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Valerie V.Gay
Former Founding Executive Director

Valerie V. Gay is a Certified Financial Planner, non-profit administrator, recording and performing artist and thought leader. Val has been a serial entrepreneur since 2006, beginning with Fortress Arts Academy which provides arts and skill building lessons to children and adults, especially those in underserved communities. Other companies and organizations under Val’s leadership include, Syncopate Advisors co-founded with Steve Pappaterra, a firm that works with leaders and organizations to own and share their authentic stories, Spector | Gay Consulting co-founded with Caralyn Spector, a firm which provides targeted support for nonprofit and social venture organizations that seek to solve societal problems, the EVER Ensemble, a collective of women musicians who perform diverse musical genres, from classical to hip hop Soul-Full Affirmations, which combines mindfulness practices with music to create a personalized product to assist clients in reaching their goals, and FuseVox, an apparel line which brings cultures together to create afresh take on traditional
pieces. Val is deputy director and chief experience officer for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. She has previously held senior and executive positions, including executive director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, assistant dean for Institutional Advancement for the College of Education at Temple University and vice president and portfolio manager with PNC Advisors where she managed investment portfolios of high net worth individuals and family trusts. Val serves on the boards of directors of the Barra Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, is a member of the Arts + Business Council’s Advisory Board, the Young Women’s Composer’s Camp, Philadelphia Contemporary and the Mayor of Philadelphia’s Commission for the Arts. She has received a number of community awards and distinctions, including “101 Most Connected Leaders,” and “Philadelphia’s Most Influential African American Leaders”. In 2019, Val received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Joseph’s University, and has earned a Professional Studies Certificate and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of the Arts and completed degree course work at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

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Dr. Amelia Garbisch
Board Chair

Dr. Amelia Garbisch holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a Master of Music in choral conducting from Temple University,
and a Ph.D. in choral music education, also from Temple University where she was mentored by Dr. Rollo Dilworth. Dr. Garbisch is the director of music education and assistant professor of choral music at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.  At Bloomsburg, she conducts the women's choir and teaches music education and conducting courses.  Dr. Garbisch has had the privilege of conducting throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia including engagements in the cities Philadelphia, New York, Boston, London, Oxford, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.  

 

Dr. Garbisch is also an internationally renowned clinician in the areas of Orff Schulwerk and choral pedagogy with engagements throughout North America, China, and Europe. Dr. Garbisch is the Director of Music at Mount Airy Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA, where she directs the adult and children's choirs, and conducts the oratorio series. Prior to her graduate studies, Dr. Garbisch taught music in Middletown Township, NJ, and Warminster, PA.  She earned three levels of Orff Schulwerk training at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota where she was mentored by esteemed pedagogue Arvida Steen.


In addition to conducting and teaching, Dr. Garbisch has performed as a singer and ensemble instrumentalist throughout North America and Europe.  Past engagements include singing at
Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kimmel Center, and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center while working under acclaimed Maestros such as Ricardo Muti, Sir. Colin Davis, and Zdenek Macal.  She has been cast in several major touring productions including singing with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as part of the ensemble for the international touring Christmas show “A Royal Christmas.”  Additionally, Dr.
Garbisch has appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” and PBS’s “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”High profile engagements include singing for PBS’s national broadcast of the 9/11 anniversary memorial, former Mayor Michael Nutter’s (Philadelphia) nationally broadcast memorial for the victims of the Amtrak railway disaster, and for Pope Francis while he was in Philadelphia during
the World Meeting of Families.

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Kelly Finch Mobley
Vice president

Kelly Finch Mobley retired in 2018 as executive vice president and Director of Workforce Readiness for PNC’s Retail Bank.  In that role she is responsible for ensuring that the bank’s customer facing employees have the capacity, capability and resources needed to deliver a differentiated experience to our customers.  

 

Ms. Mobley joined PNC as the regional sales manager responsible for the branches in the greater Philadelphia region. Prior to being named to her current position, she was the director of customer and employee experience for PNC’s Strategic Initiatives Office.  She has also served as market manager, Retail Banking for Philadelphia, Delaware and South Jersey, and was the customer experience manager for PNC’s Retail Bank.

 

Prior to joining PNC, Ms. Mobley was a managing director of Madison Consulting Group, a strategy, technology and business process consulting firm in Jersey City, NJ.  She has also served as senior vice president, QuestPoint Inc, and held various sales and sales management positions in Treasury Management and Corporate Banking for CoreStates Bank, NA.  

 

Mobley is Board Chair of the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale, and serves on the board of Ursinus College, The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) and Fortress Arts Academy. She earned her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and her BS in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Ursinus College. She was named as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business and is a multi-year Gallup Great Workplace Award Winner.

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Jeannel Tillman
Secretary

Jeannel Graham-Tillman is the Social Casework and Training Supervisor for the School District of Philadelphia Office of Early Education PreK Programs.  The mission of School District of Philadelphia “deliver on the civil right of every child in Philadelphia to an excellent public school education and ensure all children graduate from high school ready to succeed, fully engaged as a citizen of our world.”

Jeannel has worked for the School District of Philadelphia for over 20 years serving in the capacity of a Teaching Assistant, Family Service Representative, and current position in the PreK Programs. Having joined Intercultural Family Services an non-profit in 2009, Jeannel worked as a Therapist for four years. Jeannel concurrently worked for the School District of Philadelphia as a Social Service Liaison, where she provided advocacy for students and their families between School District officials and community based agencies.

 

A lifelong Philadelphian and community activist, Jeannel earned a BSW, MSW from Temple University, obtained her LCSW through the state of Pennsylvania Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselors and sits on the Board of Directors of Art Sanctuary, and Fortress Arts Academy.  Jeannel lives in West Philadelphia with her family.

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Larasz A. Moody-Villarose
Treasurer

 

Larasz has extensive experience as a higher education administrator and currently
serves as the Assistant Dean of Students at Purdue University Global Concord School of Law.
She also has extensive experience teaching as an adjunct Business Law professor in
undergraduate business and accounting programs. Previously, Larasz served in senior
leadership positions in academic support and bar programs at Villanova Law School, Widener
Law School and University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. Prior to
working in academia, Larasz was a Captain in the United States Air Force where she served as
an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate (JAG attorney). She has also worked as a Licensed Clinical
social worker in various government and social service agencies in Chicago. Larasz earned her
J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and Master of Art and Bachelor’s degrees
from the University of Chicago. She is currently pursing her doctorate in Education Policy,
Planning and Administration at West Chester University. Larasz is deeply committed to
education and social justice programs that serve underserved communities and serves on the
board of Fortress Arts Academy and as an advisory committee member of Chester County
Futures, a college access program for underserved students in Chester County, PA. Larasz lives
in Downingtown, Pa with her husband, son and fiery dog Lola.

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