Virtua announced leadership appointments for the Virtua Foundation Board of Trustees, effective 2019. They are John J. Parker, Sr., chairman; Damien Ghee, vice-chairman; and Richard Silpe, treasurer.

John J. Parker, Sr., chairman, previously served as vice chairman of the Virtua Foundation board. He is managing director of Parker Private Wealth Management Group, Wells Fargo Advisors in Philadelphia. Passionate about philanthropy and making a difference, Parker joined the Virtua Foundation board in 2016 and also serves as a chairman of the American Association for Cancer Research’s “Party with a Purpose.” Parker is a lifelong resident of Voorhees and lives there today with his wife, Veronica, and their three children, all of whom were born at Virtua.

As vice-chair, Damien Ghee offers considerable philanthropic experience gained through his involvement with many regional not-for-profit organizations. Ghee is senior vice president and team leader for the PA-NJ Middle Market & Public Finance Lending Group at TD Bank in Philadelphia. He resides with his wife, son, and two daughters in Cherry Hill.

Richard J. Silpe, board treasurer, brings a wide-range of legal and financial expertise to the board. He is a member of the law firm Cozen O’Connor and serves as co-chair of the firm’s tax practice group. Silpe also practiced as a certified public accountant. Silpe lives with his wife and two children in Cherry Hill.

“It takes a team to build healthy communities. Under the leadership of John Parker, our donors and philanthropic partners are well-positioned to make a true and lasting difference in the lives of South Jersey residents, particularly those from economically distressed neighborhoods,” says David Kindlick, chairman of the Virtua Board of Trustees.

Additionally, Virtua also welcomed Bob Platzer, Marques Colston, John Gillespie, and Brenda O’Brien as the most recent members to join the Virtua Foundation board.

Bob Platzer is the founder and executive chairman of the PJW Restaurant Group which operates 24 restaurants and casual dining concepts across South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Dedicated to giving back, Platzer has been involved with a number of charitable organizations, including the Ronald McDonald House, JDRF, Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, the Catholic Partnership Schools, and so many more. In 2019, Virtua Foundation recognized Platzer with its annual Humanitarian Award. He and his wife, Donna, have two daughters, two grandchildren, and a “work family” of more than 1,900 staff members.

Marques Colston spent several years as a wide receiver with the New Orleans Saints in the National Football League and is now a successful entrepreneur. Notably, Colston helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV and is the team’s all-time franchise leader in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, total touchdowns, and total receptions. After retiring from football, he founded Dynasty Innovation, a consulting firm focused on delivering growth strategy and execution services for small to mid-sized companies in the sports, technology, and health and wellness sectors. Colston holds a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University and a certificate in entrepreneurship and venture investing from Columbia Business School. He now lives in Medford with his family.

John Gillespie is an attorney and executive committee member with the Parker McCay law firm, offering expertise in the areas of municipal law, governmental defense litigation, land use, and redevelopment. Gillespie has been active in numerous not-for-profit institutions, including Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce, Church of St. Isaac Jogues, and Crossroads Runaway Program. He holds an undergraduate degree from Trinity College and a law degree from Villanova University School of Law. Gillespie and his family reside in Marlton.

Brenda O’Brien is a Vice President at SJI, an energy services holding company based in Folsom, NJ. In this role, she oversees the Accounting, Tax and Payroll functions. Prior to SJI, she worked in public accounting for Deloitte’s Philadelphia Audit practice. O’Brien earned a master’s degree from Temple University, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Certified Public Accountant. She resides in Gibbsboro with her husband and two daughters.

“Marques, Brenda, Bob, and John [Gillespie] bring distinct skills and experiences to the board, and possess a shared, deeply felt commitment to helping our community,” says John J. Parker, Sr. “We look forward to the positive and significant impact they will have on enhancing Virtua’s mission through philanthropy.”

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