Board of Directors Biographies
Peter "Tad" LeVan, Board President
Founder, LeVan Law Group LLC
Tad Levan is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer who founded LeVan Law Group to change the paradigm for provision of high-quality legal services by offering flat-fee and other alternative financial arrangement in high-stakes commercial litigation matters. A former federal law clerk, Tad has a well-established record of success in a wide variety of legal practices. He focuses on complex commercial litigation, ERISA litigation, and other trial and pretrial matters.
A two-time winner of the Equal Justice Award and the recipient of The Philadelphia Bar Foundation's 2016 Pro Bono Award, Tad has a long history of groundbreaking pro bono and public interest engagements. Most recently, Tad spearheaded a team of talented attorneys who successfully obtained a unanimous ruling from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, sitting en banc, that declared the lifetime employment ban contained in The Older Adults Protective Services Act to be facially unconstitutional and enjoined the Commonwealth from further enforcement of the law against any Pennsylvania citizen. See Peake v. Commonwealth, 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 585 (Dec. 30, 2015).
Tad teaches courses at The University of Penn Law School and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on trial and pretrial practice. In addition, he has published articles or been quoted in NPR's All Things Considered, Bloomberg BNA, The ABA Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Bar Journal and The Legal Intelligencer, among others.
When not representing clients, Tad can be found advocating for the arts, singing with Choral Arts of Southern New Jersey, or performing at The Broadway Theatre in Pitman, New Jersey.
Blake Espy, Board Secretary
Blake has enjoyed a diverse career as an active recitalist and performer with several orchestras and chamber ensembles. He often performs with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Philly Pops, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Blake has been a violinist in La Catrina Quartet, in residence at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. As a member of the quartet, he has performed in more than 35 states in the US and Mexico. The quartet recorded with Cuerteto Latinoamericano on the Dorian Label, which subsequently won a Latin Grammy for best classical album 2012.
In 2007, Blake was invited to become a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL, a professional studies orchestra whose alumni have gone on to join the ranks of professional orchestras all of the US and the world. In this program, he was given the opportunity to act as a rotating concert master, chamber musician, and educator to young musicians in the Miami area.
Joseph Conyers, Executive Director
Assistant Principal Bass, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010. He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where he served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM).
Described by the Grand Rapids Press as “a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique,” Conyers has performed with numerous orchestras as soloist including the Alabama, Flagstaff, & Richmond Symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Sphinx Symphony having won second prize at the 2004 Sphinx Competition in Detroit, MI. In 2008, John B Hedges wrote Conyers a bass concerto, “Prayers of Rain and Wind,” commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony.
As a chamber musician, Conyers is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Other chamber music festivals and collaborations have included the Ilumina Festival (Brazil), Savannah Music Festival (GA), Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (VA), Kingston Chamber Music Festival (RI), Lexington Chamber Music Festival (KY), and the Festival Internacional de Música de Esmeraldas (Ecuador) with artists that include James Ehnes, Daniel Hope, and members of the Emerson String Quartet.
Conyers, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, received his bachelors degree studying with both Harold Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and double bass soloist, Edgar Meyer. Other mentors have included David Warshauer, principal bassist of the former Savannah Symphony, Daniel Swaim, and Albert Laszlo.
Conyers is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is a 2019 Sphinx Organization Medal of Excellence recipient, an honor accompanied by a substantial career grant and ceremonies at the Kennedy Center and the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2018, Conyers received the C. Hartman Kuhn award, the highest honor bestowed a musician of The Philadelphia Orchestra and selected by its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In 2015, he was the recipient of the inaugural Young Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Curtis Institute of Music. In 2007 Conyers was named one of “30 Leaders 30 and Under” by Ebony Magazine. In 1999, Conyers was one of the first guests on a pilot show taping of NPR’s “From the Top” with host Christopher O’Riley.
Conyers is committed to education and community engagement through music. He has served as adjunct faculty at Calvin College (MI), Clark Atlanta University (GA) and is currently at Temple University (PA). Conyers has taught at numerous summer music festivals including the Philadelphia International Music Festival, Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy, and the National Repertory Orchestra. In addition, he has given masterclasses and lectures across the country including The Colburn School, The Curtis Institute of Music, The New England Conservatory, Yale University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, and the Peabody Conservatory.
For much of 2010, Conyers was featured in a television commercial as a part of a Mutual of Omaha advertisement campaign. Conyers’ “aha moment” was about his inspiration founding the nonprofit Project 440 (project440.org). Through its nationally recognized curricula, Project 440 uses music as tool to engage, educate, and inspire young musicians – providing them with career and life skills to become tomorrow’s civic-minded, entrepreneurial leaders. Partners have included Carnegie Hall, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Curtis Institute of Music, the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and The Settlement Music School (PA).
In 2015, Conyers was appointed music director of Philadelphia’s famed All City Orchestra, an ensemble showcasing the top orchestral talent of students in the school district of Philadelphia. Project 440’s programs are accessible by all high school music in the School District of Philadelphia free of charge.
Conyers currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Atlanta Music Project in Atlanta, GA and has served on both the board of directors for ASTA (American String Teachers Association) and the Board of Overseers for the Curtis Institute of Music.
Conyers performs on the "Zimmerman/Gladstone" 1802 Vincenzo Panormo Double Bass which he has affectionately named “Norma.”
Christopher Bryan, Board Treasurer
Financial Advisor, PIM Portfolio Manager, Wells Fargo Advisors
Chris serves as a financial advocate by building a team designed around individual, corporate and institutional clientele, identifying opportunities of need and optimizing value. He holds himself accountable to providing experiential, impartial advice and top-tiered service. His 20 plus years of experience has enabled him to deepen his knowledge and understanding in asset, liability, tax, risk and cash management.
In addition to advocating, connecting and educating high net worth individuals, Chris also focuses his practice on employee benefit plans which include qualified retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans and executive compensation, with emphasis on defined benefit, defined contribution and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Chris was recently named as a finalist for the 2015 Philadelphia SmartCEO Money Manager Award. Prior to joining Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, Chris worked for Morgan Stanley (formerly Smith Barney), Berkadia (formerly GMAC Commercial Mortgage), Comcast and PHH Mortgage (formerly Cendant).
Chris makes use of his personal time mentoring and engaging young professionals, advocating financial literacy and working with underserved youth in Philadelphia.
Counsel, Kang, Haggerty and Febroyt, LLC
Counsel, Kang, Haggerty and Febroyt, LLC
Henry Donner, a Philadelphia native, is an experienced attorney counseling and representing those in the construction industry. Henry earned his Bachelor’s from American University and J.D. at Villanova Law School. For nearly 40 years, Henry was a named shareholder of Jacoby Donner, a prominent construction law firm in Philadelphia where his focus was on representing those in the construction industry: real estate developers, contractors, subcontractors, construction contractor associations, as well as engineers and architects. In 2017, Henry joined Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt LLC where he continues to counsel on all phases of design and construction. Henry’s professional network puts him in the forefront of multi-employer/union benefit plan practice which covers matters such as health cost containment and management of liability associated with employers’ contributions to pension plans. He has been selected amongBest Lawyers in America®, based entirely on peer review at a national level from 2011 to present, selected as one of the best construction lawyers in Pennsylvania from 2004 to present, based entirely on peer review at a state level by Pennsylvania’s Super Lawyer, and selected as one of Philadelphia’s Best Lawyers, 2012 to present.
Moreover, Henry is the Chair of the Steering Committee of East Falls Village, a former Member and Officer of School Committee of Germantown Friends School and a former Member of the Board of Directors at the Germantown Jewish Centre. In his free time, Henry enjoys spending time down the shore with his children and grandchildren.
Publicist, Alist Events Marketing, LLC
Aalyah Duncan, a native of Philadelphia, is a multi-talented PR professional. She has earned two degrees in music, provided services as a violin instructor, and has been a consultant for clients in the arts community. Aalyah began her professional career in Atlanta, where she worked in the Marketing Communications Department and as Manager of the Friday Jazz Series at the prestigious High Museum of Art. While at the High Museum, Aalyah worked with international musicians including Ike Stubblefield, Steve Dancz, Kevin Bales, Julie Dexter, Joe Gransden, and Takana. She also served as Violin Instructor for the Atlanta Public Schools Youth Orchestra, where she taught violin, theory, and technique. Her previous teaching endeavors include working for Cathedral Arts Project, a nonprofit organization that provides arts programs to students who reside in underserved communities.
In August 2013, Aalyah formed her own public relations boutique agency, “Alist Events Marketing, LLC”, which provides public relations and marketing services for clients in the arts and entertainment industry. Previous and current clients include: Grammy Nominated and multi-platinum saxophonist and flautist, Najee, award-winning trumpeter and producer, Joey Sommerville, Grammy award-winning saxophonist, Kebbi Williams, and Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer, Carvin Haggins. She has also worked with Grammy award-winning singer Lalah Hathaway, Incognito, Will Downing, Jeff Bradshaw, Kenny Lattimore, Dave Koz, Kamasi Washington, Gary Taylor, José James, The Brand New Hearvies, and icon Chaka Khan. Her company has developed relationships with various media outlets nationally and internationally, where she successfully executed PR campaigns for her clients. These outlets include: CNN, TheGrio.com, NBC 10 Philadelphia, KBLX radio, CBS radio, Jazz FM (UK), TV One, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Radio One, Arise TV (UK), BET, Soultrain.com, Essence, Rolling Out, Ebony, Fox Good Day in various markets, WBGO radio, and iHeart Radio.
Recently, Aalyah has expanded her network into the political sector, serving as PR/Communications Director and Deputy Campaign Manager for Councilman Derek Green – City Council At-Large race. Her worked contributed significantly to Councilman Green’s win in the 2015 General Election in Philadelphia, PA. She continues to work with Councilman Green on special projects as a PR Consultant.
Aalyah is a graduate of the University of North Florida, with a BA in Music. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, Aalyah received her Master of Arts in Arts Administration through the College of Music at Florida State University. She served as mentor for the Big Brother Big Sister program, and continues to provide mentorship and guidance to inner-city youth. In 2016, Aalyah received an inaugural award for Media Professional of The Year, by the National Association of Black Journalists – Philadelphia Chapter (PABJ). She has also been named as one of the 19 ‘Who’s Next In Communications 2017’ by Billy Penn.
Realtor, The Jonathan Fink Group
Jon moved to Philadelphia from Oregon in 1983 to study the cello at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (now University of the Arts). He earned a BA in music performance and has been an active freelance cellist in the region since 1987. Decades of music practice and performance have trained him to concentrate profoundly. Jon applies this same laser focus and commitment to his work as a REALTOR®, which has helped him to both succeed personally and to achieve his clients’ goals.
Jon lives in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia with his wife Marjorie and their two children, Ben and Hannah. Ben has Autism Syndrome, and Jon's family is involved with the local Center for Autism Research. Ben will be attending Drexel University next fall. Hannah is a talented dancer and singer, as well as a budding actress.
Jon is also an Instrument Rated Private Pilot with moreo than 1,000 hours of flight time. He owns a restored 1960 Beechcraft Bonanza, which is hangared at the Philadelphia Northeast Airport. Jon has been known to take his clients on a scenic ride around Philadelphia for a unique viewpoint of our city.
Joseph Hochreiter, Jr.
Founder, Senior Environment Consulting, LLC
Joe is an environmental scientist. He manages the remediation of contaminated brownfield sites, provides expert services (including testimony) in environmental litigtion, and assess the viability of regional water supplies. In the 1980s, Joe chaired Disaster Services while on the Board of the American Red Cross, Lower Bucks County Chapter. During that period, Joe founded and oversaw the first year's operations of the Bucks County Homeless Shelter, one of the first suburban shelters of its type in the country. Joe is also the past President of The Counseling Center of Bucks County, which itself was an early provider of counseling services to shelter residents.
For the past 10 years, Joe has been President of the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County, where Don Liuzzi served on the Board. Through that relationship, Joe worked with Don and Joe Conyers to develop and manage the 2015 All City Orchestra tour of Italy, which used YOBC’s own 2014 Italy tour as the model. He recently assumed a new position for YOBC, Vice President for Development.
Joe also serves as the Secretary of the Board for Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bucks County’s professional theatre on the Delaware in historic Bristol. In that position, Joe also oversees BRT’s summer camp program for at-risk youth, ArtRageous.
Music has been a life-long passion for Joe, particularly jazz and contemporary singer-songwriters.
Clinical Professor and Associate Dean, Division of Business Programs at NYU; Practice Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education Adjunct Associate Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Martin Ihrig is a clinical professor and associate dean at New York University and an adjunct professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder and president of I-Space Institute, an applied research and consulting venture that specializes in the strategic and entrepreneurial management of knowledge. He received his Master of Business Studies from University College Dublin and his Doctorate in Business Administration from Technische Universität Berlin.
Dr. Ihrig runs the Division of Programs in Business at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. He is also a faculty member at the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School. In developing strategy and innovation tools for corporate and public sector decision makers, Dr. Ihrig has worked with organizations such as BAE Systems (USA), The Boeing Company (USA), Vale (Brazil), Merck (USA), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (USA). His research projects have been funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (UK), the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN (Switzerland), Tekes (Finland), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA), and the Neubauer Family Foundation (USA).
Mary Wheelock Javian
Director of Professional and Community Engagement, Curtis Institute of Music
Mary’s goal as an artist is to use music to create positive social change in communities. She works towards this goal as a performer, curator, teaching artist, and mentor. A double bassist, she performs frequently with the Philadelphia Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and numerous orchestras throughout the country. She has performed and recorded with Network for New Music, the Dolce Suono Ensemble, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.
Mary has won fellowships with the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Verbier Festival, and the National Symphony; and is a Maryland Distinguished Scholar. A passionate advocate for music education and community engagement, she has consulted for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Savannah Music Festival, and Project 440. As a curator for LiveConnections, she programs an innovative concert series at World Café Live. She has also curated for Intercultural Journeys, an organization that promotes peace and cultural dialogue through music.
A 1999 graduate of the Curtis institute of Music, where she studied with Harold Robinson, Mary joined the Curtis faculty in 2011 to lead the Community Artist Program and became the school’s director of professional development and community engagement in 2014.
Manager in the Financial Advisory Services Group at EisnerAmper LLP
Adam Karasick is a Manager in the Financial Advisory Services Group at EisnerAmper LLP. He specializes in forensic accounting investigations and measuring damages in complex commercial disputes for attorneys, public and private companies, and governmental agencies. Adam has consulted on a wide array of financial and accounting matters, including contract disputes, intellectual property disputes, lost profit claims, business interruptions and fraud investigations. He has led forensic investigations and litigation consulting engagements for clients in industries including medical devices, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, finance and technology.
Prior to joining the firm, Adam was a senior accountant at a national accounting firm providing audit, accounting and consulting services. He also worked at a regional accounting firm performing municipal audits.
Founder/CEO, Amino Payments; Co-founder, Integral Ad Science
Will has been a pioneering developer innovating on behalf of such firms as American Express, Dun and Bradstreet and the Better Business Bureau. He was an early open source advocate in the corporate environment and has a record of architecting technical solutions for complex, extremely high volume, mission critical functions using ope source technology and commodity hardware. Most recently, Will co-founded a company, Integral Ad Science, and was critical in its growth from a seven person team to a multi-national corporation with a hundred employees around the world, raising $50M in venture capital funding.
Executive Director of Arts and Academic Enrichment, School District of Philadelphia
Frank holds a bachelor's degree in music composition and a master degree in music education from the University of the Arts. He has studied with numerous musicians and has shared the stage with many accomplished professionals. He possesses a wealth of experience teaching music at schools in the Philadelphia area, and has taught instrumental music at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School, integrating digital music and popular music into a traditionally strong jazz program. His substantial management experience includes previously overseeing daily operation at Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven. Frank is a founder and board president for Limelight Arts, which offers innovative, culturally relevant, student interest-driven, world-class music performing arts education for students in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
Program Manager for Youth Arts Education, The Village of Arts and Humanities; Sanctuary Coordinator for "Project Safe Neighborhoods"
Mike earned his bachelors of music from The University of The Arts and works as both a humanitarian artist and youth development advocate. His teaching and professional artistic experience includes theatre, music, and songwriting in the Philadelphia tristate area and on projects with The University of Miami's Community and Educational Center for Well-Being, ASTEP, and The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, among others.
Through the healing power of art, Mike O’Bryan serves as an advocate for youth rights and social change in underserved communities. His professional experience touches the worlds of performance art, public health and trauma informed care. Much of his work has centered on amplifying the voices of marginalized populations including: adjudicated youth, youth and families experiencing homelessness, and migrant farm-workers. Past project experience includes work with: The Arts and Business Council of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, WURD Radio, ASTEP, The University of Miami's Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center, and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Mike was awarded “Child Advocate of The Year, 2014” for the Philadelphia Region by The Pennsylvania Department of Education for his work assisting youth living in emergency housing and was also named a 2017 National Emerging City Champion by The Knight Foundation. Currently, he serves as Senior Manager of Youth and Young Adult Programs at The Village of Arts and Humanities and as Project Manager of SMASH, a collaborative trauma and wellness initiative between The US Attorney’s Office (Eastern PA District) and The ANDRUS Sanctuary Institute.
Dr. David Thomas
Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Dean, Division of Access and Community Engagement, Community College of Philadelphia, Executive Director, Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership
Dr. David Eric Thomas is an experienced and passionate educational leader having dedicated his life to helping people make the best educational, career, social, emotional, and spiritual choices for themselves and their loved ones. Earning his undergraduate degrees and first master’s degree from Cairn University, his second master’s degree from Temple University and later, his doctoral degree from Wilmington University, Dr. Thomas is actively involved in various community building projects, school reform initiatives, and organizational development consortia across the nation. Dr. Thomas remains enthusiastic about creating and maintaining healthy, safe, innovative, and rigorous educational environments with high expectations for all learners; committed to creating equitable communities and educational options for all; and intentional about fostering the skills, wisdom, and fortitude needed by people to become active leaders of their own lives and communities.
Dr. Thomas currently serves and holds board leadership and advisory seats in various organizations such as YouthBuild Philadelphia, Philadelphia FIGHT, Project U-Turn, Academy for Educational Leadership & Transformation, Black Male Development Symposium, National Principal’s Leadership Institute, Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center, President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his work including YouthBuild’s Legacy Award, BMe’s Community Vanguard Award and INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine’s Giving Back Diversity Leadership Award.
Currently, Dr. Thomas is the Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Dean for the Division of Access & Community Engagement at Community College of Philadelphia where he oversees a diverse array of the College’s programs. He also serves the College as the Executive Director for the Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership, the College’s home for volunteerism, community engagement and service learning and as the Manager of the College's music recording label, Spring Garden Records. Additionally, he is a graduate professor at Peirce College and Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Wilmington University in Delaware and operates his own consulting practice, In His Image (IHI) Consultants, an organization focused on cultivating progressive growth and development primarily for men of diverse backgrounds both in their personal and professional lives as well as in the organizations in which they live, learn, work, and serve.