Who Are Philly’s 2023 Integrity Icons?

The five phenomenal city workers go above and beyond to move our city forward. Vote today for the people’s choice winner

Who Are Philly’s 2023 Integrity Icons?

The five phenomenal city workers go above and beyond to move our city forward. Vote today for the people’s choice winner

In her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, legendary urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs claimed that “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

In this spirit, The Philadelphia Citizen is proud to announce the most diverse cohort of Integrity Icons yet. These five city workers, through their service to Philadelphia, are striving to achieve the goal Jacobs singled out for cities: Provide something for everybody. All of the winners feel called to serve our city — and all have demonstrated the highest ethics, integrity and devotion to making a difference in the lives of communities around the city.

This year’s 2023 Integrity Icons are:

    • Tu Huynh, Program Manager for the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, who has spent his lifetime supporting artists and art that reflects who we are as a city, our darkest times and our hopes for the future.
    • Maria Andrea Giraldo Gallo, Director of Language Access Programs, a multilingual immigrant from Colombia who welcomed refugees arriving to Philly by plane and by bus, with support in their own language and culturally sensitive resources like prayer mats.
    • Ryan Barksdale, a Community Relations Officer for the Philadelphia Police Department who brings free food to families affected by cancer, hosts community block parties, organizes basketball games and Christmas gift drives, and gives his personal cell phone number to all.
    • Yessenia Gutierrez, Compliance Officer the Office of Worker Protections, who has returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wallets of Philadelphians, helping them navigate complex systems to get the money they deserve.
    • Kea R. Greene, Communications and Community Engagement Manager in the Office of Criminal Justice, a social justice leader who (among other things) has helped nearly 150 Philadelphians expunge criminal records that have been holding them back from transformative jobs and opportunities.

The Citizen launched Integrity Icon Philadelphia in 2020 in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based Accountability Lab, two years after hosting Cheri-Leigh Erasmus, co-CEO at Accountability Lab, at our first-ever Ideas We Should Steal Festival. More than a dozen countries, from Nepal to South Africa, hold Integrity Icon contests to name and fame the public sector workers with the highest ethics. Philly is the first, and still only, American city to host the program.

We have so far named 10 amazing City employees as Integrity Icons. These honorees have continued to do incredible work in their jobs and their city. We found our new crop of winners after putting out a call for nominees at the start of 2023 for City workers who meet the following criteria: They are a high-integrity public service employee who is respectful and caring; know their work makes a difference to people’s lives; act in a trustworthy and transparent way to solve problems the best they can; treat everyone equally, without regard to politics or influence; and go above and beyond to provide good service to Philadelphians.

Readers submitted dozens of excellent nominations. Then, this summer, a panel of high-integrity judges chose the winners. The panel included two previous Integrity Icons — Richard Gordon IV, assistant superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia who spent years as principal of Paul Robeson High School and Rebecca Lopez Kriss, a deputy commissioner in the City’s Revenue Department — as well as Angela Val, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia; Amy Kurland, former Inspector General of the City of Philadelphia; and SEAMAAC Executive Director Thoai Nguyen.

Read about all five icons. Watch them introduce themselves below.


Integrity Icon Philadelphia is made possible in part thanks to the generous support of Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation.


Left to right: Tu Huynh, Maria Giraldo Gallo, Ryan Barksdale, Yessenia Gutierrez, and Kea R. Greene. Photos by Creative Outfit Inc.

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