President: Patti Tahan
Vice President: Julie Szymaszek
Secretary: Rebecca Wanner
Treasurer (Acting): Colleen McDonough
Executive At-Large: Colleen McDonough
At-Large: Chris DiBiase, Christian Matozzo, Barbara Shontz, Joshua Schulman, Rachael Small, Joshua Spindler
Patti Tahan: President
Patti has lived in South Philadelphia since 1989. She loves South Philadelphia and believes that the old and the new can exist and thrive by working together. There is much to love when you live so close to historic Philadelphia, many great museums, performing arts venues, parks, restaurants, shops, quirky neighborhoods, public transportation and a diverse population. A graduate of Temple University, she taught in Philadelphia since 1997 and retired in 2019 and works part-time for the Free Library of Philadelphia. She is pursuing a Masters degree from UPenn in Liberal Arts with a focus on Urban Studies. She became a member of LoMo in its first year and has been involved with the beautification committee and cleanups but most often in maintaining neighborhood gardens. Patti has been on the board since 2016, serving as treasurer prior to her current position as president.
Julie Szymaszek: Vice President
I bring over 10 years of experience as a higher education professional, including leading diverse teams to construct impactful programming and education from the beginning ideas stage through the creation of self-sufficient infrastructure. Successful programs require continuously developing new skills to evolve with the needs of projects throughout their lifespans, and I’d apply the same principles to serving the LoMo community.
I would bring the following skills to the board: budget development and financial planning, program and project management, grant writing (including foundation and federal grants), public speaking and creating engaging presentations for audiences of all backgrounds and age ranges, and developing/maintaining business partnerships with community and professional organizations. Previously, when I was in graduate school, I served as the co-chair of our graduate student association, and worked with other members to put on events and services benefiting over 800 graduate students in the biological sciences. I believe strong communities are created when everyone feels empowered to participate, and one of the ways good leaders do that is through reflexive communication and transparency. I first developed these skills as a university biology instructor by getting my students to feel enthusiastic about their work and find a way to make it their own, and continue to employ this practice in my daily life.
Though a recent transplant to the Lower Moyamensing community, I am proud to call this incredibly diverse piece of Philadelphia my home, and I welcome the opportunity to serve and improve the community by joining the LoMo Board. Julie joined the board in 2020.
Rebecca Wanner: Secretary
Rebecca Wanner grew up in the Beloit, Wisconsin, attended Smith College, and moved to Philadelphia in 2000. Since 2006, she has lived with her partner in his childhood home on Wolf Street, which is now also home to their son and two cats. Rebecca earned a Masters Degree in Education from UPenn and worked as a literacy specialist in schools and on the administrative side in nonprofits. She brings this experience to LoMo and the Friends of Mifflin Square, hoping to foster community to advocate for equity and support our neighborhood schools and families. Rebecca has served on the board since 2017.
Colleen McDonough: Acting Treasurer, Executive-at-Large
Colleen originally came to Philadelphia in 1998 when she started working at the Art Institute of Philadelphia; however, she only lived here during the week, returning to Annapolis on weekends. She moved permanently to South Philadelphia in June 2006.
By August 2006 she was searching to find in which civic association her house was located; only to discover that there was none. She started the process by placing a shout out on PhillyBlog for others interested in forming what would later become Lower Moyamensing Civic Association (LoMo). The first meeting, in September 2006, was held at what used to be Gavonnes on 10th and Wolf. Colleen and seven ambitious people who responded to her post took the first steps in the lengthy and challenging process of getting the original application together.
It is now going on ten years that Colleen has been involved with LoMo and she has served as a board member since the beginning. Many theories of organizational development hold that it is best for established leaders to limit their tenures and nurture others take leadership roles. She agrees with this and so has gone from Treasurer to Executive-at-Large. Colleen also believes that it is vital that there be long standing board members to function as the memory of the organization and to advise newer members on initiatives. It is particularly important to assure that, when an initiative is proposed, the board can discuss whether it has been attempted before, what was learned from that attempt and if and how another attempt should be made.
Chris DiBiase: At-large Board Member
Chris has lived in LoMo for the past eight years. Although he tried living in NYC twice and South Florida once, he always returned to Philadelphia. Chris is a graphic designer by trade, but turned to selling real estate full time because of his love for South Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. He believes that LoMo is one of the most thriving and valuable neighborhoods in South Philly and plans to remain a resident and advocate for a long time. Chris has been a board member since 2018.
Christian Matozzo: At-large Board Member
Christian is a lifelong South Philadelphian. He currently serves as Special Assistant in the Office of Councilwoman Cindy Bass. Christian also serves on the Pastoral Council of Epiphany of Our Lord Parish. Christian is passionate about quality-of-life issues, and seeks to blend civic engagement with a deeper personalism that highlights the dignity of every human person. Christian has been a board member since 2018.
Barbara Shontz: At-large Board Member
Barbara has lived in South Philly all her life. She raised her three children in South Philly. She worked for UPS for 20 years. She moved to Lower Moyamensing in 1996 with her children and two grandchildren. Barbara is an active member of the environmental committee, gardening, and manages LoMo’s recycling bin distribution. Barb has been a board member since 2018.
Joshua Schulman: At-large Board Member
I have lived here since buying my house in May of 2008. I care deeply about this community and want to make sure that it is well looked after. I come from an entertainment design background and have managed projects with budgets in the millions. I am interested in making sure the city government is listening to us, the residents. I pick up the litter on my block about once a week with my son. I would like to see more neighborhood beautifying projects such as tree planters and additional trash cans throughout LoMo. I am also very concerned about the drug epidemic that is currently sweeping through our community. I feel that there are business members in our community that could be better partners. Joshua joined the board in 2020.
Rachael Small: At-large Board Member
Aside from a year or two, I have always lived in the area. I moved within LOMO’s borders in the past four years, but lived at 4th and Wolf since I was a toddler. I am also a young, educated home owner. I understand and experience a wide variety of the issues in our neighborhood.
I hope to help connect our neighbors with services that are available to them and organize those that are not. A few ideas I’ve had are neighborhood clothing swaps, food drives, collective construction material dumps, or even block parties to draw membership.
I hope to help make LOMO as diverse as the neighborhood we live in. I think we can try to bridge that gap by translating some of our social media and promotional materials.
In the past I have taught ESL, trained folks on voter literacy, done community organizing while working for animal control and managed social media for non-profit organizations. I have also had experience in fundraising. My husband is a fireman, which also provides me with a unique perspective on civic minded issues. Rachael joined the board in 2020.
Joshua Spindler: At-large Board Member
Josh is Philadelphia born and raised. He has lived around the city in different neighborhoods from the Northeast, West/University City, and South. He ultimately fell in love with South Philadelphia and made it his permanent residence when he and his wife purchased their home. He works at a privately owned manufacturing company in a quality laboratory where he reads, interprets and authors laboratory reports. Joshua is active on the Environmental Committee and has been a board member since 2018.