Philly’s Chief DEI Officer Nefertiri Sickout resigns, will join organization set on ending hunger and poverty
Sickout has been in the role officially since May 2021, and will be replaced by Josie B.H. Pickens, effective November 16.
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Mayor Jim Kenney announced today that he has accepted the resignation of Nefertiri Sickout, chief officer of diversity, equity and inclusion at the City of Philadelphia.
Sickout has been with the City since August 2016 in a variety of capacities, most recently being appointed to her current role in May 2021.
“Since the start of this administration, Nefertiri has played a critical role in implementing a racial equity framework across all City departments and cultivating a workforce that best reflects the diversity of Philadelphia communities,” said Mayor Kenney in a statement.
“Her leadership and advocacy brought us several steps closer to achieving a city that truly serves everyone. The organizational work she has led is not easy, and I am grateful for her efforts and vision, and excited to see her embark on the next step in her career where I know she will continue to make a great impact,” he continued.
It was Sickout who led the charge in finalizing the City’s Racial Equity Strategy, which aims to embed racial equity as a governing principle and reduce racial disparities by requiring each department in the City to complete a comprehensive assessment of policies, practices, and programs.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City of Philadelphia alongside Mayor Kenney and to push forward this administration’s bold efforts to create a place where race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, income, or ZIP code are not a determinant of success, and to ensure that much of this work begins within city government,” said Sickout in a press release.
Beginning next month, Sickout will be joining Share Our Strength as its new Senior Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In her role, she will help support the organization’s mission to end hunger and poverty, while providing organization-wide leadership to foster and champion an inclusive workplace culture.
As she embarks on this new career journey, Sickout noted that she is proud of what has been accomplished while at the City, and looks forward to seeing the action plans finalized after her departure.
With Sickout’s imminent departure, effective November 16, comes the appointment of Josie Pickens as the City’s new Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Pickens currently serves as Deputy Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, a role she has filled since December 2021.
In the press release, Pickens notes that she is “honored and humbled to lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and continue working with City departments to evaluate, develop, and implement policies and programs that serve all Philadelphians.”
“I want to thank Mayor Kenney for this opportunity and Nefertiri for her leadership and guidance,” she added.
In her current role, Pickens manages the operations of the office, and implements systems to measure the City’s DE&I performance.
Prior to joining the City, she was a supervising attorney and co-director of the Energy Unity at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, where she led advocacy to improve energy affordability and equitable access to utility customer assistance programs.
Pickens is a born and raised Philadelphia, a graduate of Overbrook High School, and holder of degrees from both Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, and the University of Carolina, Berkeley.
She will begin serving in her new role as Chief Officer of Diveristy, Equity and Inclusion tomorrow, November 16.