On Friday, April 12, the Fels Institute of Government welcomed local public sector leaders to speak with students about their career experiences and impact on Philadelphia policy, programming and development. “Big city local government is where the action is,” says Fels Professor of Practice (and former City of Philadelphia Managing Director) Michael DiBerardinis, who introduced speakers for the Philadelphia Career Day event. “When you look at the pressing problems in America—economic equity, racial equity, gender equity, sustainability—the most ambitious and thoughtful solutions are coming out of big cities.” The invited speakers were mid-career public administrators who have experience with important policy initiatives in Philadelphia.
The morning session focused on roles within city government, with an emphasis on environmental and sustainability initiatives: speakers included Nic Esposito (Zero Waste and Litter Director, City of Philadelphia), Elisa Esposito (Stewardship Manager & FarmPhilly Program Manager, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation), and Christine Knapp (Director of the Office of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia). After a lunch with Michael DiBerardinis and Chris Rupe (MPA ’11), Chief of Staff to Philadelphia’s current Managing Director, the afternoon featured alumni and other public leaders with careers in the economic and community development space: Rick Sauer (Executive Director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations), Kate McGlinchey (Economic Development Manager, Old City District), and Sarajane Blair (Executive Director, Fairmont Community Development Corporation).
Each speaker offered insight not only into their career trajectories and professional projects but into the chief policy issues in their respective fields, followed by a lively round of Q & A with current students.