Our Staff and Board

Who We Are

There are two arms of CeaseFirePA, the educational arm CeaseFire Pennsylvania Education Fund (organized under the nonprofit laws of the Commonwealth of PA and recognized as exempt from income tax under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code), and the advocacy arm CeaseFire Pennsylvania, (organized under the nonprofit laws of the Commonwealth of PA and recognized as exempt from income tax under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Service Code).

Our Board of Directors



Shawn Kraemer, President

Alicia Chatkin, Vice President

Jill Zipin, Esq., Vice President

Howard Levin, Treasurer

Board Of Ceasefire Pennsylvania Education Fund

Karen Buck

David Ellowitch

Kathy Ochroch

Harriet Weiss

Laura Morris

Board of Ceasefire Pennsylvania

Ellen Brookstein

Dr. Andrea Kesack

Mayor J. Richard Gray

Adam Kessler

Lila Roomberg

David Scholnick

Helen Tai

Hon. Timothy K. Lewis




Our Staff


Adam Garber

Adam Garber is CeaseFirePA’s executive director. Before joining CeaseFire PA, he worked to protect everyone from dangers in the marketplace at U.S. PIRG where his independent investigations into toxic toys, dangerous cars, contaminated food and other threats received national coverage on CBS This Morning, the New York Times and elsewhere. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade advocating for clean air and water in Pennsylvania at the local, state and national level.  Adam lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and young son, Elon, where he enjoys studying history, exploring the city and cooking.

Christian Soltysiak

Christian serves as CeaseFirePA’s Managing Director. Christian brings her experience as a former small business owner as well as her commitment to civic engagement through her work on Jenkintown Borough Council. She is also a proud AmeriCorps NCCC alum.

Rob Conroy

Rob Conroy is CeaseFirePA’s Director of Organizing. He is an attorney and former prosecutor, an activist who has served on the boards of several Pittsburgh nonprofits/is currently serving as board President at Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton Center, and a journalist who has published in numerous Pennsylvania publications.

Rhona Gerber

Rhona Gerber is CeaseFirePA’s Development Director. Rhona has over twenty-five years of development experience with non-profit and political organizations both as a staff member and as a consultant during her tenure as a partner at Fleischman Gerber and Associates. She is active in many civic organizations, including her local board of elections, Wintershelter and the steering committee for the Center City Kehillah.

Max Milkman

Max Milkman is CeaseFirePA’s Program Specialist. He recently graduated from Temple University with a degree in Political Science. Max specializes in legislative outreach and youth organizing in order to support gun violence prevention policies. He has previously worked on several Pennsylvania political campaigns including helping to elect Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Max also serves as the Pennsylvania Director of March For Our Lives.

Dijonée Talley

Dijonée Talley’s fellowship will focus on working to strengthen the role of youth voices in Pennsylvania’s gun violence prevention policy efforts through a youth led approach. It is a shared fellowship between the Health Promotion Council and CeaseFirePA. Currently, Dijonée is pursuing her PhD in Criminal Justice from Temple University. She brings experience working on violence prevention efforts as an applied researcher, community organizer, and educator. She has conducted evaluations and developed programming for YouthStat, a school-based intervention that seeks to reduce justice involvement, and developed policy skills while staffing the Connecticut legislature’s Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee. She also has a long track record of educating young people, including most recently overseeing Ourchive’s Youth Justice Advocacy program. Dijonée holds a BA in social thought and political economy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MS in criminal justice and forensic psychology from the University of New Haven.

Kallel Edwards

Kallel Edwards is the Philadelphia Campaign Organizer for CeaseFirePA. In his decade of organizing and issue-based advocacy, he has worked to establish fair sentencing guidelines at Families Against Mandatory Minimums and advocated for immigrant rights with Make the Road. He has extensive political experience having served on the Board of Directors for Millenials on Action to encourage urban millennials to play a “substantive role” in regional politics and local elections including Kahlil Williams campaign for Philadelphia Commissioner. Kallel is active in several organizations including the Philadelphia Free Library, Member of Blacks in Government, and the National Coordinator of the Flag program (Future Leaders of American Government). He is an active alum of Cheyney University, Located in Cheyney, PA.

John-Michael Cotignola-Pickens

John-Michael Cotignola-Pickens is CeaseFirePA’s Central Pennsylvania Campaign Organizer. Before joining CeaseFirePA, he spent the past 5 years organizing faith communities to advocate for criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention, immigration and education policies with Mennonite Central Committee and the PA Council of Churches. His work on immigration is featured in the documentary “Las Madres Berks”, which shares testimonials of 4 mothers who were detained in the Berks County Residential Center. John-Michael lives in Harrisburg with his wife, Heather, and their two dogs and one cat. When not trying to improve Central Pennsylvania, John-Michael enjoys riding his bike, kayaking, hiking, reading and cooking for friends and family.