©2016 PhillyCAM – Philadelphia Community Access Media

2020 Board Election Results


 Here are the results of the 2020 PhillyCAM Board Election.


Both candidates in the Self-Nominated Category were each elected to a two-year term.

Shameka Sawyer: 56

Derwood Selby: 48

All 3 candidates nominated by an Organization Category were re-elected to the board for 2-year terms.

Denise James:  61
Gigi Nikpour:  56
Pascale Vallée: 57

The candidate nominated by a Media Justice Organization was re-elected to the Board for a 2-year term.
Ernest Owens: 56


New Members:

Shameka Sawyer, of West Oak Lane, began producing short narrative films in 2014 and is the founder of the 5 Shorts Project that assists aspiring filmmakers and playwrights with writing and producing short films and stage plays. A mother of four, she is inspired by Ava Duvernay and Issa Rae and aspires to attain a similar status in the industry and make content that people can relate to and show experiences of women of color in a different light. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in communication and a minor in theater.

Derwood Selby, of Germantown, has a broad range of life and career experiences including chef, producer/host of a radio and television show, food and beverage manager at a 5-star hotel, co-founder of a wine company, logistics coordinator, former military spouse, doting father, and world traveler. His skillset and experiences have given him a unique perspective that cuts across racial, ethnic, religious, and political lines. He also is the host of the WPPM radio program The Selby Signature Show. 

Re-Elected Members:

Denise James, of Fairmount, is an experienced journalist, multimedia content creator, and teacher.  She's worked in Detroit, at the nation's first Black-owned television station in Greensboro, Durham, and then Philadelphia at 6abc Action News. She is known for thorough, creative, inclusive coverage, and for telling stories that reflect marginalized people's truths in empowering ways. Now as a college instructor and coach, she helps evolving journalists develop their skills. She has her own production company and she champions transparency and positive police-community relations as Communications Director at the Philadelphia Police Department. She was nominated for the Board by Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University.

Gigi Nikpour, of Center City, is a paralegal with Community Legal Services (CLS) in its home ownership and consumer rights unit where she assists attorneys in saving Philadelphia's low-income homeowners from foreclosure and other home ownership challenges. She was previously a paralegal with CLS in the Aging & Disabilities unit where she assisted seniors, people with disabilities, and other individuals and families with a wide range of health and public benefits issues. She is a commissioner with the Mayor's Commission on LGBT affairs and serves as chair of the LGBT Elder Advisory Committee where she advocates for the aging and long-term care needs of the elder LGBT population in Philadelphia. She was nominated for the Board by Community Legal Services.

Ernest Owens, of West Philadelphia, is an award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. He is a Writer at Large for Philadelphia Magazine. As an openly black gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture. He serves on the board of directors of Philadelphia Community Access Media, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and New Leaders Council PHL. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied communication and public service. Currently, he is working towards his Masters in Communication Management from the University of Southern California while also expanding his media advocacy brand. His work has been featured in The New York Times, NBC News, NPR, CNN, USA Today, BET, MTV News, and other media outlets. He recently was named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and received the 2019 NEXT Award by the American Society of Magazine Editors. He was nominated for the Board by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

Pascale Vallee, of Center City, works at Liberty Resources, Inc., a non-profit that advocates for and with people with disabilities. She grew up with a fascination and respect for journalism, and later became an English major and Editor-in-Chief for her college newspaper to follow those ideals. As a current Board member, she has been active on the Fundraising, Marketing, and the Appeals committees. She was nominated for the Board by Liberty Resources.

Current Board members include Jihad Ali, Keith Brand, Elizabeth Estrada, Charles Gregory (Chair), Liz Fitzgerald, Melanie Harris (Secretary), Susan Hauck, Anthony Mazza, Kyle Odum, Lorne Peart, Lauren Settles, and Len Webb (Vice-Chair).