia, PA. She was a freelance architectural writer with MarketScale Magazine and she had several letters to the editor published in Architectural Record Magazine. Ms. Ewing has volunteered with the Philadelphia School District, local nursing homes, and currently serves as an education mentor with NEPRIS and Generation Music. Ms. Ewing holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute.
Amy Nieves (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities which oversees the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, the Office of ADA Compliance and Constituent Services. Together these offices work to make Philadelphia a better place for people with disabilities. As a neurodivergent with deafness, and as a person in addiction recovery, Amy has built her career as a statewide and nationally recognized advocate on the forefront of supporting families as a facilitator, keynote speaker, published author, and community leader. Additionally, Amy is a Governor-appointed Council member of PADDC and PASILC. She completed her undergraduate degree at York College of PA in 2002 and will obtain her Master’s in Human Relations: Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma in December 2022. Amy has long advocated that equity, opportunity, and inclusion are rights for all people. She shared her own recovery story with the City of Philadelphia on the department’s DEI blog post.
Brenna Schmidt (she/her) serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). Brenna’s work with ODEI has been concentrated on helping to implement DEI practices into the framework of City government, particularly within the workforce through the City Resource Group initiative. Brenna graduated from Temple University in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science and is currently pursuing her Master’s in City Planning with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development at the University of Pennsylvania. Brenna’s interests include advocating for underserved communities in cities through design and equity-based policies. In her spare time, Brenna enjoys reading, playing with her cats, and playing board games with friends.
Celena (she/her) is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Originally from North Carolina, during her years working with nonprofits, Celena helped educate communities, businesses, agency boards, colleges, non-profit organizations, and religious establishments. She supported trans- and gender-nonconforming individuals as they developed the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sobriety.
As the Director of Programs at the William Way LGBT Community Center, she was instrumental in opening the Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center. Celena served on the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations from 2018 – 2020 and was honored as one of Philadelphia Pride’s 2019 Grand Marshalls. Philadelphia Magazine named her one of the 76 Most Influential Philadelphians in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, she became the first openly transgender person to ever lead an office in the city.
Cherelle (she/her) joined the Mayor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in July 2022 as the Talent Recruitment and Retention Specialist. In this role, she focuses on strategies aimed to improve and support an equitable workplace culture and diverse hiring practices. The workforce DEI strategy involves ODEI partnering with each department to build inclusive practices throughout the City.
Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Cherelle worked in Employee Experience for the Center for Employment Opportunities, a workforce development, reentry organization that focused on providing immediate employment resources to individuals with criminal convictions. In this role, Cherelle gained experience implementing performance management strategies, analyzing and responding to employee feedback, developing interactive learning tools, and adopting methods to build a learning culture within the organization.
Cherelle holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Télyse Masaoay (she/her) is a social worker, policy researcher, and community organizer. In the City, she leads Philadelphia’s Racial Equity Strategy within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This work includes directing a racial equity action planning process for all City departments, building a Racial Equity Community of Practice for City employees, advancing innovative budget equity initiatives, and policy advising for the Mayor’s Office. Télyse also leads content creation for the office to update Philadelphians on the City’s progress in advancing racial equity.
Prior to joining the City, Télyse worked as a Health Policy Research Analyst at Mathematica. There, she advanced research on Medicaid, contraceptive care, gender & reproductive equity, COVID-19, and early childhood programs as a qualitative researcher, project manager, and team lead. Télyse also brings experience in community engagement, political advocacy, and organizing from her time working with Congresswoman Cori Bush’s District Office, the Sierra Club, and the Sunrise Movement. In all of her work, Télyse has prioritized advancing justice for BIPOC, low-income families, and other frontline communities.
Télyse received her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Sociology from Vanderbilt University. She then received her Master of Social Work with a focus in social policy & economic development from Washington University in St. Louis.
Khalia Jackson (she/her) is the Constituent Services Administrator for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. In this role, Khalia provides housing, legal, employment, and other resources to residents with disabilities. She also sits on the panel of the Office of Administrative Review, advocating on behalf of individuals with mobility limitations and disabilities who filed an appeal with the Philadelphia Parking Authority after being denied residential parking. Prior to working with the City, Khalia spent most of her career as a teacher, educating preschool and kindergarten students before pursuing a career as a paralegal and advocate, providing safety planning resources and legal support for survivors of domestic violence. Khalia received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Education from Chestnut Hill College.