Young Professionals Council

The mission of Playworks PA’s Young Professional Council is to support the goals of Playworks Pennsylvania through fundraising and community outreach efforts among a new generation of supporters.

Composition: A group of professionals, aged 21-30(ish), who support the mission and goals of Playworks PA.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion are highly valued.

Structure: Membership will comprise of approximately 10-15 young professionals from the Philadelphia area.

Meetings:  Quarterly in-person meetings and separate committee meetings scheduled in between.

Benefits to members include:

  • Opportunity to learn how boards work and how to be an effective board member
  • Develop mentoring relationships with Regional Board members and staff
  • Network with like-minded peers
  • Get on the ground floor of an emerging young professionals council
  • Volunteer opportunities

Interested in joining?

Matt Atkins

Senior Associate

Matt Atkins is currently a management consultant professional at pureIntegration, located in Philadelphia PA. Matt specializes in bringing innovative technology products to the market, such as the multifamily Internet of Things product he manages. Prior to joining pureIntegration, he worked as an analyst for ICF an energy consulting firm.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys volunteering for the Queens Village Neighborhood Association Grants Committee and the Project Home Rising Leaders Committee. When he isn’t volunteering his time, he can be found playing pickup basketball at Seger Park or searching for fresh snow to ski in Sugarbush, VT.


Sharita Collins

Building Freedom Real Estate & Grashes Design

Sharita Collins is a business owner of two companiesBuilding Freedom Real Estate, which she manages with her husband and Grashes Design, a branding and marketing company. She is also a six year and counting Playworks fan. Becoming a part of the Playworks family as a Coach in January 2012 was life changing and the love for the work that Playworks does continues to grow daily for Sharita.

Sharita is also a proud member of the Young Alumni Leadership Program (YALP) through Gettysburg College, where she was trained to be a dynamic leader and make a positive impact within the workplace. She is also a alumni and mentor with the Philadelphia Futures program for high school students and serves as the Graphics and Web Ministry Leader and Stage Director for various plays at the Open Door Mission True Light Church. Sharita enjoys being the wife of Elijah Collins and is the proud mother of two amazing little boys.


Ben Cooper

Director of Program Quality
Sunrise of Philadelphia

Ben Cooper is a lifelong education professional with a passion for helping young people discover the skills and activities that bring them joy. That job, sparked by a summer job as a camp counselor at age sixteen, has led Ben both to the classroom and to a variety of roles within organizations operating in Out-of-School-Time (OST)  and with quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) such as Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS. Whether working directly with youth or supporting educators through program and team development, Ben always seeks opportunities for young people and adults to share their unique skills and interests.

Currently, Ben works as Director of Program Quality for Sunrise of Philadelphia, an Out-of-School Time provider serving more than 400 students daily in after school programs at six Philadelphia public schools. Ben supervises daily operations at Sunrise’s K-8th grade locations and works to enhance programming by developing shared curriculum across sites, coaching staff on best practices and cultivating outside partnerships.

In 2012, Ben was selected to participate in the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Fellowship and his research on staff development was published in the journal Afterschool Matters. Ben also served on several education organization boards and committees in the Philadelphia area. Ben received his B.A. from Haverford College and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership.


Monica Goode

Investment Analyst
The Vanguard Group

Monica Goode is currently an investment analyst for the Vanguard Group located in Malvern, PA. At Vanguard, she is a part of a rotational program where she has the opportunity to explore various segments of the investment management division. Monica‘s first rotation was on Vanguard’s Foreign Exchange trading desk. She is currently rotating on Vanguard’s Global Broker and Index Relations team and is soon set to begin her third rotation within Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Department. Before joining Vanguard, she attended Penn State University where she studied criminology.

Although she did not pursue a career within the criminal justice field, she still can appreciate a good episode of Law and Order here and there. During her free time, Monica enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the city of Philadelphia with her six-year old son.


Darium Poke

Senior Accountant
Baker Tilly

Darium, a Philadelphia native and La Salle University alumnus, is currently a Senior Accountant at Baker Tilly in the firm’s Philadelphia Commercial Services team. He has 4+ years of experience performing financial statement audits primarily in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Darium also has significant experience in auditing employee benefit plans. He recently completed all sections of the Uniform CPA examination and will soon be applying for a CPA license in Pennsylvania.

Outside of work, Darium enjoys spending time with his family and friends, running, and biking on Kelly Drive and the Wissahickon trails. He recently completed the Young Involved Philadelphia’s Board Prep Program, a training course for young professionals interested in serving on boards. Darium is passionate about Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and mentorship. He participates in his firm’s recruiting activities and D&I initiatives and is an active member of the National Association of Black Accountants. Darium has always enjoyed being a part of inclusive teams and believes that through play, kids can learn how to cooperate and have fun.


Lauren Sullivan

Morgan Lewis

Lauren Sullivan is an associate in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice group at Morgan Lewis. In her practice, she regularly advises clients on issues related to health and welfare plans, qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, and executive and equity compensation arrangements.  Lauren is also very active in the firm’s pro-bono practice as well. Lauren graduated from Penn State University and Temple University Beasley School of Law.

When not working, Lauren loves staying active with long hikes in the Wissahickon, trying all the city’s yoga classes, and any other new workout. She also enjoys eating her way through the amazing Philadelphia restaurants. Lauren lives in the East Passyunk area of Philadelphia with her husband and puppy.