A new management team is put in place to help prepare TASK for the future
In every organization, change must happen in order to sustain relevancy. And since we welcome positive change at TASK, we’ve implemented a few alterations of our own in the last year. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything from how we serve meals to our patrons to the ways we interact with patrons, donors and volunteers has shifted. So, with all this intentional adjustment surrounding TASK, it just makes sense to see that change in our leadership, too. Executive Director Joyce E. Campbell, who has been at the TASK helm for the last five years, has orchestrated a new management structure made up of directors and mid-level managers who will steer TASK through its next phase and the challenging work to come.
“TASK’s new leadership team is a reflection primarily of our growth,” said Campbell. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to finding new ways to do what we’ve always done for our patrons, but it’s also led us to do more. So, this new structure will bring more people into the discussion – people who are closer to the work – as we review our strategic plan and work on how we move beyond the pandemic.”
Campbell has made Paul Jensen, who has led TASK’s kitchen staff and managed the Escher Street facility since 2018, her second in command. Jensen started at TASK as a kitchen coordinator in 2011 and has been promoted to associate executive director of operations. In his new role, the New York Restaurant School graduate said he will step away from most of the day-to-day operations of the kitchen and focus more on the entire facility.
“Paul has a wide range of responsibilities and his work has been critical in keeping TASK operating at such a high level during the pandemic,” said Campbell. “He’s got exceptional abilities to put things into operation and manage them. He has a global view of the organization and sees how the pieces all fit together. He really shines in his role.”
As Jensen takes on other responsibilities, Adam Livow, who has served as kitchen coordinator in the TASK kitchen for the last year and a half, will take over as manager of food services – Jensen’s former position. Livow, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, is TASK’s lead chef and instructor for Emilio’s Culinary Academy – TASK’s cooking school.
“Adam has an extensive background in cooking and coordinating high volume banquets as well as the patience to teach and the ability to pass on his knowledge to the students in Emilio’s Culinary Academy,” Jensen said. “He has already demonstrated his ability to manage the kitchen and I think he will help us cultivate more efficient ways to get things done.”
Livow, who was featured in season 14 of Hell’s Kitchen, said he is looking forward to this new opportunity.
“I am excited to join an already successful team,” said Livow. “I hope to be able to contribute to TASK’s already successful track record as we grow and adapt to new challenges.”
Since 2017, Xiumei Chen has managed TASK’s finances and now she will add oversight of human resources to her duties as the new director of finance and administration. Chen, who has more than 15 years of experience in finance, joined TASK as an accounting specialist in 2008 and rose to manager of finance and administration the following year. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shanxi University in China, a master’s from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and an MBA from LaSalle University. Campbell said there was always overlap between the two departments and the merger “just puts it in all in one place” while developing the soup kitchen’s human resource department.
“It’s a subtle change, but this will make things more streamlined,” added Chen.
Melisa Rivera, TASK’s human resource manager, will remain a part of TASK’s leadership team in her current role which includes onboarding staff, employee relations, orchestrating staff training and administering employee benefit programs. She will work with Chen on developing the department. Rivera, who has been at TASK since 2007, has more than 15 years of experience in data organization, customer service, personnel development, and facility management.
Jaime Parker, who has been everything from a Bonner AmeriCorps intern to the manager of programs at TASK, has been promoted to director of programs and patron services. Parker rose up through the ranks to manage programs in 2014 after obtaining her master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University. Parker, who has been at TASK since 2001, will continue to manage all TASK programming but will also work on program outcomes and integrating volunteers during and post pandemic.
“I plan to focus more on ways to engage volunteers and educate the community about the issues our patrons face,” said Parker. “There are ways that individuals can help our patrons, but a lot of the most meaningful ones will require an understanding of the challenges that low-income people face on a daily basis. Our staff is in a good position to help educate people in the community who express the desire to have a positive impact.”
CALMIA “MIA” HART
New to the management team is Calmia “Mia” Hart who has been promoted to manager of TASK’s Adult Education and Work Preparedness (AEWP) program. Hart became coordinator for the program in 2019 and was the program assistant when she was first hired at TASK in 2014. Parker said Hart – a member of the TASK Programs team – “played a key role” in the soup kitchen’s work to shrink the community’s digital divide.
“Mia’s ability to adapt, problem-solve and build relationships will help TASK make strides as we work to help our patrons toward greater self-sufficiency and improved quality of life,” Parker said.
Hart added that she has enjoyed learning and growing at TASK over the last six years.
“I am honored to have been acknowledged and entrusted with leading the AEWP team,” said Hart. “Our dynamic team is committed to fulfilling the mission of TASK, extending our capabilities so that patrons and students do not slip through the cracks during this pandemic and also making sure that they’re prepared for the new norms, post-pandemic.”
New to TASK is Michelle Wexler, who joined the staff last month as the director of development and marketing. Wexler came to TASK from the Bucks County Free Library where she launched a comprehensive development program, including annual, corporate and planned giving. At TASK, the Temple University law school graduate will manage all areas of charitable giving and ensure “the TASK brand remains strong,” Campbell said, adding that Wexler’s presence will also enable her to interact more with donors. Wexler said she is “proud” to be a part of the team.
“There is no shortage of work to be done to address hunger and food insecurity,” said Wexler. “Through the power of giving, TASK donors exceeded expectations last year and made a profound impact on our ability to offer meals and services to patrons. We’re excited to elevate our fundraising efforts and brand awareness while forging new partnerships and strengthening existing ones. Most importantly, our team seeks to provide this organization with the funding it needs to continue to grow and help those in need.”