Meet Our Conveners
Joann Bell has established a distinguished record of achievement in her professional career, which has accrued to the direct benefit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its citizens. She is currently the Director of the Philadelphia office of the lobbying firm Pugliese Associates. Pugliese, with offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, is listed as one of the top lobbying firms in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pugliese represents a broad range of local and national clients in the areas of legislative and regulatory issues; strategic planning; government affairs; appropriations and procurement. Joann's expertise in government affairs and government relations; business development and project management; social policy and labor relations spans over three decades. Further, she is an expert in communications and crisis management.
Joann Bell was the first appointed Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs in 1992 under then Governor Robert P. Casey. The commission is one of only three such commissions in the United States. Ms. Bell coordinated the activities of a twenty-five-member commission, and served as an important liaison between the Governor’s office and the African American community in Pennsylvania. The commission under Ms. Bell’s leadership was one of the Commonwealth’s most effective advocates for African Americans in areas such as legislation, education, economic development, health, housing, and human services.
Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Ms. Bell was the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Affirmative Action in Philadelphia. As the Affirmative Action Officer for the City of Philadelphia, Ms. Bell was responsible for a number of duties including the review of hiring and promotion practices of all city departments, boards, and commissions as well as assisting in the drafting of policy and procedures for adoption and implementation of affirmative action.
Joann Bell’s community involvement spans three decades and includes a broad representation of interest and activity. Ms. Bell is the recipient of numerous awards and has been honored by dozens of organizations including: Women’s Way, Women’s Alliance, Zoological Employees, NAACP’s Exemplar Award, Operation Push Award, Blacks Networking for Progress, Coalition of 100 Black Women, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Black Women’s Council for Leadership, and Central Pennsylvania NAACP Trailblazer Award.
DR. Emma Chappell
Dr. Emma Chappell was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of United Bank. She formerly served as Associate Treasurer of the District of Columbia (Washing DC) and the National Chair for the African American Commission of Democratic National Committee.
For more than 30 Years Emma worked for Continental Bank of Philadelphia, where she rose through the ranks to become the First African American woman to be elected Vice President of any major bank in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She has been active in the Civil Rights movement for many years and helped to organize the National Rainbow Coalition in Chicago Illinois. In 1984, Emma was the National Treasurer of the Reverend Jesse Jackson for President Campaign. She also served as a member of Governor Robert P. Casey’s and
President Bill Clinton’s Economic Development Committees. President Clinton also appointed her to serve as Treasurer of the Southern African Enterprise Fund ($100 million fund) for 10 years making loans to Black South African businesses after the fall of Apartheid.
Dr. Chappell has received over 700 Awards most recently receiving “the Philadelphia Living Legend” Award from the City Council of Philadelphia and the Rosa Parks Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity of New Jersey. Emma is a proud mother of two daughters and grandmother of two grandchildren.
Rhonda Hill Wilson, Esq
Rhonda Hill Wilson, Esquire is an attorney with the Law Office of Rhonda Hill Wilson, P.C. Ms. Hill Wilson represents individuals and families in automobile negligence, premises liability, nursing home and medical negligence and wrongful death cases. Ms. Hill Wilson is past president of the National Bar Association’s Women’s Law Division–Philadelphia and a past member of the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) and its National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Ms. Wilson in the past has served on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and was a past national officer holding the positions of Parliamentarian and Secretary. Locally, Ms. Hill Wilson has previously served on the Board of Governors and was the co-chair for the Women’s Committee for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice. She is on the Board of Governors for the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. She is a member of the Academy of Trial Advocacy Attorneys. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia. She has been awarded
the Austin Norris Award for Community Service by the Barrister’s Association in 2013 and the President’s Award by the National Bar Association in 1994 and 2012.
Ms. Hill Wilson also hosted for “Truth Rising” heard on WURD, 900 AM, Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. On “Truth Rising,” Ms. Hill Wilson discussed local, national and international legal and political issues until 2009.