Our 2017 Countywide Slate

Jennifer Leith
County Council
 
Throughout her personal life and professional career, Jen Leith has demonstrated a commitment to civic engagement for the collective good.
 
Born and raised in the Harrowgate section of Philadelphia, she attended Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Hunting Park. She double majored in Political Science and History at Bucknell University and received a Master of Arts degree in History from Rutgers University. She recently completed a year-long (2015-2016) Leading for Change Fellowship at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, an intensive and experiential development program that integrates the latest insights in business, leadership, public policy and innovation to strengthen leadership capacity and networks among local public sector leaders. 
 
Jen began her professional career as a housing organizer and grant writer for the Philadelphia Unemployment Project where she learned about the power of raising a collective voice against economic and social injustice. After serving in the United States Peace Corps (Mauritania, West Africa) as a small business development volunteer, she returned to the Philadelphia area and worked in various government, non-profit and philanthropic entities including the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing & Community Development, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, the Homeless Assistance Fund (HAFI) and WOMEN’S WAY. Presently, Jen is Executive Director of The Alfred & Mary Douty Foundation and is responsible for the alignment of all internal and external operational, administrative, financial and programmatic areas. Jen chairs the Small Funders Affinity Group of the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia. She also serves as Secretary of the Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) Board of Directors. 
 
Since moving to Haverford Township, Delaware County in 2006, Jen has been active with the Haverford Township Democratic Party and currently serves as Secretary, as well as, 6th ward co-Leader. Additionally, she is Chair of the Haverford Township Human Relations Commission.  Jen resides in Ardmore with her husband and two children who attend Haverford public schools.
 
Brian Zidek
County Council      
 
Brian Zidek is an experienced business leader and executive.  He currently is President of Excess Reinsurance, a national company and a leader in the self-funded medical reinsurance industry.  
 
Born and raised in Southern New Jersey, Brian has lived in Delaware County for nearly 17 years ago.  Brian attended  Dickinson College where he earned a bachelor of arts, majoring in both Economics and Policy and Management Studies.  While at Dickinson College, he spent one year studying economics at the London School of Economics.  Brian graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dickinson in 1992.  After graduation, Brian attended Georgetown University Law Center where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1995, graduating Cum Laude. While at Georgetown, Brian was one of the founders of the Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty (now the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy).
 
Brian began his professional career practicing law at Duane Morris LLP in the Reorganization and Finance Department.  Then, Brian was hired as a Vice President and General Counsel for Excess Reinsurance Underwriters.  Brian also founded Excess Management Company where he served as the managing partner before selling the company in 2014.
 
Brian also serves as the President of Argo Capital Group, Ltd.  During his tenure there, the company’s revenues and profits have grown tenfold and Argo Capital is one one of the oldest and most respected firms of its kind.
 
In addition to his career in business, Brian serves as the managing director of the Zidek Family Foundation, a private foundation that seeks to better the lives of children. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Gloucester County Boys and Girls Club.
 
Brian lives with his wife, Kate, and three children (aged 15, 5 and 3) in Nether Providence where he has coached numerous soccer and t-ball teams.  In his free time, Brian competes in endurance events, focusing primarily on triathlons, and is a member of a newly formed Indivisible chapter.
 
Joanne Phillips
Controller
 
Joanne has been a commercial real estate lawyer for almost 30 years with extensive experience in zoning and land use, real estate development, acquisitions and sales, leasing, eminent domain and valuation matters, easements, and real estate financing.
 
Joanne joined Ballard Spahr LLP as an associate upon graduation from Delaware Law School of Widener University.  She was a partner in the firm from 1995 to 2006, when she was appointed by Governor Rendell as the Director of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Real Estate, in the Department of General Services. At the Commonwealth, Joanne oversaw the Bureau, which was responsible for a vast portfolio of state-owned properties and leased space, with an annual lease expenditure exceeding $108 million. Her purview encompassed property acquisition for construction of capital projects, disposition of surplus properties, leasing of Commonwealth property, and leasing from third-party landlords for space required by Commonwealth executive agencies.  Joanne returned to Ballard in 2010 and is currently a partner in the firm's Real Estate Department.
 
During her first tenure at the firm, Joanne took a one-year leave of absence in 2000 to serve as Special Assistant to the Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia on special projects involving zoning and business regulation.  She has been active in professional organizations throughout her career, including leadership positions as Chair of the Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Chair of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Counselors of Real Estate, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Penjerdel Council.  She is also active in the Urban Land Institute- Philadelphia, participating in its Scholarship Council and Women's Leadership Initiative.
 
Joanne has served her community as a member of the Delaware County Open Space Task Force from 2000-2002 and on the Middletown Township Park and Recreation Committee from 1990-1996.  Joanne is a licensed soccer coach and a former director of Rose Tree Soccer Club, where she coached boys' and girls' intramural and travel teams for more than 15 years.
 
Joanne is a summa cum laude graduate of the Delaware Law School of Widener University, where she was valedictorian of her class, and a member of the school's law review Administrative Board, Moot Court Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi.  She received her B.A. from Ursinus College, where she was a member of the school's nationally-ranked field hockey team.
 
Joanne and her husband of 35 years, Wade Phillips III who grew up in Springfield, Delaware County, have lived in Middletown Township since 1988, where they raised their two children who attended the Rose Tree Media School District schools, participated in local sports organizations and have since gone on to pursue their education at the University of Michigan and University of Vermont, respectively.
 
Jerry Sanders
Sheriff
 
A retired Deputy Sheriff, Jerry Sanders, has dedicated his life to public service and ministry.
 
A resident of Drexel Hill, Jerry is the Chaplain of Deer Meadows Retirement community, a 140-year-old, 300-unit facility, where he coordinates religious services and ministers to the spiritual needs of residents.
 
Before retiring in 1995, Jerry Sanders served 24 years as a Deputy Sheriff in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, rising through the ranks from Deputy Sheriff to Sergeant to Lieutenant, to Captain and finally spent his last two years as Chief Inspector. There he was responsible for overseeing the operations of the Sheriff Civil and Criminal divisions, including real estate, sheriff sale, civil enforcement, warrants, criminal court, traffic court, and family court. Jerry was the sheriff’s representative on both the Family Court Advisory Committee and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
 
Jerry holds a Masters degree in Organizational Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. He’s also received an Advanced Church Ministries Certificate from the Evangelical Training Association. Jerry is an Associate Minister at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He serves on the board of directors of the church’s Community Development Corporation, whose mission is to foster better quality of life in its surrounding community.  Jerry is President of the Board of Directors of the 74 unit Reba Brown Senior Residence.
 
Jerry currently serves as President on the Advisory Council of Friendship Circle Senior Center in Darby and on the Board of Trustees at the Baptist Home Foundation. He lives in Drexel Hill with his wife, Juanita, an active member of the Democratic Women’s Club of Delaware County.
 
Mary Walk
Register of Wills
 
Mary Walk was born and raised in the City of Chester and is a graduate of the former Notre Dame High School in Moylan, Rose Valley.  Mary received her undergraduate degree with Honors from Rutgers University where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  In 1999, she received her J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law where she was a member of the Temple Law Review.
 
Mary is an AV-Rated attorney admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.  She is also a Certified Mediator and serves as an Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
 
Mary is currently a member of Swarthmore Borough Council  as well as a member of the Borough Civil Service Commission. Previously, Mary served for five years on the Swarthmore Zoning Hearing Board, in her last year serving as Hearing Board Chair.  She has also served as a Swarthmore Democratic Committee member. 
 
Mary has lived in Swarthmore for twenty-one years with her husband David and their three children.  Mary has served as a Brownie troop leader and as a volunteer for A Better Chance Strath Haven.    
 
Kelly Eckel
Common Pleas Court
 
Kelly Eckel is a commercial litigator and Hiring Partner at Duane Morris, LLP. Ms. Eckel represents clients in a variety of litigation matters, and has significant experience in handling commercial fraud, complex contracts, and business tort cases. Kelly has represented bankruptcy trustees, and has significant experience in handling adversary proceedings to avoid and recover fraudulent transfers and preference payments.
 
In addition to her over 20 years of litigation experience, in 2010, Kelly was appointed to the American Arbitration Association's Roster of Neutrals for commercial cases, an exclusive list of accomplished and respected practitioners from legal and business communities throughout the world. As an AAA arbitrator, Kelly frequently presides over pre-trial and evidentiary hearings, resolves discovery disputes, issues rulings and awards, and resolves disputes between parties.
 
A daughter of German immigrants, Kelly spent her childhood in many parts of the country and world, moving around with her father, a retired US Army Colonel. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, where she wrote for the Harvard Crimson. Kelly graduated from Temple Law School where she was Managing Editor of Temple Law Review. After graduation, Kelly clerked for US District Court Judge Hon. Stanley S. Brotman.
 
Kelly has served on the executive board of the Suburban Seahawks Club where her daughters, Madeleine and Cassidy, swim year-round. She resides with her husband Gregory Ott, a chemist, their daughters, and their Irish setter, Reilly, in Upper Providence.