Paula M. Jones is the President and founder of Zia. By day, she is an attorney who has focused for over twenty years on international estate law, opening her own practice in 2016 in Philadelphia and New York. Issues of poverty, especially food insecurity, have always concerned her and she began Zia with the simplest of ideas – bringing home-cooked meals to a family, recommended by the principal at a local elementary school. After partnership with several neighbors and organizations, Zia continues to grow quickly.
Richard is Vice President of Zia. He owns and runs a manufacturing business in Trenton, New Jersey. He is a third generation Philadelphian and is pleased to join Zia in its pursuit of attacking food insecurity among its schoolchildren and their families. Richard’s understanding that education is paramount to success motivates him to support food efforts as the bedrock of an educational foundation. Richard also remains active in strategic planning at The George School, in Bucks County and has been on the Board of the Employers Association of New Jersey for almost fifteen years, currently serving as Chairperson.
Maria was most recently the Director of Programs & Outreach at Girls Write Now, a writing and mentoring nonprofit for young women, and has over 15 years of experience in K-12 and higher education, primarily focused in organizations that strive to improve educational equity and quality. Prior to GWN, she served as Senior Director of Charter Evaluation and Policy in the NYC Department of Education, providing oversight and accountability to DOE-authorized charter schools. She has managed and evaluated programs both for a charter advocacy and technical support organization, the NYC Charter School Center, and an entrepreneurship education nonprofit, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston College.
Patrick graduated with his BA from Drew University in 2015 where he was a Civic Scholar. After graduation, Patrick moved to Philadelphia where he was an Episcopal Service Corps Fellow, serving at St. Marks Church, Locust St., where he managed the parish’s food pantry and worked with their Saturday morning soup kitchen. He worked as a Development Associate at Face to Face in Germantown before taking up his most recent position at Bebashi - Transition to Hope. Before his departure from Bebashi, Patrick managed the organization’s food pantry, one of the largest in North Philadelphia, overseeing and 80% growth in the pantry over the course of one year. He also helped secure and manage the organization’s Health Enterprise Zone Grant from the Department of Human Services which funds in-school pantries and a cadre of community health workers.
Currently the Manager of Wellness at Comcast, Cathryn comes to Zia with 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Her roles have spanned from social work to development, working with underserved youth and adult populations. More recently, she led as Executive Director of Back on My Feet for the past four years and was recognized by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation as one of seven ‘Philadelphia Community Health Leaders You Should Know.’ Cathryn holds a bachelors in English and Education and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Cathryn enjoys all things fitness and health related as well as developing her new startup ice cream business, Milk Jawn.
Debbie is a retired nonprofit administrator having served as the CEO of The Arc of Atlantic County for nearly 30 years. The Arc provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Debbie always saw The Arc as a civil rights organization and her passion for assuring the inclusion of all people in the life of their community fueled organizational growth and helped The Arc earn a prestigious national accreditation. Debbie received her BA in psychology from the University of Kansas and her PhD in cognitive development (psychology) from Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) in Nashville.
She and her husband, Marc Lowenstein, have lived in Philadelphia since December of 2017.
Barbara Bender is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian and nutritionist. She completed her coordinated undergraduate program and has her B.S from Syracuse University. For over 30 years, she has been working in the nutrition field and specializes in weight management. In particular, she has a passion for disease prevention and creating lifelong healthy habits. Barbara is inspired by the goal of fueling children with balanced nutritious meals. She presently works at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute as a Wellness Dietitian.