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Men on the Move: Philly's Top 4 Movers & Shakers

By A.D. Amorosi, Kristin Detterline, Sarah Jordan and Robert Strauss | April 3, 2019 | People

What do you get when you combine a university president, museum executive director, Broadway guru and music producer? A fascinating quartet of individuals who are setting the stage for personal and professional triumph in 2019 and beyond.

Ali Houshmand


Even when he’s away from work, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand is still thinking about work—especially when he’s busy with his favorite pastimes. Two of those are cooking and gardening (he started sharing the hot sauce he made with peppers from his garden with friends). “Three years ago, someone asked me for 10 jars to auction off for scholarships,” says Houshmand, whose journey from deep poverty in Iran to working in academia is a true rags-to-riches story... Read More.

Thom Collins


There’s no denying the professorial vibe of Thom Collins, the Neubauer Family executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation. Maybe it’s his infectious enthusiasm about art or his precise erudition on a sweeping array of topics. “It’s the opportunity to learn that energizes me,” says Collins, “from artists, business people, educators, colleagues, the public...” And those tortoiseshell eyeglasses he wears don’t hurt either. But, Collins, who has led the Barnes since 2015, has replaced the institution’s stuffy reputation with a vibrant inclusivity. He and his staff have made the Barnes a place to gather, learn and exchange ideas... Read More.

Jarrod Spector


To make it in acting, one must excel at pretending to be other people. Philadelphia native Jarrod Spector is uniquely skilled at pretending to be other people who happen to be real people. He starred in the blockbuster musical Jersey Boys for six years as Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli, then went on to play another real-life role in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Spector’s portrayal of songwriter Barry Mann nabbed him a Tony Award nomination in 2014. Since December 2018, he’s been decked out in bell bottoms playing the part of Sonny Bono in The Cher Show... Read More.

Mike Jackson


Philly-born film and television producer Mike Jackson doesn’t get home much to visit friends and family these days. Rest assured, however, that Philly is never far from his mind, no matter how hectic things get for the co-founding partner and producer at Get Lifted Film Co., a venture he shares with one-time local John Legend. “Philly is about always hustling,” says Jackson, who is spending time in London this spring for an upcoming lm project... Read More.

Photography by: Photography by (From Top to Bottom) Dave Moser, Michael Perez, J. Countess/Getty Images and Mike Rosenthal