Our Team

Meet the CWF Staff

Nikia Owens


Twitter @Dr_NOwens 
LinkedIn Nikia Owens, Ph.D.

Dr. Nikia Owens is the and President and CEO of Campaign For Working Families (CWF) and will provide the overall leadership and strategic direction and planning for the organization.

Prior to joining CWF Dr. Owens served as the Deputy Executive Director Family Supports and Basic Needs with the City of Philadelphia’s Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) Office, where her leadership was a driving force to CEO’s implementation of its whole-family approach through the benefit access, workforce, and youth initiatives.

Additionally, Dr. Owens was the Managing Director of Financial Empowerment at the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey developing and leading the strategic direction and impact of family income, assets, and financial stability. Owens has served in capacities as Vice President and held several leadership positions in the fields of Research, Education and Human Services. Owens has taught at the collegiate level and within her leadership roles she has served on State and local boards, worked closely with State officials, analyzed public policy, garnered bipartisan support on state initiatives, and most recently served on Mayor Barbarann Keffer’s transition team within the Upper Darby Township. Dr. Owens holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Social Work from Howard University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work Planning, Administration and Social Science from Clark Atlanta University.

Melissa Jackson-Schmidt
Chief Program Officer

Melissa Jackson-Schmidt is the Chief Program Officer at Campaign for Working Families. Melissa was YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School’s Director of Workforce Development and was responsible for all workforce programming and operations, including internships, employment and college to career training and development. Melissa created workforce programs such as the Business Administrations Scholars, Building Maintenance, Child and Youth Development and Culinary Arts program. She successfully opened a student-run social justice cafe called the “Stomping Grounds Cafe” located in the Promise Zone in West Philadelphia. Prior to the director role, Melissa managed the Business program and the Information Technology program.

Melissa started her teaching career as a Teach for America AmeriCorps member and taught math in the School District of Philadelphia and YouthBuild Charter School for 13 years. In 2012, Melissa was awarded by the House of Representatives “Teacher of the Year.”

She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Chestnut Hill College, a Secondary Education certification at Drexel University and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management from Peirce College. She belongs to the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics, chapter sponsor of the Future Business Leaders of America Phi Beta Lambda INC, a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Relations Commission committee member of Jenkintown Borough and a member of the Graduate Studies Advisory Board at Peirce College.

Thais Caine
Director of Tax Operations

Thais is responsible for all tax site operational functions and responsibilities, particularly in regard to planning, implementation and evaluation of tax services along with annual tax site selections. Thais recruits all tax site teams and is responsible for strategic team placement to ensure maximum productivity, and ensures sites are working to their full potential and in compliance with the IRS.

Michelle Carroll
Assistant Director of Tax Operations

Michelle Arthur-Carroll is a community-minded Philadelphia native. With twenty years of project management experience in the non-profit sector. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Tax Operations for the Campaign for Working Families, Inc. (CWFI). Michelle has successfully provided oversite for tax site management, along with supervision for CWF’s year-round headquarters tax site and the overall file management for all of CWF’s tax preparation footprint. When Michele joined CWF her first role was as liaison to the banks as she headed up the Savers Credit Program. From there she created the greeter program for the tax sites which established the current training program for the Intake Specialist role which is now used in most VITA sites. In her current role she is also responsible for the recruitment, training and placement of all CWF’s Intake Specialist. Michelle worked with the Philadelphia Parking Authority for seven (7) years and change focus to work more with the community in serving the homeless in providing service in food, clothing and basis necessities. After leaving PPA Michelle transitioned into housing and gained more experience working with the community as Opportunity Service Corporation’s HUD Recertification Manager along with the management of 127 family units. Michelle is a product of the Philadelphia School System and Community College.

Victoria Cheatom
Lead Tax Site Manager

Victoria began as a volunteer in 2017 and today is responsible for creating a positive customer service experience for both tax clients and volunteers at CWF Headquarters. Working with team members that she supports at the tax site and throughout tax the season, Victoria works to ensure the tax site runs smoothly and returns are prepared in a timely and accurate manner.

Monica Pierson
Senior Site Manager – Virtual Tax Preparation

Monica joined CWF in 2016 and today she is the Senior Site Manager for Virtual Tax Preparation. She is responsible for providing coordination, organization, and supervision for all aspects of CWF’s year-round virtual tax site. Monica brings to CWF her experience in customer service, tax filing, and special projects. She is very eager about helping others in her community and encouraging them to reach their full potential. Monica believes that “We are more powerful when we empower each other.”

Diana Allinger
Director of Volunteer Engagement and Partnerships

Diana Allinger is Director of Volunteer Engagement and Partnerships. She plays an essential role in the strategic direction and leadership in developing recruitment and management of key volunteer partnerships and operations. This includes managing partnerships with corporations, universities and the School District of Philadelphia. Prior to joining CWF, Diana managed operations at two City of Philadelphia offices, including Philly Counts and The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. She has a background in non-profit program management and youth workforce development. She also spent three years in Medellin, Colombia as a bilingual educator. Diana holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.

Elizabeth Olson
Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator

Elizabeth joined the CWF team in September 2021 and is responsible for year-round volunteer recruitment, training, recognition, and retention. She brings to CWF her experience with community organizing, outreach, and organizational leadership. Originally from South Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University, she is passionate about giving back to the city that raised her.

Kim Dicicco
Manager of Asset and Workforce Development

Kim is the Manager of Asset and Workforce Development where she works to create initiatives to help people regain control of their financial security through education, meaningful employment and unfettered access to public services. She is a graduate of Wagner College with a degree in Psychology and has worked in various aspects of the non-profit sector for most of her career. Her main talent lies in building connections that strengthen communities because no one is truly wealthy until we all are.

Stephanie Duncan
Asset and Workforce Specialist

Stephanie joined the CWF team in January 2023 as the Asset and Workforce Specialist. She is responsible for all aspects of the intake process, screening, and completion of applications for free benefits and programs offered to our clients and other Philadelphian residents that may need assistance. Stephanie brings to CWF her experience in UC benefits claims, community outreach, and technical skills. Stephanie’s philosophy in life is to “life while you climb” and she is passionate about helping people in her community.

Sharon Jefferson
Administrative Professional

Sharon Jefferson currently serves as an experienced Administrative Professional. She brings to the Campaign for Working Families with many years of skillful and technical expertise. Sharon retired from the American Red Cross after thirty years of dedicated service, as the Manager of Volunteer Support Services, American Red Cross, SE Pennsylvania Chapter. Sharon played an integral part of the organization and assisted in the development of many annual charity events, volunteer recruitment and community team-building events. Sharon provides receptionist assistance to the clients of Campaign for Working Families, supporting their economic and financial empowerment linking them to valuable services and resources for their individual and family needs. Sharon was born and raised in Philadelphia, where she attended Dobbins Vocational High School and later attended LaSalle University. Re-entering the work-field in recent years, Sharon is dedicated to supporting and motivating the professional development of her professional and personal associates. Sharon maintains a healthy work-life balance by traveling, reading and volunteering, whenever possible with her friends and family in the Philadelphia community.

Board Members

Image of Richard Stipa

Richard F. Stipa
Board Chair

Retired Chief Executive Officer
TruMark Financial Credit Union

Michael A. Boyd, Esq.
Vice Chair & Treasurer

Deborah L. Scott

Retired Communications Directorr
OIC of America – National

Suzette E. Adams
Board Member

Supervisory Committee
TruMark Financial Credit Union

Kenneth Levine

Kenneth Levine
Board Member

Partner, Reed Smith

Diane Lucidi
Board Member

Director of Constituent Services The Office of Councilmember Allan Domb

Jill Michal
Board Member

Roberta A. West, Esq.
Board Member

Retired Administrator Temple University

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