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Posted on July 24, 2019

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


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JUST ANNOUNCED: @KimmelCenter appoints 4 new regional leaders to its Board of Directors; Former Board Treasurer Michael D. Zisman appointed new Chairman of the Board. More info @


Press Contact:

Lauren Woodard                                             








New representatives include Vanessa Z. Chan, Nicole Perkins, Sulaiman Rahman, and Joseph R. Zebrowitz


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, July 24, 2019) –– The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus – a non-profit, Board-led, preeminent institution whose mission is to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education – announces four new members to its Board of Directors. The elected members are all esteemed regional leaders, selected to serve alongside an already impressive list of the Philadelphia community’s civic and business influencers to guide the Kimmel Center into a successful future. Assuming the role of Chairman of the Board on July 1, 2019, Michael D. Zisman has served on the Kimmel Center’s Board of Directors for 8 years over multiple terms.


New Board members include: Vanessa Z. Chan, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, internationally-renowned Speaker and Educator; Nicole Perkins, Executive Vice President and Managing Executive of Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth®; Sulaiman Rahman, Founder and CEO of DiverseForce, as well as the professional network UPPN; and Joseph R. Zebrowitz, MD, Founder and President of Versalus Health.


“I look forward to partnering with our new Board members as the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus propels art and education forward in Philadelphia,” said Anne Ewers, President & CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “With 9 performance venues, 8 Resident Companies, and a vision to transform lives daily through the arts, we are confident that our current Board is equipped to guide us into a future that continues and strengthens our efforts to bring diverse programming & relevant conversations to the Avenue of the Arts, while reaching more students & community members than ever before.”


“After serving as the Kimmel Center Board of Directors’ Treasurer, chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, I look forward to continuing to aid in facilitating impactful arts education and programming in the Greater Philadelphia Region as Board Chair,” said newly appointed Chairman of the Board, Michael D. Zisman. “Reaching all facets of the Philadelphia community remains a Board priority, as we work together to diversify audiences and grow this non-profit for the benefit of all.”


“Michael Zisman’s longtime contributions on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, serving on the Board of Directors for multiple terms, in addition to his time as a Board member of our Resident Company, The Philadelphia Orchestra, give me confidence in his dedication to this esteemed institution’s initiatives and long-term goals,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, outgoing Kimmel Center Board of Directors Chair who was also the Board's first African American and first female Chair. “It was my pleasure to serve as this Board’s Chair over the course of the 2018-19 season. While new opportunities in California led me away from Philadelphia, I look forward to seeing the positive impact these four new individuals bring to the region’s most impactful performing arts center.”


The Kimmel Center Board of Directors is currently led by Chair Michael D. Zisman, Past Chair David P. Holveck, Vice-Chair Robert R. Corrato, Vice-Chair Jane Hollingsworth, Treasurer Stanley Middleman, Secretary Jami Wintz McKeon, and President & CEO Anne Ewers.


Full bios of the Kimmel Center Board of Directors’ additions are below:


Michael D. Zisman

Mike Zisman founded Golf Genius Software in 2009 after a long career in information technology. Golf Genius Software provides software solutions to over 10,000 golf facilities in 41 countries. Prior to founding Golf Genius, he was founder and CEO of Soft-Switch, Inc., CEO of Lotus Development Corp and a senior executive at IBM. Soft-Switch, founded in 1979, was one of the very first companies to participate in the electronic mail industry, and Mike is regarded as a pioneer in the field of electronic mail. 

Zisman has served and continues to serve on a number of for-profit and non-profit boards.

Besides the Kimmel Center, he is a board member of Peter’s Place, a center for grieving children and families.  Zisman is a former director and trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Main Line Health. He also served on the Board of Overseers of the Penn School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Zisman is also a director of a number of venture-backed technology companies. 

Mike has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University, a Masters in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from the Wharton School at Penn. Prior to founding Soft-Switch, Mike was a member of the faculty at M.I.T. 

Mike and his wife Linda Gamble have four children, ages 38 to 18; they and their younger daughter live in Wayne, PA. Mike and Linda are avid golfers and enjoy skiing.




Vanessa Z. Chan

Vanessa Z. Chan is an Entrepreneur, Board Member, Angel Investor, Keynote Speaker and Educator who has spent over 20 years innovating.  She is currently at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is Professor of Practice in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Undergraduate Chair of Materials Science & Engineering and a member of the Executive Committee of Penn Health Tech.  Prior to Penn she was a McKinsey & Company partner, where she co-led their innovation practice. After McKinsey, she invented consumer products, and competed on the Today Show’s Next Big Thing which led to her selling Loopit, her tangle-free headphones on QVC. 


Vanessa is a renowned speaker who inspires others to innovate by adopting a growth mindset and embracing failure as a catalyst for change. She is part of a dual-income family where she and her husband both have intense, high-profile careers but have integrated their work-life to also be present and engaged parents. Vanessa’s journey has been covered in various news outlets including the WSJ, Forbes, The Washington Post, a best-selling book (I Know How She Does It), CBS and various podcasts including “Women Killing It!”.  You also can find her very well received 2018 Penn Engineering Commencement speech at​ ​​.


Vanessa is passionate about helping the Philadelphia ecosystem and does so as the co-President of the Philadelphia Chapter of Ellevate Network and as a partner in Robin Hood Ventures (an angel investing group). She also is on the Advisory Boards for three start-ups: Charge-it-Spot, Girls Auto Clinic and Simply Good Jars, is a member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council for the Delaware Innovation Space and was a founding member of the Innovation Business Development Advisory Council for United Technology Corporation.  Her passion for education extends into K-12 as an active Trustee for Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy, where they have developed a design-thinking based curriculum including a Venture Incubator for kids.


Vanessa earned a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.S.E from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is married to Mark van der Helm, the head of Energy, Waste and Facilities Maintenance at Walmart and they have two school-aged daughters.



Nicole Perkins

Nicole M. Perkins is an Executive Vice President and the Managing Executive of Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth®, a business dedicated to serving the needs of individuals and families with investable assets in excess of $20 million. As Managing Executive, Nicole is responsible and accountable for business strategy and all facets of the Hawthorn offer. Nicole also personally manages the fiduciary administration of over $2 billion for ultra-high net worth individuals and families.


Preceding the Managing Executive of Hawthorn role, Nicole served as the Market Director of Fiduciary Services in the Philadelphia and Delaware market and was responsible for managing the Fiduciary Business Segment of Hawthorn in these markets as well as ensuring the overall quality and consistency of the clients’ service experience. In addition, Nicole provided consultative advice to and was responsible for the oversight of the compliance and risk management functions of these markets.


Prior to joining Hawthorn, Nicole ran her own private legal practice, where she counseled families and the owners of family owned businesses in connection with wealth preservation, multigenerational planning, business succession planning and charitable planning. Nicole also advised fiduciaries and individuals in connection with trust and estate administration and probate matters and practiced as a trust and estate associate at Morgan Lewis LLP and Duane Morris.


Nicole has given lectures and written articles focusing on continuing legal education of attorneys and other professionals in the area of estate planning. In addition, she was named by Money Management Executive as one of the ten winners of the 2018 Top Women in Asset Management Awards, recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal as a 2016 Minority Business Leader award recipient, named by Private Asset Management Magazine as one of the 2016 50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth and recognized by Profiles In Diversity Journal as a 2016 Women Worth Watching award recipient.


Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Nicole is barred in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She serves on the Board of Directors of First Person Arts, Kimmel Center, Inc. and Action Not Words. Former board affiliations include Board of Directors of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), Board of Trustees, Independence Charter School and Board of Directors of Education Voters PA.



Sulaiman Rahman

Sulaiman W. Rahman is the founder and CEO of DiverseForce, a strategic human capital solutions firm that specializes in cultivating diverse leadership pipelines and inclusive ecosystems across all sectors. In 2017, DiverseForce partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to develop DiverseForce On Boards, an innovative leadership development program that trains mid-to-senior level professionals of color from the public and private sectors to serve more effectively on nonprofit boards in the region. The program’s success has attracted support from major corporations and foundations.

Prior to DiverseForce, Rahman has been a visionary business and civic leader for over 15 years. In 2007, he founded a professional network, UPPN, and quickly made it one of the Greater Philadelphia area's most respected professional networks with 18,000+ local subscribers and 5,000+ active, next generation leaders. In 2015, UPPN was named the Philadelphia Business Journal's #1 networking association. UPPN is now a DiverseForce talent community. Rahman currently serves on the board of directors for the Kimmel Center, Community College of Philadelphia Foundation (Board Vice President), Mastery Schools, and TeenSHARP. He also serves on numerous advisory boards and committees. 

In the past, Rahman has been active in various business and civic leadership roles. He served as Chairman of the Board for the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ & DE (2010-2012), was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for PIDC, and was appointed by the DNCC (Democratic National Convention Committee) in 2016 to serve as Co-Chair of the DNC Volunteer Committee.

Rahman is the recipient of many honors and awards over the decade. A few include OIC’s Game Changer Award (2019), US Senator Bob Casey’s Black History Month Honoree (2019) YearUP’s Urban Empowerment Award (2018), Philadelphia Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award (2017); President's (Obama Administration) Gold Volunteer Service Award (2016); Philadelphia Tribune’s Most Influential African American Leaders (2009-2018); Philadelphia NAACP Business Leader Award (2015); BMe’s Community Leadership Award & Grant (2015); Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 under 40” (2010); VisitPhilly 360 Creative Ambassadors (2010); Urban League of Philadelphia “Urban Young Leader” Award (2009); Leadership Philadelphia’s “101 Next Generation Connectors” (2009); Philadelphia Tribune’s “10 People under 40 to Watch” (2008). 

Rahman is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania where he studied Electrical Engineering and Entrepreneurship.


Joe Zebrowitz

Dr. Joseph Zebrowitz is Founder and President of Versalus Health. At Versalus Health, Dr. Zebrowitz led the team in the development of an innovative approach to Medicare Compliance and Payer- Provider interactions. Prior to Versalus, Dr. Zebrowitz was Managing Partner of Devon Hill Capital Partners (DHCP), where he directed investments in several successful healthcare startups. Before DHCP, Dr. Zebrowitz served as the Executive Vice President and of Executive Health Resources (EHR). At EHR, Dr. Zebrowitz developed EHR’s suite of Clinical Revenue Cycle Management services—endorsed by the AHA and HFMA, and utilized by over two-thirds of the hospitals in the country. EHR was acquired by Optum Health in 2010.  Prior to EHR, Dr. Zebrowitz founded Concuity Inc. (formerly eHealthContracts) in 2000 and served as its Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Concuity is was subsequently acquired by the Advisory Board Company. 


Dr. Zebrowitz is a sought after speaker and has presented his views on healthcare to groups including the American Case Management Association, Healthcare Compliance Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the American Hospital Association.


Dr. Zebrowitz received his M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 



The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, our mission is to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. Our Cultural Campus serves more than 1 million guests per year and includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater- representing more than 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. We are home to eight esteemed Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, we are the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. Our Cultural Campus serves as a preeminent and inclusive place to enjoy exceptional experiences that reflect the spirit of our region by cultivating a creative and socially-responsible environment where our community shares experiences that are delivered with pride, integrity, and respect. As a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, we collaborate on, present, and produce a broad range of relevant and meaningful events, we serve as an active gathering space for social and community events, we educate the region’s young people through access to quality arts experiences, and we provide support to artists in the creation of new work. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is our proud sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2019-2020 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit


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For a PDF version of this press release, click here.



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