Kim Andrews has been Executive Director of this organization since 2010. As Executive Director, Kim administers Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, oversees the annual Philadelphia Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, leads the US-Japan Business & Public Policy series, and directs JASGP’s additional Japanese arts, business, and cultural educational programs. She holds a B.A. in Art History and French from Temple University, an M.A. in Preventive Conservation from Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University.
Most recently, she negotiated and executed the merger of JASGP and FJHG to form a $1+ million budget organization in 2016. She has overseen comprehensive strategic planning and implementation in tandem with new board development and training, and has raised over $1.5 million for five capital projects and simultaneous ambitious capacity-building. Visitation, giving, staffing, and programming at Shofuso more than tripled under her leadership, with the organization’s annual budget reflecting that growth.
A lifelong Philadelphian who was previously a preservation consultant to over fifty cultural heritage organizations, Kim is a founding board member and former president of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA). She currently serves on the board of the Business Association of West Parkside.
Gregory Chalikes earned an A.A.S. in Computer Graphics: Game Design & Development from Camden County College (NJ). He then went on to earn his B.A. in Asian Studies with focus on Japanese language and culture from Temple University in 2017, as well as a certificate in Asian Business. It was during his time at Temple University that Greg studied abroad in Tokyo (TUJ) from 2015-2016 and subsequently became an intern with the JASGP from 2016-2017.
Since then, Greg has kept himself immersed with his passion by working as a line cook at a Japanese restaurant, working as the operations manager for a Japanese craft beer importer, and finally returning back to the JASGP. Here, he assists with planning, organizing, and running day-of logistics for various programs and events.
In his leisure, Greg enjoys horror films, golfing and dodgeball, fantasy football, trying new hot sauces, and is an ardent follower of esports, including LCS, CWL, RLCS, OWL, and CS:GO (go Cloud9+100T!).
Edward Derbes joined JASGP in 2019 after earning his MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, where he taught English, served as the prose editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and taught creative writing in Singapore as a Piper Foundation Global Teaching Fellow. Prior to graduate school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for several years at San Francisco Bay Area startups and in higher education as a copywriter, communications specialist, and marketing specialist.
Associate Director of Programs and Partnerships
Aaron Dilliplane has been with JASGP since 2009, previously serving as Assistant Director. Aaron steers JASGP programs committee and manages several major programs, including: the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, the US-Japan Business and Public Policy Series, and Japanese Classroom. Aaron also led the post merger re-brand project that was completed in 2018.
Aaron earned B.A.s in Political Science and Japanese Studies, graduating with honors from Gettysburg College (PA). He also speaks Japanese fluently, having passed the JLPT Level 2 in 2007. Prior to joining JASGP, he worked as an Assistant Language Teacher in Tsushima City (Nagasaki, Japan) where he taught elementary, junior high, and adult English classes. Aaron is an avid reader and aspiring National Park adventurer.
Corporate Relations Manager
Lois Giovacchini joined the team at JASGP in Fall 2019 to take charge of garnering corporate support for JapanPhilly2020 and beyond. Lois works with business, education and non-profit leaders in developing financial resources and support for programs and exhibits. Starting in 2020 she will also be managing the U.S.-Japan Business & Public Policy series and its corporate newsletter.
Lois is a seasoned development professional with over 25 years of experience as a fund-raising executive. She has worked with numerous civil rights and social justice organizations locally and internationally, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Pennsylvania SPCA, Jewish communal organizations known as Federations, and others. In her time working for social benefit organizations, Giovacchini has raised over $50 million to support their missions.
Lois is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Near Eastern Languages and Literature. She lives in New Jersey with her adult son and two adorable pugs, Pickle & Pepper.
Associate Director of Administration and Operations
Margo Jackson oversees administration and operations for the JASGP team. Prior to joining JASGP, Margo held a number of leadership roles at Philadelphia based organizations in arts and culture, real estate and residential building. Margo earned a B.F.A. in Architectural History & Design from Arcadia University and an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College. Now, Margo joins JASGP to purse her interests in cultural nonprofits and the arts.
Associate Director of Development and Data Analytics
Kara Petraglia received her B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and her M.F.A. in Book Arts/Printmaking at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is also certified in Fundraising Event Management through the Event Leadership Institute.
After completing her B.F.A., Kara began her career in nonprofit fundraising with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and then as the Membership and Development Associate at Queens Council on the Arts.
Following those roles, Kara’s interest in how nonprofits utilize technological solutions to best serve their audiences brought her to Fractured Atlas, a non-profit art service and technology organization. As the Technology Programs Specialist, she was the in-house usability testing consultant and customer service manager for the Artful.ly and Space Finder services.
Since 2012, Kara has been with Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, and is now the Associate Director of Development and Data Analytics for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. Here she manages all membership activities and individual giving, provides support for sponsorships and grants, and is the database administrator.
Outside of her role with JASGP, Kara is on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Center for the Book, and is a book artist, writer, and printmaker who exhibits her work nationally.
Membership and Development Associate
Caroline recently earned a B.S. double major in Art History and Entertainment & Arts Management from Drexel University, along with a minor in Business Administration. Through Drexel’s co-op program, she completed internships at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has also worked in visitor services, art education, and gallery operations. Her professional interests include museum accessibility, arts engagement, and nonprofit fundraising.
Caroline joined JASGP in April 2019, and provides support for membership processing and communications, database administration, fundraising, and related events. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys making fiber art (particularly weaving, knitting, and embroidery), reading, and the Philly arts and music scene.
Sandi Polyakov oversees the maintenance and development of Shofuso’s traditional Japanese Gardens. The scope of his work entails equally the physical care of the garden’s horticultural specimens, pathways, and spaces; and an ongoing exploration of traditional Japanese Garden philosophy and techniques.
Coming from a professional background in ornamental gardening, Sandi has also lectured regionally on various ethnobotanical topics including wild food foraging and plant-based crafts. He studied painting at the Tyler School of Art, with an emphasis on composition, and currently maintains a diverse craft-oriented practice spanning from knifemaking to basketry. When not in the garden, Sandi enjoys devising functional knots and venturing into nature’s more seldom trodden places.
Visitor Services Supervisor
Christina Schank first visited Shofuso during the 2012 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, and from there she began to volunteer at Shofuso’s annual clean up days in order to be involved at the site. She joined the JASGP staff in 2017 as a Visitor Services Assistant with an extensive background in customer service. Her love of Shofuso showed through her dedication to maintaining and interpreting the site and in January 2019 she became the Visitor Services Supervisor. She now schedules and facilitates all group tours in addition to overseeing the visitor service staff. During the off-season she also leads preservation efforts which includes replacing the shoji paper on the doors and windows of the house.
Christina’s lifelong interest in Japanese culture, language, and aesthetics started with her first exposures to anime and manga at young age. During her time at Philadelphia University from 2012-2015 where she majored in Animation she had the chance to pursue her love of Japan through her art and Japanese language courses. In her free time, she continues to create manga inspired illustrations as well as study Japanese. She passed the JLPT Level 4 in December 2018, and plans to keep studying until she passes the JLPT Level 1 that will bring her to fluency.
Shofuso Site Manager
After spending years in service industry management, James Webster joined the visitor service staff at Shofuso during the summer of 2015. There he found a passion for working on site, preserving the house and garden while sharing its rich history and beauty with the public. He joined the administrative staff full-time in 2016.
His lifelong interest in Japanese history and culture has been heightened by Shofuso, where he now holds the title of Site Manager. Entering into his fourth year with the organization, James develops cultural programming, plans preservation efforts, manages the visitor service staff, and has been working to expand the scope of Shofuso’s accessibility efforts.
A frequent traveller to Japan, he has visited the temples and gardens that provided the inspiration for Shofuso, all while becoming immersed in Zen Buddhism and Shinto tradition.
Outside of the office, James is a classically trained composer, pianist, and electronic musician, as well as a visual artist, videographer, and 3D animator. He regularly performs nationally as well as in Japan.
JapanPhilly 2020 Program Manager
Yuka’s interest in mid-century design and architecture grew while working for Sori Yanagi Design Institute and studying at the Woman’s College of Art (Joshi Bijutsu Daigaku) in Japan. Her areas of interest expanded to artist communities and activism in twentieth century including the Mingei Movement. After finishing curatorial training at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and earning M.A. in Museum Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Yuka worked at museums and art galleries in Japan, Philadelphia, and New York.
Since 2009, Yuka has operated a contemporary art gallery called Marginal Utility in the Callowhill neighborhood in Philadelphia with her husband. Through this gallery, she has created opportunities to engage and work on projects with local communities, cultural institutions, and international artists residency programs to represent artists from diverse backgrounds.
At JASGP, Yuka is a liaison between organizations to help them work together while developing collaborative relationships for JapanPhilly 2020.