Well City Challenge: Everyday Innovators in Action

Health & Wellness
Social Justice & Impact

Event Details


Day 2 - September 10, 2022

The Well City Challenge is a social impact competition that engages and funds everyday innovators with new creative ideas for addressing Philadelphia’s health and wellness challenges.

Hear from past participants and awardees of last year's challenge to see what they are up to now, in addition to learning about future opportunities to apply to Well City Challenge in 2023.


Speaker Information
Nicole Headshot

Nicole E. Kenney, MPP

Nicole E. Kenney, MPP is a social entrepreneur with 15 years of combined experience working on research, policy, programs, and communications with a focus on racial, gender, and economic equity. She is the founder and CEO of It Starts With Me, LLC, a social impact consultancy, and the founder and CEO of Hey Auntie! a digital platform and community connecting Black women across ages and life stages to learn the rules, gain the tools, and deepen the networks to thrive at home, work, and everywhere in between. Nicole was awarded the 50K Grand Prize for Hey Auntie! in the #WellCityChallenge in 2021. Nicole also formerly served as the senior communications associate at the National NAACP in Washington, D.C., where she helped lead internal and external communications to uplift the work of the NAACP both nationally and internationally. Fun facts - Nicole is a filmmaker and also a strength-training fitness instructor at her childhood YMCA in West Philadelphia.


Esther Hio-Tong Castillo

Dr. Esther Hio-Tong Castillo

Dr. Esther Hio-Tong Castillo an educator and mental health and social justice advocate with expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) matters. She has more than two decades of working experience in education as a teacher, counselor, community advocate and faculty in various educational settings, including youth programs, adult education and higher education. Dr. Castillo is a proud biracial queer woman, first-generation college student and 1.5 generation immigrant. Her identity and life story has strengthened her dedication to improving mental wellness and equities for underserved communities. She's the Founder of the Chinese Immigrant Families Wellness Initiative (CIFWI). Currently, she works at the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, where she is responsible for community-based equity work, including increasing COVID-19 vaccine accessibility, promoting mental health, and advocating for racial equity.


Jie Bin Chen

Jie Bin Chen

Jie Bin Chen, N.C.C. (National Certified Counselor) is a Pre-Licensed Professional Counselor and wellness educator with over ten years of experience working in mental health, nutrition, culinary, and educational settings. He is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and social justice. Jie Bin is a proud first generation immigrant and college graduate, and the founder of Brain Gut Heart (BGH) Wellness. He has a passion and curiosity for neuropsychology, and a deep awareness and understanding of the powerful connection that food has to our wellness and identity. Jie Bin developed BGH Wellness to educate and empower communities to take back control of their health and to advocate for their needs. His dream is to open a community center from a trauma-informed lens and with an integrative approach, where people can receive primary care, dietetic and mental health support, collaborating their care with an interprofessional team.

Tia Headshot

Tia Abdulhadi

Tia Abdulhadi is the Well City Challenge Program Associate at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. She is responsible for assisting the program's progress, facilitating community engagements, and building and maintaining partnerships with local stakeholders around Public Health ventures. After graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Community and Environment Development, Tia returned to Philadelphia to begin her career in the non-profit world. Her background includes direct mental and physical health care, agricultural economics, and professional arts, which informs her authentically well-rounded approach to Community Development Work. Prior to this position, she led Neighborhood Revitalization efforts with Habitat for Humanity. Tia grew up aspiring to protect and empower Philadelphia's marginalized communities and as a queer, black woman, she is proud to leverage her education, personal skills, talents, and connections to do just that. Tia believes that the best leaders invest in their overall wellness. Outside of developing and coordinating community ventures, she is a certified spiritual worker who enjoys hiking, learning vegan recipes, and creating visual art.