Aaron V. Skrypski, Esq. — President
Aaron V. Skrypski is a lawyer who has represented clients in complex commercial disputes, mass torts, class actions, government investigations, consumer fraud actions, and patent disputes. While he has worked across a broad range of industries, much of his practice has focused on the healthcare, insurance, and manufacturing industries. He maintains an active pro bono immigration practice, having represented a foreign national couple in a successful petition for political asylum and other foreign nationals at various stages in the asylum process. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Cornell Law School in 2008, where he served as a managing editor for the Cornell International Law Journal. While in law school, he interned for Judge Richard C. Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Aaron received his M.Div., summa cum laude, from Yale University Divinity School in 2005 and his B.A., with high honors, in English and classical studies from the College of Wooster in 1997. Aaron is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and before U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Bryn Michaels, Esq. (UGI Corporation) – Vice President/Secretary
Bryn L. Michaels, Esq., is Senior Counsel at UGI Corporation, a company that, through subsidiaries, operates natural gas and electric utilities in Pennsylvania, distributes propane both domestically and internationally, manages midstream assets and engages in energy marketing in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to joining UGI in 2014, Bryn served, from 2007 to 2014, as Associate General Counsel at Penn Virginia Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company and was an Associate in the Business & Finance Department at Ballard Spahr from 2002 to 2007, where she was a member of the Hiring Committee, Securities Group and Investment Management Group. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as Associate Editor and Articles Editor for the Journal of International Economic Law.
Avi Eden, Esq. — Treasurer
Avi D. Eden is former Vice Chairman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., a leading manufacturer of electronic components. He was with Vishay since 1973 and served on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He also has worked in private law practice. Avi received a Bachelor of Arts and Economics from the University of Cincinnati in 1969, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1972.
Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq. (AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania)
Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq., Executive Director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. In December 2010, she was listed among the top 100 HIV/AIDS activists in the United States by POZ magazine. In 2007, Ronda was named “Policymaker of the Year” by the Penn Center for AIDS Research, a joint project of the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Wistar Institute. In 2005, she was voted a “Super Lawyer” in a poll of more than 36,000 Pennsylvania attorneys published jointly by Law & Politics and Philadelphia Magazine. Ronda is chair of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, the civilian oversight agency for the city’s police department. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Philadelphia chapter. A graduate of the University of Miami, she received her J.D. from the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and is admitted to the Bars of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Darlene Harris (City of Philadelphia)
Darlene E. Harris has been involved with AIDS advocacy over the past 15 years through professional and volunteer affiliations with the U.S. Conference on AIDS, the HIV/AIDS Housing Advisory Committee, Circle of Care Pediatric AIDS, Family Planning Council of Southeast Pennsylvania and Spectrum Health Service’s community outreach and health care advocacy efforts. Most recently, Darlene began serving as a consultant to Positive and Friends, an HIV/AIDS outreach, education, advocacy and testing project located in Pittsburgh. Darlene is employed as an independent contractor in the areas of education and behavioral health through the Philadelphia Departments of Human Services and Behavioral Health. She also serves as a marketing and public relations associate with Denise Goring Artwear of New York City. She is an apprentice with the Good Shepherd Mediation Program seeking certification in the field of mediation. Darlene earned a B.A. in communications and a graduate degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a native of Pittsburgh who now resides in the East Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.
Mike Ippoliti (Knoll, Inc.)
Mike Ippoliti has been a sales representative at Knoll, Inc., a worldwide manufacturer of commercial furniture based in Pennsylvania, since 1999. Before that, he was a facilities manager for the former CoreStates Bank. He has a degree in interior design from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Mike, a Philadelphia native, was a volunteer at ActionAIDS when he became aware of the AIDS Law Project’s services, and met Executive Director Ronda Goldfein. He was invited to join the board in 2010, and accepted. Mike is an avid traveler, having visited Spain, Egypt, and The Netherlands, among many other destinations.
Joann Leszczynsky (Digitas Health)
Since 1983, Joann Leszczynsky has applied her writing talent to the needs of health communications and marketing, working for such local institutions as the Albert Einstein Healthcare Foundation and Crozer Health Systems. Joann is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a B.A. in Political Science/Journalism. In her first years out of college, Joann wrote for a number of daily and weekly newspapers. As a volunteer, she also has helped Women’s Way, captained a team for the AIDS Walk and tutored in a literacy program.
Aretha Marshall (Dateline NBC)
Aretha Marshall is responsible for all aspects of casting and talent development for non-fiction programming and content at Peacock Productions. She also serves as an Executive Producer. Aretha is a 16-year veteran of NBC having worked as Managing Editor for the award winning prime time magazine Dateline. She has been awarded some of the industry’s most prestigious honors including the Alfred DuPont, Sigma Delta Chi, Murrow, IRIS and the National Association of Black Journalists awards. She is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.
Frank M. McClellan, Esq. (Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law)
Frank McClellan is Professor of Law Emeritus of the Beasley School of Law of Temple University, and serves as the Beck Chair Professor of Law. He is the Co-Director of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice and teaches courses on bioethics, medical malpractice, a law and medicine writing seminar, and torts. Frank has lectured regularly and taught in interdisciplinary courses at Temple Medical School from 1981 to the present. He earned his J.D. degree from Duquesne, where he was a member of the law review, his A.B. Degree from Rutgers University, where he was in the Honors English Program, and his L.L.M. degree from Yale University, where he was awarded the Felix S. Cohen Prize in Jurisprudence. He served as a law clerk to Chief Judge William H. Hastie, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and an associate attorney with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. Throughout his academic and professional career, Frank has worked to protect the civil rights of marginalized groups and promote diversity and opportunities for minorities in academia, business and government.
Kenny Jung-Taek Oh, Esq. (Attorney/Medical student)
Kenny Jung-Taek Oh, Esq., a 2007 graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and a 2004 graduate of Swarthmore College, joined the board in 2012 as an observer under a program sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association. He became a full member in 2014. Kenny previously worked as a judicial law clerk for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania and as a research coordinator for Asia Catalyst, a nonprofit that works with marginalized communities in East and Southeast Asia that promote the right to health. In 2014, Kenny enrolled in Temple University School of Medicine in the Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health programs, with a concentration in biostatistics and epidemiology.
Finesse Ross (Performer)
Finesse Ross has performed and competed in pageants throughout the tri-state area as Diana Ross and Grace Jones. She got her start in the business in the early 1990s appearing with the legendary Paris DuPree, a performer featured in the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. Finesse also volunteers with two nonprofit groups that offer support to LGBT youth. Her many awards include Miss Pennsylvania North America 2006, Miss Pennsylvania North America Supreme 2007 and Miss Philly Black Gay Pride 2009. She also received the Philly Trans March Artist Achievement Award 2013, among other honors.
Waheedah Shabazz-El (Philadelphia FIGHT)
Waheedah Shabazz-El is a Community Organizer and Trainer with the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). Waheedah is a retired postal worker who was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003. Since her diagnosis, she has become a fervent member of the social justice movement and an AIDS activist, advocate, educator and community organizer. Certified in HIV prevention, she is also an organizer and spokesperson for ACT-UP Philadelphia. Waheedah is a graduate of Project TEACH Outside and Project TEACH, educational advocacy programs at Philadelphia FIGHT. She is employed by Philadelphia FIGHT as an HIV counselor and tester and volunteers as a peer educator. She is an organizer for the Philadelphia County Coalition for Prison Health-Care, an editor of Prison Health newsletter, and a member of the PRHCN (Prison Re-Entry Health-Care Network). Waheedah is also a member of the Ryan White Positive Committee for Philadelphia’s Office of HIV Planning.
Kim Silverman (Businesswoman)
Kim Silverman first encountered the AIDS Law Project when it represented her brother in a lawsuit. After he passed away in 1994, she stepped in as his power of attorney in the case. In honor of her brother, she began volunteering for the organization to thank it for “giving him back his dignity.” Kim has had a long career in the food business, including as a chef, the owner of a catering business and in food service sales. She has helped organize numerous events for the AIDS Law Project, including catering many of them.
RJ Thornburg, BAHDEEBAHDU
As a creative person, RJ finds himself most often involved in multifaceted projects requiring a “magic touch.” He sees every type of design endeavor as having a unique challenge deserving an innovative approach. He explores the unexpected and unanticipated while always maintaining excellence with a nod to humor. Whether the project is residential, corporate or a bespoke service, RJ’s work is never boring or overly serious.