Meet The New Executive Director-Cont.

     Skill, courage, and dedication to helping others are at the heart of what makes Debra thrive. These values have guided her through tremendous losses and set her on a path to empowering residents of the City through community service.  She has counseled hundreds of thousands of people on building strong communities through homeownership.

     Growing up with four sisters in Germantown, Debra demonstrated innate money management skills early in life. Debra was tasked with balancing the books, from neighborhood car washes and cookie sales to high school talent shows and civic involvement.  Enhancing this innate skill, Debra studied accounting at Pierce College and LaSalle University and earned an MBA from Rosemont College.

     The commitment to community service is personal to Debra. Over twenty years ago, her sister DeAnn White was killed in the tragedy at Pier 34. This unfortunate personal experience inspired Debra to pour herself into community service as an advocate in honor of her sister.   Fifteen years after this tragedy, Debra was faced with the horrific loss of her only daughter, Melika Rose Roberts, following a medical procedure.  Such tragedies would have sidelined many, but Debra is determined to live a life of meaning and passion in honor of her sister and her beloved daughter.  That determination takes incredible courage, the degree of courage that personifies Debra.

   Debra and her husband, Chef Ken, invested in the community as owners of the popular Chef Ken’s Cafe in Mt. Airy.  Given the pitfalls and downfalls in the economy of the past several years, Debra realized that coming back from hardship takes time, and she has helped people to do just that.

Debra said, “I am happy to share my knowledge and passion for community and economic empowerment as pioneered by the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan.  I look forward to working with the Board in continuing the legacy of Dr. Sullivan through the initiatives of the Trust.  I am committed to making Philadelphia a better place for all residents because it is necessary.”