OUR TEAM

staff:

The staff at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians is culturally diverse and reflective of the communities we serve.

If you are contacting the Welcoming Center, please note that we can serve you better if you email only one staff member. If you are not sure the best person to contact, please email info@welcomingcenter.org.

Peter Gonzales, President & CEO

President & CEO

Peter is the Welcoming Center's president and CEO. An immigration attorney by training, he has a distinguished record of civic and business leadership and advocacy, and a longtime interest in and commitment to community economic development.

Prior to joining the Welcoming Center, Peter was a founding partner of the Gonzales Tiagha law firm. He is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and a past Pennsylvania State Chair of the International Municipal Lawyers Association. In 2008, he was appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter to serve on the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Philadelphia, where he served until 2012.

Previously, Peter also worked in the Solicitor’s Office for the City of Philadelphia, with the nonprofit Project HOME, and with the US Agency for International Development.

Miranda Berger

Employment Specialist

Miranda is an Employment Specialist at the Welcoming Center. She helps connects work-authorized candidates to employers.

Miranda is originally from the Netherlands, and did her studies in Amsterdam. She studied Human Resource Management at the University of Amsterdam. Before coming to the United States she worked in the Netherlands as a labor market adviser and as a recruiter.

Miranda moved to the United States in 2012. She loves to travel and to attend live music events.

Fabiola Castellanos

Employment Intake Coordinator

Fabiola Castellanos is the Welcoming Center's Employment Intake Coordinator. Fabiola is bilingual in English and Spanish. She was born in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Fabiola immigrated to a small town in Texas where she lived until 2007, when she moved to Philadelphia. She attended a public school where she learned about urban life and Philadelphia's cultures. In 2008, she began working for an immigration law firm in Center City, where she developed a passion for immigration law and human rights. Fabiola says she can relate to the Welcoming Center's clients because she knows what it's like to be new in a country that seems so foreign, to love it, and to call it home. 

Nina Chen

Special Projects Manager

Nina works on special projects for the Welcoming Center.  She joined the Welcoming Center in 2013 after a lengthy corporate career as an employee benefits lawyer at the Philadelphia law firm Montgomery McCracken; a recruiter with an executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group; and a partner at Mercer, a global human resource consulting firm. 

Nina has actively volunteered with a number of nonprofits, most recently as a member of the Philadelphia Futures board and the Forum of Executive Women.  As a child of Chinese immigrants who realized success after coming to our country, Nina is excited to be a part of a vibrant organization dedicated to helping other immigrant families realize the American Dream.  She and her husband are proud to have raised two sons. They enjoy traveling and watching sports.

Lena Powell

Case Manager

Natalie Cramer

Coordinator, Global Enterprise Hub & Small Business Development

Natalie serves as coordinator of the Welcoming Center's Global Enterprise Hub and Small Business Development programs. She works closely with immigrant and US-born entrepreneurs who are launching or expanding their enterprises.

Natalie is responsible for developing and implementing small business training workshops and other events. In addition, she oversees small business outreach on the commercial corridors where the Welcoming Center works.

Janice Darab

Office Administrator

Janice is the office administrator for the Welcoming Center. She oversees the general operations of the office and is also an assistant to the President and CEO. She was born and raised in Philadelphia. A graduate of Ursinus College, Janice was a computer programmer and systems analyst before retiring from the workforce to raise her twin sons. Janice is an active member of the Spina Bifida Association of the Delaware Valley where she served on the Board of Directors for over 20 years, including eight years as President. She volunteers actively in the non-profit sector, including fundraising, and she enjoys being a grandmother!

Judy Johnson

Director of Programs

Judy is the Director of Programs for the Welcoming Center. She provides supervision to instructional and case management staff and oversees programmatic compliance of contracts.

Judy holds a degree in Organizational Leadership from Philadelphia University, and also received a master’s degree from the Chestnut Hill College in Administration of Human Services. In addition to being proficient in nonprofit administration, she has over 20 years of experience in the areas of early child care, parenting education, behavioral modification for teens, and group facilitation.

Judy is blessed to have her mother, daughter and son to keep her motivated and inspired as a mentor and motivator to others.

Herman Nyamunga

Director of Global Enterprise Hub & Small Business Development

Herman Nyamunga is the director of the Welcoming Center's Global Enterprise Hub and Small Business Development. He provides technical assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners to successfully establish, stabilize, and expand their microenterprises.

Herman is a Licensed Consultant for the Standards for Excellence Program, which advances ethics and accountability standards in nonprofit management nationwide.

Previously, he served as Program Manager for Africa Tobacco Media program and as a Logistics Officer for the International Federation of Red Cross. As a business owner, Herman operated a procurement and supplies company which specialized in government contracts, import and exports.

He has an MBA from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Kenyatta University, Kenya. He likes traveling and has spent time in Hong Kong, China, India, Dominican Republic, Zanzibar, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, where he was born.
 

Rebecca Rathje

Director of Development and Communications

Rebecca Rathje joined the Welcoming Center in 2015 and serves as the Director of Development and Communications. She earned her B.A. in Social Science from the University of Michigan and holds a Certificate in Fundraising from the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University’s School of Business. Rebecca has over 20 years’ experience in non-profit fundraising and management.

Rebecca was born and raised in Mt. Kisco, New York to German immigrant parents and moved to Philadelphia in 1988. When not at the Welcoming Center, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, hiking and playing tennis.

Manuel Portillo

Director of Civic Engagement

Manuel Portillo is a seasoned nonprofit leader who comes to the Welcoming Center after a substantive career in nonprofit program development and community organizing.

He has worked extensively with immigrants at a grassroots level and with receiving communities in cities throughout the United States.  His baptism by fire came when he began work as a community organizer, addressing issues that affected him directly, including fair and equal treatment of asylum seekers. Later, he worked with non-profit organizations in receiving communities on issues such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualifying national groups, access to services for the undocumented, quality municipal services for everyone, vacant land development, access to quality public education, and immigration reform. 

He works currently on program development for integrating into the regional economy foreign-trained professionals seeking employment. Key to this work is developing civic engagement strategies involving both immigrants and receiving communities. 

Nicole Pumphrey

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Nicole Pumphrey joined the Welcoming Center as Director of Strategic Partnerships in 2014. In this role, she is responsible for building relationships with employers, institutions of higher education, and other key stakeholders. Nicole earned her B.A. in French and Korean Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Education in Intercultural Communication from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Prior to joining the Welcoming Center, Nicole worked extensively in international and intercultural programs in higher education.  Nicole supported global initiatives at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, including developing short-term programs abroad and identifying cultural competence measures. Before arriving at Temple, Nicole developed education and outreach programs to support the study of East Asia at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a lifelong Philadelphian who has spent stints living in France and Korea and is always in the process of planning her next trip.

Eric Rosenfeld

J-1 Visa Program Manager, Instructor

Eric is the manager of the J-1 Visa Program, which seeks to attract foreign business professionals to Philadelphia as trainees under the US State Department's Exchange Visitor Program. The Program aims to prepare foreign businesses and professionals to enter the US market, or to return to their home countries with increased knowledge of US business operations. Eric also supervises J-1 interns hosted at the Welcoming Center.

Eric is also an instructor. He teaches ESL and English for Entrepreneurs. He enjoys connecting with students from various backgrounds and helping them acquire the skills to become more personally and professionally independent.

Eric earned his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 and practiced real estate and finance law. He also focused on pro bono work involving asylum seekers and immigration clients. In 2004, he graduated from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, where he studied History and Visual Arts. During college and law school, he completed international programs in Singapore, Peru, Sweden, and New Zealand.

Nora Telles

Case Manager/Advocate


Nora Telles is a Case Manager/Advocate at the Welcoming Center.  She graduated from Temple University with a BA in Philosophy and Spanish Language, Literature, and Linguistics.  While at Temple University, Nora worked with Temple’s project SHINE Program (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) where she led an ESL class for Spanish speaking immigrants.

After graduating, Nora worked with the South Philadelphia Literacy Partnership. She taught an ESL class of students from many different backgrounds, though the majority were from Bhutan.

Nora loves the challenge of being a case manager as well as everything she learns from her clients.  In the future, she hopes to return to Spain to continue practicing her Spanish and to remind her of the challenges of learning a new language and culture.

Stephanie Sun

Outreach Specialist, Small Business Development and Civic Engagement