President, Rene Vargas
Vice President, Lanina Nelson-Cavicchio
Secretary, Janet Hoffman
Treasurer, Robert Rossman
John E. Stanchak
Christopher Coan grew up in central Pennsylvania. After studying in NYC, he moved to Philadelphia, where his family had immigrated to from Europe. He found the beauty of Philadelphia inviting and has made it his home for the past 30 years. The love of community was the thing that drew him to the Mt Airy neighborhood. He has been teaching yoga, Pilates, and meditation, both privately and to the corporate sector, in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. The bringing together of the body mind and spirit has been a lifelong pursuit of his. He enjoys gardening and bringing people together.
Allison Cooper is a lifelong member of the Northwest Philadelphia community, growing up in Germantown and Chestnut Hill before settling in the Mt. Airy neighborhood. Allison’s background is in non-profit financial management and human resources and employee relations management. Currently, Allison is employed by The Sarah Ralston Foundation, formerly Ralston Center, working as the Grants and Finance Manager. Allison graduated from Germantown Friends School before earning her B.A. in History from Pennsylvania State University and completing her M.P.S. in Human Resources and Employee Relations from Pennsylvania State University.
Rachel Falkove is a life-long resident of Philadelphia, living all but the first two years of her life in Mt Airy. With BA and MBA from Temple University, Rachel spent the earliest part of her career as a health care administrator, and served for the last several decades as Executive Director of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, a program serving families of our community who are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. Recently retired, Rachel remains on the Mayor’s Housing Security Work Group, is a board and executive committee member of Mt Airy Community Development Corporation and continues to be involved as a past president of her congregation, Germantown Jewish Centre. Rachel looks forward to serving as a board member of MALT because of its unique role in strengthening the fabric of community in Northwest Philadelphia.
Dr. Annette Gibbs is a new resident of Mount Airy and is delighted by the welcoming people, rich culture, and stunning natural surroundings. Bringing with her a wealth of knowledge as an IT and Strategic Sourcing strategist, she is eager to contribute to the growth and advancement of our community of learners. Annette has a Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Studies and is a Global Program Manager at a top global tech company, using her diverse experience to drive successful outcomes. Annette is an enthusiastic MALT participant, diving into various courses, from knitting to mixology, embracing her various interests. An accomplished author of “She Disrupts IT!” she encourages personal and professional growth, continuing to advocate for women in technology. After a history of relocating across countries and states for career advancement, Annette has decided to settle in Philadelphia to be near her two adult children.
Janet Hoffman first visited Mt. Airy in 1972, and she has lived in Mt. Airy since 1985. She has an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She retired in 2022 after a varied career as an indexer, editor, online services trainer, online services sales, software customer manager, business analyst, and project manager. Janet lives in East Mt Airy with her husband and has taken many MALT courses over the years including ice skating, tai chi, dream interpretation, wine tasting, and many local walking tours.
Allyson Katzman has lived in Mt. Airy for almost 25 years and loves the friendliness, diversity and physical beauty of the community. Since becoming a MALT board member, she has served in multiple roles of the executive staff and is active on many committees. Some of her favorite classes at MALT have been Water Kefir, Kombucha’s Cousin, Pilates and Knife Sharpening.
Previously, Allyson was a board member of West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) for 13 years, before stepping down last year. She served on the planning committee for WMAN’s largest fundraiser Eat Your Heart Out for over 14 years and has been an active lead with the Streetscapes Committee. She helped initiate the Emlen Circle Beautification Group and works on other community based beautification projects.
Allyson enjoys traveling, yoga, Pilates, gardening, walking in the Wissahickon with her dog and fostering animals. Allyson has worked as a litigation paralegal for more years than she would like to admit and currently works downtown for an antitrust law firm.
Lanina Nelson-Cavicchio, a native Philadelphian, has been an on-going supporter of MALT as a teacher, student, and board member; currently serving as the Secretary of MALT’s Board. Since becoming a board member, she has served in multiple roles of the executive staff, active on various committees but is often recognized for her leadership and active participation on the MALT Ball Committee which organized, promoted, and garnered support for the MALT Ball (a multi-year fundraising effort). Her professional background includes work experience among both private and public concerns. Currently, she works for a public utility company where she oversees and manages IT projects and acts as a liaison between IT and internal customers. She has varied interests which include: mystery book reading, line dancing, travel, classic movies, orienteering, and greyhound rescue.
Patricia Robinson has been a native of Philadelphia since moving from Maryland in her early childhood. Pat is a MALT board member and has been active on the MALT Ball Committee for over seven years.
Her professional background includes working in the private sector and the health care industry. She is currently retired and She served as a co-block captain, volunteered at homeless shelters, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and provides pro bono notary service. Pat is a certified Dom Care provider for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and serves as an Election Board clerk. She very much enjoys interior decorating, architecture, comic movies, and reaching out to help whomever she can.
Bob Rossman has many years of experience in computer technology. He began working as a computer programmer for INA (now Cigna) in 1970 when computing was on mainframes and employed punch cards. Now retired, his last position was providing technical support for a software company. His other interests include politics, bike riding, and cooking, all of which he has turned into courses for MALT. He has served on the board of Weavers Way Co-op and the Chestnut Hill Community Association. He is currently treasurer of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest Philadelphia and president of the Mt. Airy Community Services Corp. He has been on the MALT Board for over 25 years; over that time he has helped with computers and a host of other tasks and is currently the treasurer and serves on the building committee.
Cheri Skipworth, born and raised in Philadelphia, has been an avid supporter of MALT as both a student and a facilitator. Cheri’s background is in Higher Education Administration, after working professionally for 15 years, she is using her experience to engage, connect and build community with the students who now take her handmade workshops. Cheri has her B.A. from Bucknell University and her M.Ed. from Kutztown University. Cheri is the currently the owner of HandmadeU LLC, where she uses her creativity to make handmade gifts and hosts a plethora of DIY experiences for the community. When she is not crafting, she is likely doing consultant work for a nonprofit organization, planning an event or simply enjoying quality time with family and friends.
John Stanchak, a self-described “Pan-Pennsylvanian,” grew up in the City of Pittsburgh, attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then earned a journalism degree from Penn State University. After trying out newspaper work, he went into magazine publishing and lived in the Harrisburg and Lancaster region for decades before moving to Philadelphia and taking up with MALT in 2008. He served on its board for several years, left briefly to complete projects, then returned in 2021. Writing popular U.S. History is his professional specialty, travel is his advocacy, reading fiction his joy.
Rene “Rick” Vargas is a native of New York City, who moved to Philadelphia in 1978. In 1979, he began his professional career with the City of Philadelphia. During his thirty-five (35) year tenure with the City, Rene was involved in job training evaluation, Human Resources, and Labor Relations, where he spent the bulk of his career.
In 2013, after years as Labor Relations Analyst and Deputy Director, Rene was appointed Labor Relations Director for the City. He remained in this position until his retirement in January 2015. In 2015, Rene was approached by a MALT board member about joining the board. Having taken some MALT classes in the past, he accepted the invitation, and has been involved since then. He is a past President of the board, and is currently the Vice-President.
Rene has been quite busy in his retirement. He volunteered for five years at Kensington High School, has taken painting and dance classes, was part of an
investment club, and is an active alumni board member with his alma mater (The University of Vermont). Even though he has been involved with all these activities, Rene has to squeeze in three or four rounds of golf a weekly, weather permitting!!
Rae S. Whatley is a native of Philadelphia. She was first introduced to adult/community schools through the Cheltenham Township Adult School, where she took language classes not available to her in high school. After moving to Germantown in 1998, she discovered MALT and over the past 20 years has enjoyed both learning and teaching with other members of the community. Rae has a BA in American Studies and has taught English as a Foreign Language in both Brazil and Japan and currently practices and teaches Japanese Reiki in Chestnut Hill. She also serves on the Board for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and in her spare time enjoys biking, paddling on the water and sleeping in trees.