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Honoring Women’s History Month in Philadelphia

For Women’s History Month, we are celebrating inspiring women in Philadelphia.

The accomplishments of women throughout history have been nothing short of extraordinary. Though women’s rights have come a long way, many still combat unequal pay, discrimination and gender bias on a daily basis. 

Celebrating Women’s History Month in Philadelphia

A Philadelphia native, Ellen Tiberino has art in her genes. Her work has been exhibited in Philadelphia and New York in numerous galleries. Her 2020 mural “Opposing Forces” with other artists as part of the “Color Me Back: A Same Day Work and Pay Program” for Mural Arts Philadelphia.  

WT: How did you get your start in the industry?
Tiberino: I was born into it. My parents were both prominent Philadelphia artists, and I grew up surrounded by the arts. My parents were constantly immersing us in art through their own tutelage, as well as weekend art classes at Moore College of Art and Design and Fleisher Art Memorial. They had a network of talented artist friends who would come to our home and collaborate on art. My mentor Gail Scuderi is one of these artists. I started assisting her with mosaic workshops, and from there, it just blossomed. I remember one day working with students on the Peace Pole Project. I got so into it into such a groove that I didn’t realize when class was over. That was my aha moment; that was when it clicked.

WT: What has been your favorite personal achievement?
Tiberino: That changes with each new achievement. My current favorite is my mural at Suburban Station titled “Opposing Forces.” I created this mural along with artist Al Tull for Mural Arts Philadelphia’s “Color Me Back” project. It was such a wonderful opportunity to bring my art to people through mosaic workshops. This Mural project included art workshops for individuals experiencing economic insecurity. The outcome of these workshops helped to shape the creation of the mural. 

I love to create art that can be experienced by everyone, to have my work immortalized in a public space for the whole city of Philadelphia to enjoy. The last two years were really a dark and depressing time for most people. To be able to bring my mosaic workshops and create something beautiful in the middle of this train station was a wonderful experience. I see this mural as an oasis in the middle of a large bustling train station, and my hope is it will brighten the day of those who pass by. We need more light and beauty in these times.

WT: Can you tell me about any challenges you faced along the way? 
Tiberino: Becoming a successful working artist takes a lot of hard work. It’s a constant struggle. You must self-promote, run your business, and do the work. You have to wear a lot of hats. I am very thankful that my hard work seems to be paying off.

WT: What do you hope the future holds for you and your career?
Tiberino: My dream would be to travel the world creating art with different communities. 

I just got back from Puerto Vallarta, and I was inspired by all the wonderful public art down there, from the sculptures along the Malecon and the mosaics. It’s a town of Mosaic from Natasha Morgana’s massive mosaic installation in Lazaro Cardenas Park and the Mosaic Oasis of Hacienda Mosaico. I like the idea of traveling the world and creating big mosaic murals with the people of different communities. It’s what I do now in Philadelphia, but I’d like to take that model internationally. 

Ellen Tiberino at the "Opposing Forces" Dedication Philadelphia | WhereTraveler
Ellen Tiberino at the "Opposing Forces" Dedication (Courtesy Mural Arts Philadelphia)

Danielle Massi, LMFT, Owner and Founder of The Wellness Collective 

Founder of The Wellness Collective, Danielle Massi, took her own painful experiences and found a way to use them to help others through healing. Her work now assists clients with a holistic approach to healing the mind, body and spirit. 

WT: How did you get your start in the industry?
Massi: I’ve always been an ambitious person, even from a young age. I graduated from my master’s degree program at 23 and immediately opened up my own private practice psychotherapy office, a move that everyone around me believed was insanity.

I have always held the belief that if you want doors to open for you, you can create the door and open it yourself, and that was exactly what I did. It was a lot of hard work, and I had to learn skills outside of my scope of understanding, but I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t take that leap of faith. Ten years later, I’m so glad that I did.

WT: What has been your favorite personal achievement?
Massi: Something that has been an absolute dream come true for me was being offered a book deal from Sterling Publishing House, Barnes and Noble’s Publisher. I was the kid that used to hang out at Barnes and Noble instead of the mall, devouring every book I could get my hands on, and to think my own book (the soon-to-be-released “Shadow Work”) will be there this year is unbelievable!

WT: Can you tell me about any challenges you faced along the way? 
Massi: In 2018, at what I thought was the height of my career, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The diagnosis was a complete shock to everyone, including my doctors, and it came at a time when I was the busiest I had ever been in my career. Cancer forced me to put a full caseload of clients on hold and completely re-evaluate how I was running my life and my business. But this challenge ended up being an opportunity for me to create something new.

Because of it, I opened my holistic wellness center, The Wellness Collective, and switched from being a full-time psychotherapist to a shadow worker, where I help people get to the core of their deepest issues. Now The Wellness Collective serves clients all over the world, including places like Glasgow, Dubai, and at home in Philadelphia, helping them to take their health and wellness into their own hands.

Cervical cancer was also the basis for founding my annual self-care conference, SELF(ISH) Philly, where hundreds of women come each year to experience an immersion of self-care experiences, and learn about all of the different pathways to health that exist, something that I was longing for during my cancer journey.

WT: What do you hope the future holds for you and your career?
Massi: My hope is to grow all of the facets of my business that exist now, making them even more robust and healing for the people we serve. I hope my book, “Shadow Work,” opens people’s eyes to the mind-body connection and creates a ripple effect of healing. And above all, I hope to touch as many lives as possible and truly make a difference for anyone who is struggling as they work to find inner peace. 

Danielle Massi of The Wellness Collective Philadelphia | WhereTraveler
Danielle Massi (Courtesy The Wellness Collective)