iHeartMedia Communities: Philadelphia

iHeartMedia Communities: Philadelphia

iHeartMedia PHL Community Page provides information relevant to residents of our local Philadelphia listening area including the podcasts What's Going On and Insight along with videos of our streaming Town Hall Meetings, news you can use, and a spotli


Our 2023 Women of Excellence Nominees

Sharrie Williams is the co-anchor of Action News at 5 and Action News at 10 on PHL17.

Sharrie joined the Action News team in March 2014 as an anchor of the 5:00 pm newscast and reporter on Action News at 11. Sharrie's work is rooted in strong reporting, both in-studio and live from the scene. She anchored on location from several Big Stories in Philadelphia, including the 2017 N.F.L. Draft, the 2016 Democratic National Convention and Pope Francis' visit to the World Meeting of Families in 2015. She has also traveled around the country, reporting from the first Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the inauguration of President Trump. Sharrie was also honored to have the opportunity to interview legendary ABC News host Barbara Walters when she signed off the air for the last time.

Before arriving in Philadelphia, Sharrie was the weekend anchor and weekday reporter at KTVT-TV in Dallas, Texas. While in Dallas, Sharrie covered major events that made national and international headlines, including Texas' record-breaking winter ice storms and Super Bowl XLV. Prior to working in North Texas, Sharrie spent three years in Miami covering a gamut of stories....from traveling to Haiti in the wake of the four hurricanes of 2008, and later the 2010 earthquake, to covering legal trials of the rich and famous. Sharrie was also front and center when all eyes were on the Miami Heat, covering Shaquille O'Neal's departure in 2008, and LeBron James' much-anticipated decision to join the team in 2010. Success South Florida Magazine selected Sharrie for the "Top 40 Under 40," and she was featured on the publication's cover. With a passion for knowledge and information, Sharrie has a gift for getting the people she interviews to open up and tell their story.

Sharrie's work has also taken her to Birmingham, Alabama, where she was an anchor/reporter for both news and sports at WVTM-TV, and prior to that, Jackson, Tennessee, where she was a news anchor at WBBJ-TV. She earned her undergraduate degree in broadcasting communications from the University of Tennessee. In fact, she began her journalism career while still in college, producing feature stories on Tennessee Volunteer athletes for Fox Sports Net South. In September of 2017, Sharrie was presented the University of Tennessee Alumni Promise Award.

Sharrie enjoys traveling (she can't wait to travel to Africa), listening to live music (Eryka Badu, Blake Shelton and Maxwell are among her favorites) and attending major sporting events. A native of Albany, Georgia, she is the product of a close-knit family which includes her parents, three siblings and now five nieces and one nephew. In her free time, Sharrie is an active volunteer for many community groups and charities, and is passionate about mentoring young girls. Sharrie's parents are truly her role models but she also has a deep admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of her favorite quotes from Dr. King is, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Letter From Birmingham Jail.

Aja Graydon Dantzler - Singer & Songwriter – Kindred the Family Soul

Aja Graydon is one-half of married soul duo Kindred The Family Soul, as well as a songwriter, published author, digital media and podcast host, wife, mother and entrepreneur. Together with her husband Fatin Dantzler, Aja has recorded seven studio albums chronicling their love and the steady growth of their family of six children. 

Growing up in Washington DC, she got her start in the entertainment business by way of youth theater, grabbing her first professional gig at 8 years old in the Cannonball Aderly composed musical "Shout Up A Morning". After making a debut on a nationally televised talent showcase, she landed a record deal as a teenager. Thankfully that led to several years of artist development that would eventually place her in a songwriting session with her future husband and collaborator. 

Along with 7 recorded albums and one live album, the award winning musical couple has also produced several web series including “Six Is It,” a look into their lives as parents and artists which resulted in the entire family becoming the face of a summer Walmart campaign. Other projects include TV One acquired "Share My Ride", an intimate look at the ride share experience and "Kindred Presents",a live and virtual event which features in depth interviews and performances from black culture icons from music, politics, digital media, film and TV. 

Currently, Aja serves as co-host on J.ill The podcast along with legendary Philadelphia artist Jill Scott and award winning media personality Laiya St.Clair. Chiming in on everything from self care to gentrification. Aja also lent her political and social point of view to guest hosting on Philadelphia flagship, WURD as well. She has been published by the New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and was a contributor to the critically acclaimed anthology, “How We Fight White Supremacy,” published in 2019.

Community has always been a priority for Aja. Kindred The Family Games, which she co-founded, is a free event for families to promote fun physical activity and community health and wellness. She also contributes annually to raising funds for food distribution with Grassroots Community Foundation during the Thanksgiving season, supporting their campaigns around literacy and youth mental wellness as well. Culture and education are deeply important to her. In an effort to address the unique concerns facing Black parents, caregivers and mentors she created a forum and panel event entitled "Parenting While Black". 

This year marks 25 years of marriage to her creative and business partner Fatin Dantzler. They also celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album Surrender To Love. This year they welcomed their first grandchild while still performing to audiences all over the country and the world.

Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati - CEO/Founder of The African American Children’s Book Project (AACBP)

Edith Mitchell is a force. The decorated researcher and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital oncologist has accomplished so many “firsts” that even she can’t keep track of them.

In 2001, she was named the first female physician in United States Air Force history to achieve the rank of Brigadier General, which in some countries is the highest field rank in the armed forces. In 2015, she became the first female medical oncologist to serve as president of the National Medical Association, the nation’s oldest professional society for black physicians. Last year, Thomas Jefferson University named Mitchell its academician of the year — she was the first black woman chosen to receive that honor. And on Tuesday night, Mitchell became the first black woman to receive the PHL Life Sciences’ Ultimate Solution Award, an honor given annually to an individual or organization that has raised Philadelphia’s profile as a life sciences meeting and convention destination.

Despite her many accolades, Mitchell says she never set out to put the spotlight on herself. Instead, she’s dedicated her more than 40 years career to rooting out inequities in healthcare and helping the most commonly underserved and underrepresented populations gain access to the latest advances in medicine and science.

“I don’t ask about being the first; people come up to tell me. I didn’t do anything to become a first doing it. I did it because of my passion for what I do,” Mitchell told NextHealth PHL. “I try to do the best I can in any given situation, and I work with people across all avenues to improve lives. If I can work with others to bring healthcare delivery to the communities of all Philadelphians, I’m going to do just that.”

Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in chronically underserved areas, promoting healthy lifestyle choices and advocating for patient access to preventative care. In 2012, she established the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities within the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson to provide educational resources and community outreach to at-risk populations in the Philadelphia region, reducing barriers to quality medical care.

Mitchell is the eighth recipient of the annual award presented by PHL Life Sciences, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). Previous winners of the Ultimate Solution Award include former Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter; American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) CEO, Margaret Foti; LabCorp CEO, David King; and chair of Delaware BIO, Christopher Yochim.

Bonnie Grant, the executive director of PHLCVB, says Mitchell’s distinguished career led the committee to select her as the recipient of this year’s award.

“I think healthcare disparity is a topic that deserves attention. I’m a 20-year cancer survivor, and I know I was very blessed and lucky to have a great insurance policy and to have access to great healthcare, but that’s not always the case for everybody,” Grant said. “I believe Dr. Mitchell is committed and has been committed to raising awareness about disparities in the field of cancer, and I think she’s changed many lives because of that.”

According to Grant, Mitchell has also played a key role in her group’s effort to improve Philadelphia’s standing as a leading hub for life sciences and a prime destination for major life sciences conferences. Over the years, Mitchell has worked closely with the PHLCVB to bring influential conventions and conferences to Philadelphia, including when she brought the National Medical Association’s annual meeting to Philadelphia in 2015 while she served as the organization’s 116th president.

“I am a big proponent of life sciences and science education, not only for students but for the community, and for individuals, and for the advancement of medicine and science,” Mitchell said.

“I’ve always been one who has worked to bridge silos in many areas, to make sure that we are using our resources to move good ideas ahead. I am so happy to be a part of bringing things and people together, and I am so deeply honored to receive this award.”

Photo: Martin Regusters

Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, MGA, FAAN  

President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation 

Vice President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross  


Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake is president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation), and the vice president of community affairs at Independence Blue Cross (Independence). 

In her role for the Foundation, she leads strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to fulfill the Foundation’s mission to lead sustainable solutions that improve the health and wellness of the community. While overseeing grant-making work, Marshall-Blake steered the Foundation to be a collaborator, innovator, convener of diverse organizations, and thought leader in addressing emerging health needs in southeastern Pennsylvania. 

As the vice president of community affairs, Marshall-Blake develops and manages relationships with community partners to advance Independence’s social mission efforts. 

Marshall-Blake is devoted to her church and community. She serves as an associate minister at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia. In addition, she is affiliated with more than 30 professional and civic organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the United Negro College Fund, and was the 28th President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Omega Chapter.  She has been recognized for her leadership and community service by diverse organizations such as the NAACP, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Tribune, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. She has also been recognized with numerous awards and was listed among the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 100, an exclusive list recognizing area leaders who are shaping the future of Greater Philadelphia. Marshall-Blake serves on more than 25 non-profit boards and committees of local, state, and national organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield Association -- Corporate Responsibility Committee, Chamber’s Paradigm Award & Scholarship Committee, the Urban Affairs Coalition, and the Urban League of Philadelphia. She also serves on Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions Executive Advisory Council, Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden Dean’s Leadership Circle and The Forum For Executive Women.  

Marshall-Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Antioch College, a master’s in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Albright College and an honorary doctorate of Health Care Innovation from Harcum College. She is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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