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Executive Director, VestedIn
Mr. Burnett has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years, beginning his career with Fidelity Bank 1988. In 1999, Mr. Burnett pivoted to community economic development (“CED”) as Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution (WPFSI). Because of his CED work, Mr. Burnett became an adjunct professor position at Thomas Jefferson University in the School of Sustainable Design. In addition to his professional focus, Mr. Burnett has served diligently on various community and professional boards and is committed to the promotion of financial education and access to capital. While building ParkWest Town Center Mr. Burnett oversaw the development of the WesGold Fellows program to provide high school students with exposure to opportunities that are typically beyond their reach. Mr. Burnett has frequently spoken about how having these students around every summer brings new ideas and focus to why VestedIn is committed to investing in Philadelphia’s youth and their impact on the future of the City.
Samantha R. Lyons
Director, WesGold Fellows
Prior to joining VestedIn as WesGold Fellows’ first full time director, Samantha spent eight years as a business attorney, providing strategic legal and business development on behalf of her clients. After graduating law school, she worked as the Diversity Recruiter for Villanova University School of Law. After Villanova, Samantha joined Tiagha & Associates as the Manager of Corporate & International Business, with a particular focus on business development, corporate transactions, real estate, and small business. After Tiagha & Associates, Samantha founded Grace & River Strategies, a project development firm, where she served as the head of Strategic Legal & Business Development. Samantha received her Juris Doctorate from Villanova School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Ursinus College, where she minored in Spanish and English. She is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and a graduate, with honors, of Temple's Real Estate Institute. A Philadelphia native, Samantha is a proud alumna of the Philadelphia High School for Girls.
Crystal has over 20 years of office administrative experience working with several non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia area. At VestedIn, she is responsible for carrying out day-to-day general administrative duties for the entire organization, including accounts payable and receivable, office management and human resources. In addition, she assists with the management and distribution of grants and loan processing. Crystal studied public relations at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.
Barry D. Whitney
Portfolio and Compliance Administrator
WesGold Fellows Program Manager
Richette Walton is a West Philadelphia native and alumnus of Peirce College where she received her bachelor's in Paralegal Studies. Driven by a strong passion for equity, inclusion, and community impact, Richette is committed to supporting our Fellows throughout their personal and professional journeys. Labeled as a champion for youth by friends and colleagues alike, Richette has spent the last 5 years working where youth and workforce development meet. As WesGold Fellows’ first program manager, she is responsible for the advancement of the program, by handling the daily management, operations, and relationship building. She is excited to bring both her passion and expertise to the WesGold Fellows Family!
WesGold Fellows Project Coordinator
I'm currently a Junior at a Historically Black University; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University working towards a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in prelaw. I've been recognized for my hard work and dedication to serving the community around me. In 2020, I had the opportunity to be a WesGold Fellow. During a time of a pandemic when life was full of uncertainty, WesGold Fellows Program gave me a reason to wake up every day and network with lifelong friends. One of the important lessons I learned as a fellow is no matter how far you go and no matter high you grow; you cannot forget the community in which you came from. Becoming a coordinator is my chance to do exactly that. WesGold Fellows Program is my home, my foundation and most importantly a chance for me to give a young one a purpose in which was given to me.
WesGold Fellows Project Coordinator
My name is Gabrielle Forbes. I am a third-year Entrepreneurship and Innovation major at Drexel University. I am a program coordinator at WesGold Fellows. I am passionate about entrepreneurship, advocating for minorities, mental health, and mentorship. I aspire to be the founder of several businesses in the fashion and mental health industry. I am the Vice President of the Kappa Sigma Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. My hobbies include traveling, listening to music, photography, and doing community service. I am excited to be a part of the WesGold Fellows team this year!