Hunger Symposium 2013 – Agenda & Panels



RegisterMedia & PressParking & Directions2011 & 2012 Hunger Symposiums



8:30pm – 9:00am: Welcome – Bill Clark

9:00am – 9:35amFeatured Speaker – Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq.

9:45am – 10:05am: Exercise for Guests

10:10am – 11:10am: Panel 1: From Their Perspective – Hands on Hunger

  • Anne Healy Ayella, Assistant Director for Non-Government Programs & Community Relations, Nutritional Development Services
  • Kelly Courts, Director of Direct Service, Philabundance
  • Suzan Neiger Gould, Executive Director, Manna on Main Street
  • Nancy Kohn, Director of Nutrition Education Programs, School District of Philadelphia

Moderated by NBC10 News Philadelphia Anchor/ConsumerWatch Reporter, Tracy Davidson


11:25am – 12:25pm: Panel 2: From Their Perspective – Addressing the Issue

  • Maggie Biscarr, National Program Manager, AARP
  • Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President of Policy, Feeding America
  • Eva Gladstein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity, City of Philadelphia
  • Hans Kersten, M.D., Attending Physician and Medical Director of Grow Clinic, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Moderated by KYW Newsradio 1060 Community Affairs reporter, Cherri Gregg

12:30pm – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 1:20pm: TAKE ACTION: From Your Perspective

  • Carra Cote-Ackah, Director, Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, The Center for High Impact Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania


Featured Speaker

Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq.


Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. is an tax attorney in Philadelphia with her own firm, The Law Office of Nikki Johnson-Huston LLC and spent 6 ½ years as an Assistant City Solicitor in the Major Tax Unit for the City of Philadelphia Law Department. A 2004 graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, she earned a J.D./M.B.A/ LL.M in Taxation in four years.  Nikki is a frequent speaker on how she overcame a life of poverty and homelessness to become an award winning young attorney. She is the former Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee, a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors, and former Co-Chair of the Women in the Profession Public Service Task Force of the Philadelphia Bar Association.  Nikki used that position to start a mentoring program for high-school students interested in pursuing a career in law, conducted numerous panels about issues related to educational opportunities and the law and even co-moderated a fireside chat with Bill Cosby in November 2008.  In addition she has won several awards including the Craig M. Perry Community Service Award given by the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, been named a 2009 “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by the Legal Intelligencer, one of the “10 People under 40 to Watch in 2010” by The Philadelphia Tribune, a 2010 Philadelphia Business Journal Woman of Distinction, 2011 Next Generation of Leadership: Rising Star, 2nd Annual Fashioning Futures for Women Honoree by the Career Wardrobe, one of the 2012 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 by The National Bar Association and a 2012 USA Eisenhower Fellow, where she traveled  to India and New Zealand in September 2012 to work with women and children who were living in poverty.  Nikki was recently appointed the Diversity Chair to the Philadelphia Bar Association and named a 2013 Pennsylvania Diverse Attorney of the Year by the Legal Intelligencer.

Panel 1 – Hands on Hunger

Hear from the perspectives of those who are in the trenches, fighting hunger day-to-day through efforts like direct services, or are people who have experienced hunger themselves.

Anne Healy Ayella

Anne Healy Ayella has served as the Assistant Director for Community Relations with the Archdiocesan office of Nutritional Development Services (NDS) for the past 34 years. NDS’ mission is to serve children and the hungry with nutritious food and to connect people with food and food-related resources. She received her B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Health Education. Anne serves as the Chair of the Board of Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and is on the board of the Aid for Friends meal program.

Kelly Courts

Kelly Courts joined Philabundance in October 2007 as the manager of the Fresh For All program, which launched in December of that year. Since then, she has created and expanded the Direct Service department to include additional programming, including the Community Food Center and Kids Bites. Prior to Philabundance, Kelly served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and then Outreach Director for Habitat of Humanity of Bucks County, PA, where she created programming to engage the community in the organization’s mission. Her path in the non-profit/service sector originated with an assignment in the Peace Corps where she served as a math and science teacher and all-around community developer.

Suzan Neiger Gould

Suzan Neiger Gould brings to Manna on Main Street seventeen years of nonprofit management experience. She began as Manna’s Executive Director in October 2012. Using her extensive experience in organizational management and strategic planning, she is coordinating board, staff and constituent collaboration in program design and delivery, and in an upcoming strategic planning process. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Penn State University and a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University. In May 2013, Suzan was named to a two year term as President and CEO Council of the North Penn Commons, a collaborative project between Manna on Main Street, the North Penn YMCA, The PEAK Center and Advanced Living Communities.

Nancy Kohn

Nancy is the Director of Nutrition Education Programs, EAT. RIGHT. NOW., at the School District of Philadelphia. She holds her Master’s degree in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University where she focused in nutrition and sustainable food systems. She decided to take her excitement for her career to her hometown of Philadelphia with the understanding of schools being an integral part of community revitalization. Nancy learned the benefits of empowering communities through nutrition and food justice while teaching youth in Harlem, New York and coordinating a Community Supported Agriculture group in Northern Manhattan.  She is devoted to promoting nutrition education within a just and sustainable food system to inspire Philadelphia communities to be healthy and empowered through knowledge and choice.

Panel 2 – Addressing the Issue

Hear from the perspectives of those who are investigating causes, suggesting policy changes and generating public awareness about hunger. These panelists will be asked to respond to the hands-on stories from Panel 1.

Maggie Biscarr

Maggie Biscarr is a Program Manager with AARP Foundation’s Hunger Impact Area, where her primary responsibility is to guide the Foundation’s Hunger grant making strategy. Maggie has been with AARP since 2005, and has over 15 years of experience serving low-income and vulnerable populations of all ages. Before coming to AARP, Maggie worked as the Assistant Director for the National Center on Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children at Generations United, and has prior direct service experience in both mental health and child welfare.

Maggie holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mercer University.

Lisa Davis

As Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Feeding America, Lisa Davis oversees Feeding America’s government relations and advocacy work. This includes representing Feeding America by developing and implementing strategies for advancing policy priorities with Congress and the Administration, engaging a national network of more than 200 food banks, and maintaining their online network of anti-hunger advocates.

After earning her B.A. in English Literature and French from Concordia College and her J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University, Lisa began her work at AARP where she led member education strategies on major issues including social security and health care reform. Lisa also directed AARP’s Divided We Fall campaign, the leading issue advocacy campaign of the 2008 Presidential election cycle, served as Associate Director of Policy Integration and advised AARP’s National Policy Council and Board Directors on policy issues. Prior to this Lisa spent 7 years at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare as the Senior Policy Analyst, served on the National Committee’s PAC Advisory Board, lobbied congress and the administration, developed political and election strategies and worked on Capitol Hill for Representative Pat Williams.

Eva Gladstein

Eva Gladstein serves as Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia, a recently formed agency whose mission is to align the City’s efforts to lift individuals and communities out of poverty and increase opportunities for low income individuals and families. She previously served as Deputy Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and recently completed a three-year assignment as Executive Director of the 31-member Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, successfully reforming and modernizing Philadelphia’s 50-year-old zoning code. Gladstein also served as the Director of Neighborhood Transformation for Mayor John F. Street, coordinating a multifaceted strategy designed to renew and strengthen entire communities. Prior to being appointed to this position, Gladstein served as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Empowerment Zone under Mayors Streets and Rendell for close to seven years. Gladstein began her career in the mid-1970s, co-founding and directing several non-profit organizations. She lives in Philadelphia and has been active on the Boards of a variety of civic associations.

Hans Kersten

Hans Kersten, M.D. graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and completed his residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he now is an attending and hospitalist physician in addition to being Medical Director of their multidisciplinary Grow Clinic. He also works as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine.

He led recent efforts for St. Christopher’s to become “hunger-free” by implementing a variety of programs. This includes screening for food insecurity throughout the hospital, providing resources for families, organizing food drives, starting a Farm to Families fresh food distribution program at the hospital, establishing the Philly Food Cart in the lobby and creating a program enabling providers to write prescriptions for fresh produce for families of patients called FreshRx.

Take Action

Carra Cote-Ackah

Since 2011, Carra Cote-Ackah has served as the Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s Director of Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she generates and maintains key relationships to deepen the Center’s reach, while also leading programmatic analysis on U.S. domestic issues. Previously, she was a program officer at the Robertson Foundation in New York, where she partnered with multiple grantees within the education and youth development, environment, and religion/spirituality portfolios. Ms. Cote-Ackah has also worked at the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia and served on the Andrus Family Fund Board from 2002-2008, the last two years of which she was the board chairperson. She has also worked with several nonprofits and the Children’s Bureau (DHHS) on issues facing vulnerable children and families. Currently, she serves on the board of The Surdna Foundation.

She received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, her M.A. in liberal studies (specialization in public policy and racial inequality) from Duke University, and her B.S., summa cum laude, in psychology and child development from Vanderbilt University. She and her husband live in Center City Philadelphia with their three children.

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