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Gambone: Collaborating Today to Change Tomorrow

As the 2018 GPLEX learning visit to Seattle approaches, I’m excited for the multitude of opportunities this presents. Particularly since this will be my first Leadership Exchange, I’m eager to join other leaders from my community in a first-hand learning experience for the purpose of benefitting our great city. At the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), collaboration is one of our core values, and it is central to the way we do our work. With a mission to create coordinated systems which promote academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success, partnership is vital to my work every day. I believe that when system leaders work together, our potential is not only maximized, it is limitless.


I’m also excited to learn from Seattle’s leaders about the great work happening in a city that’s experienced such tremendous growth. While Philadelphia struggles with the highest poverty rate of large US cities, Seattle has experienced continued decline in its poverty rate coupled with income increases. In a city that has flourished with the boom of a fast-growing economy, I’m excited to learn how systems and infrastructure adapted quickly, how the workforce expanded and addressed diversity, and how the city is responding to the economic divide. You can count on me to ask lots of questions as we delve into the best practices and key takeaways, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid, that we might be able to apply to our work in Philadelphia.


For nearly 20 years, I have worked together with partners to create equal access for youth to education and employment in Philadelphia. Our city’s young people face a multitude of barriers, and our city is unifying to address them on a systems level. A few months ago, the City released Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, a citywide workforce plan with tangible goals set by systems leaders and partners. We at PYN are proud and humbled to work with partners, taking the lead on goals related to youth employment and career pathways for opportunity youth. We know that when our young people have access to opportunity, the entire city benefits.


We’ve made great strides in Philadelphia, but we know there is more work to be done to help our city thrive. I look at GPLEX as an opportunity to learn a lot, build bridges with those who can affect change, and tackle tough issues together to make our city that much stronger.


Stephanie Gambone is the Executive Vice President of the Philadelphia Youth Network.