Molly Baird Ashodian joined the Center in late 2021 and serves as a Financial SELF Empowerment Coach for the Building Wealth and Health Network. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Molly has spent the last decade working for non profits, city government, and most recently, a healthcare workers' union, advocating for and supporting the working poor in accessing services and living financially empowered lives. She completed a BA at the University of Vermont in 2010. She has previously led trainings on effective communication, collective bargaining and political advocacy. In her spare time, Molly enjoys cooking, experimenting with new vegetarian recipes and going on walks in the Wissahickon with her dog, Baxter.
Emily Brown Weida
Emily Brown Weida, MSW
, is a Research Associate for the Building Wealth and Health
Network. She is currently a DrPH student in Health Management
and Policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her
research interests are on the effects of trauma and the social
determinants of health.
Prior to her doctoral program, Emily was the research coordinator
for an NIH-funded study looking at the relationships between
trauma, PTSD and alcohol use in veterans. She received her
master's degree in clinical social work from Virginia
Commonwealth University and her bachelor's degree in
Psychology from the College of William and Mary.
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, is a nationally recognized leader addressing child hunger
in America. She is a Professor at Drexel University School of
Public Health, Co-Principal Investigator of
Children's HealthWatch and the Director of the
Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University
Dornsife School of Public Health. Dr. Chilton received her PhD
from the University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health in
Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma, and Bachelor of Arts
degree from Harvard University. She has testified before the U.S.
Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of
child nutrition and other anti-poverty policies.
She has served as an advisor to Sesame Street and to the
Institute of Medicine. Her awards include the Nourish
Award from Manna, the Unsung Hero Award for Improving the
Lives of Women and Girls from Women's Way and the
Young Professional Award in Maternal and Child Health from the
American Public Health Association.
Victoria Egan, MPH, is the Deputy Director for the Center. Victoria will lead
our Center through its next phase as we embark on integrating
economic security activities into the TANF program and continue to
lead the way with Drexel in addressing childhood hunger through
research, advocacy and community engagement. Since 2010,
Victoria Egan provided operational, administrative, logistical and
financial management for all of the activities and programs of the
Center for Hunger-Free Communities.
Before joining the Center in 2009, Victoria was the Special
Projects Coordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes Health System's
Center for Public Health in Camden, New Jersey, where she managed
undergraduate and graduate public health internship programs and
health disparities research. Previously, Victoria served as
a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. During her service,
Victoria served as Ship's Navigator and Acting Operations
Officer for the USS COWPENS (CG 63) stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and as Administrative Officer, Legal Officer and Electrical
Officer on the USS DULUTH (LPD 6) stationed in San Diego,
Victoria is a graduate of Harvard College with a baccalaureate
degree in biological anthropology. She holds her Masters in
Public Health from Drexel University.
Alie Huxta, MSS, is the Associate Director, Partnerships and Strategic Planning,
for the Center's Building Wealth and Health Network.
Starting at The Network in the coach role, she is now excited to
lead the Network team as a Co-Director and also continue coaching.
As a coach she provides a trauma-informed anti-oppressive approach
to the Network's Financial SELF Empowerment sessions. She
previously facilitated experiential learning and political
consciousness with youth at the Freire Charter High School and
later coordinated and built youth programming with the University
Community Collaborative at Temple. In this time, she was
trained to lead Transformational Social Therapy groups, a model
that urges people across identities to share personal violences,
hopes, and fears in order to reach collective intelligence and
solutions. This work led her to pursue a clinical social work
degree at Bryn Mawr's Graduate School for Social Work and
Social Research where she studied the psychological effects of
oppression as a counseling intern at Women Organized Against Rape.
Alie also loves to backpack on the Appalachian Trail, cook with
friends, and make songs.
Keith Lee, CLU, ChFC, serves as a Financial Empowerment Coach for the Building Wealth and Health Network and is a financial expert with two decades in the financial services industry. Over the years he has developed curriculum and taught courses in personal and spiritual personal growth and development and has taught pre-licensing courses in the insurance industry. He is a graduate of The American College of Financial Services in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
is the Operations Manager for the Center's Building Wealth and
Health Network. In his role, Mike acts as a conduit between
Network members and staff, various community organizations or
partners and the Philadelphia county assistance offices. He spent
six years working in the healthcare industry after which he
transitioned into the non-profit sector, working as the
Business Marketing and Community Relations Developer for the
African People's Education & Defense Fund for two years.
Michael has a deep and unapologetic passion for combating social,
racial and gender disparities and is particularly interested in
the intersection between segregation and long term health
outcomes. He has made it his life mission to advocate for
oppressed groups and those who feel voiceless. Mike graduated from
Temple University with his B.A. in Geography and Urban Studies,
concentrating on Community Development. During his spare time Mike
plays on a dodge ball league, volunteers with various
organizations such as BlackStar Film Festival and Philly Urban
Creators and loves to dance.
Sherita Mouzon is member of Witnesses to Hunger who currently lives in
As a founding member of Witnesses to Hunger, Sherita is a seasoned
advocate whose activism explores issues of mental health,
addiction, youth development, healthcare, poverty, and housing in
Philadelphia. As a member of Witnesses, Sherita was a leader in
the movement to introduce the Sanctuary Model as the
program's foundation of practice, and her commitment to
bettering trauma-informed care extends into her professional
career working in human services at the Salvation Army, St. Christopher's and as a Certified Recovery Specialist. Her
writing and activism has been featured in TalkPoverty, DrexelNow and elsewhere.
Brittany Nelson serves as a Financial Empowerment Coach for the Building Wealth and Health Network. She is a former Network member from cohort 36 and the first Network member to be hired by the Center. She looks forward to many other Network members joining her on the team in the future.
Brittany has been a licensed life and health insurance agent for two years and has helped many families and children become financially secure for their future. She teaches the importance of proper financial planning for now and the future. She is a mother of three and credit repair is her specialty. She enjoys using her voice and experience to help others, in hopes that as many people as possible can overcome the obstacles preventing them from reaching their goals.
Natalie Shaak, MS, joined the Center in 2019 and serves as Operations Manager. In her
role, Natalie supports the Center's programs through
communication and business operations. She
oversees the Center's website and social media, supports
central office administration, and assists the executive and deputy directors in strategic planning, grant writing, and Center
Natalie holds bachelor's degrees in English from
Millersville University and culinary arts and science from Drexel University as well as master's degrees in educational psychology/counseling from West Chester University and publication management from Drexel University. Natalie has worked in the restaurant industry and previously held professional staff roles in
communication with Drexel Student Life and the LeBow College of
Business and served fraternity and sorority communities at
Drexel, West Chester, and Washington State Universities. She also serves as chair of the Staff Coordinating Committee for Dornsife School of Public Health and is a member of the Dornsife School Council. In her
free time, Natalie enjoys gardening, volunteering with the Philadelphia
Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), collecting cookbooks, and reading.
Natalie is passionate about historic preservation, restaurant worker rights, mental health, and food waste reduction.
Jenay Smith, MSS, LMSW, is the Life Skills Development Trainer for the Building Wealth
and Health Network. Jenay is a graduate of Bryn Mawr's
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) with a
concentration in Community, Practice, Policy and Advocacy.
At the Network Jenay is part of a training team developing
onboarding material and training Network staff. In the classroom
she is a SELF coach facilitating lessons and conducting one on one
support with members after class. Jenay supports with grant
research and implementation for the Network.
During her time at Bryn Mawr, Jenay served as the president of
Macro Social Work Student Network, was the student representative
on the strategic planning committee and was selected by the Dean
to serve as a Graduate Assistant for a national Special Commission
to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work. Jenay was also asked to
participate in a panel for the Policy Practice Summit, hosted by
the National Association for Social Workers, about social work
education and its attention or inattention to policy. Upon
graduation Jenay received the 2017 McPherson Award for excellence
and service to the GSSWSR community.
Raheem Stevenson, joined the Center in 2021 and serves as a Financial Empowerment Coach for the Building Wealth and Health Network. In this role, he facilitates financial SELF empowerment sessions and offers one-on-one coaching for members looking to build financial security and meet their goals. A native of Philadelphia, Raheem has over 12 years of extensive financial sales and management experience in numerous positions including financial planner, senior financial specialist, financial sales leader, district manager, and private banker. In 2009, he began the second phase of his professional career and opened his own business. Raheem is an alumnus of Virginia State University and a former varsity athlete who received athletic and academic honors from his alma mater. Raheem is truly involved in his community, serving as an ordained deacon and ministry leader at the Four Corner Crusade for Life Community Church and President of Peoples Unified Resource Center, an organization focused on the advancement and education of the African American community. Raheem volunteers with Big Brother and Big Sisters of Philadelphia and serves as a varsity football coach. He is a proud member of the Urban Financial Services Coalition and a dedicated father of three.
Kevin Thomas Jr.
Kevin Thomas Jr., MPP, works with the Building Wealth and Health Network as the
Associate Director of Operations and Asset Building. His primary
role is to manage the day-to-day Network activities and staff, as
well as develop the program and its capacity. Kevin is responsible
for facilitating Financial SELF Empowerment sessions for the
Networks members, but he also works with the Network team to
develop new coaches and expand its footprint. Prior to joining the
Center, Kevin was a highly decorated banker, working with industry
giants PNC Financial Services and Commerce Bankcorp. He was also a
recognized community advocate in the North and West Philadelphia
sections of city. Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in
Business Administration from St. Joseph's University and
attained his Masters in Public Policy at Drexel.