Sarah Steltz Rejoins University City District as Senior Vice President of Strategy

Sarah Steltz
Jan 23, 2024 5 months ago

Today UCD is very excited to announce that noted civic leader Sarah Steltz has rejoined our organization in the new role of Senior Vice President of Strategy. 

Sarah was hired as UCD’s Vice President for Workforce Solutions in 2018, was promoted to Executive Director for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, and departed in 2021 to accept a position as the Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department. She then most recently served as the Vice President, Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.   

During her first tenure with UCD, Sarah left an indelible mark. Over 3 years, Sarah helped us build out the infrastructure of the Skills Initiative as we became a nationally recognized model for workforce training; brought excellent, talented team members to WPSI to substantially grow our program capacity; led the expansion of our partnerships with large municipal employers and citywide participants; created important certification partnerships to enable our graduates to earn more and advance faster and further; and facilitated significant growth of our alumni programming, especially through the economic difficulties of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her roles since departing UCD, Sarah focused on broader issues of economic development, economic competitiveness, business attraction, high-level public-private sector partnership building, and strategic planning and messaging. In her most recent role with the Chamber, Sarah provided strategic direction and leadership in support of the Chamber’s mission to enhance the Greater Philadelphia region’s overall competitiveness by attracting and expanding companies, capital, and talent in key growth sectors. 

"Strong organizations run on talent, and we are thrilled to bring an incredibly talented leader in Sarah Steltz back to University City District,” noted UCD President Matt Bergheiser. “Sarah is widely respected across Philadelphia for her depth of expertise in economic development and her ability to build enduring collaborations to tackle key civic issues. She will help lift our work to higher levels of impact in this exciting new role.” 

Sarah’s new role at UCD will help to shape, communicate and advance the strategic growth of the organization, and the strategic positioning of the neighborhood as a powerhouse for economic dynamism and opportunity, and will include: 

  • overall leadership of strategic communications, resource development, key new initiatives and long-term organizational planning; 
  • building out UCD’s leadership in policy and data analysis work, broadly sharing UCD learnings, results, ideas and advocacy; 
  • leading economic competitiveness efforts to promote University City to regional and national business audiences, supporting the work of major development projects and institutions to recruit globally-competitive entrepreneurs, companies and researchers 
  • coordinating efforts across UCD and the neighborhood to support the local small business community in ongoing post-pandemic recovery efforts, and to support landlords and developers in recruitment of retail tenants 
  • engaging the University City life sciences sector as essential stakeholders in the future of the neighborhood 


"I’m honored to be returning to the UCD team and can’t wait to be back in University City, where I’ve spent most of my career," Sarah said. "The energy in West Philadelphia is just incredible. Whether we’re talking about new jobs being created, lifesaving discoveries at the universities, vibrant retail corridors like Baltimore Avenue, or neighborhoods rich with arts and culture, there’s no better place to be, and I’m excited to get to work."