The Alliance Française de Philadelphie is dependent upon its Board of Directors as its governing body. This group of individuals guides and oversees the strategic and fiscal direction of the organization, as well as investing their time, expertise and financial support. We are deeply grateful for their leadership.

L'Alliance Française de Philadelphie est gouvernée par son Conseil d'Administration. Les personnes qui le composent guident et supervisent les opérations fiscales, tout en donnant de leur temps, leur expertise, ainsi qu'un soutien financier. Nous sommes reconnaissants de leur engagement. 

Beth Diffley President

Elizabeth Diffley is a partner with the national law firm, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, where she serves as co-lead of the firm’s capital markets team. Beth is an accomplished and pragmatic adviser to public and private clients on corporate and securities matters, including capital-raising transactions, public company reporting and compliance and corporate governance. 

She has an accounting background and spent several years living and working in Paris.  Beth is committed to gender justice, inclusive economic development and community engagement. She supports these efforts through leadership in local nonprofit organizations and has been a member of the Alliance Française de Philadelphia for nearly 15 years.

Alicia Porter Secretary

 Alicia joined the board in April 2021 with 15 years’ experience in language education. She double majored in Creative Writing and French Studies at Lycoming College and studied at the Université Grenoble Alpes her junior year. From 2008-2010, she was an English Language Assistant in Lyon for the French Ministry of Education. In 2012, she joined the Alliance Française as an instructor and subsequently gained French teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University-Camden, and Drexel University, the latter at which she taught beginner, intermediate, and advanced undergraduate courses for seven years. In 2017, she earned an M.A. in Linguistics & Cognitive Science from the University of Delaware, and in 2020, she joined JEVS Human Services as the Education Director for Project WOW and IT Pre- Apprenticeship where she oversees the educational operations for young adults. Alicia is a passionate education advocate with a strong commitment to DEI and educational equity and is excited to promote the continued presence of the French language and culture in the Philadelphia area as a board member.

Amanda Barber Vice President

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Amanda expressed an interest in French language and culture from the tender age of seven. She began her studies in high school, earned her BA in French from Penn State University in 2001 and her MA in French literature from the University of Delaware in 2010. As part of her studies she spent a semester at the Université d’Aix-Marseille III in Aix-en-Provence, taught French to American students at the American University in Paris and English to French university students at the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie. She has also taught French as a graduate student at the University of Delaware and as an adjunct at Villanova and the University of Pennsylvania. A recent addition to the board of the Alliance Française de Philadelphie, Amanda wishes to advance the Alliance’s mission to help people learn French and deepen their knowledge of Francophone cultures.

Sheree Petrone Treasurer

Sheree currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Utilities, a diversified energy delivery company serving customers in the Mid-Atlantic states, Ohio and Florida. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation in Philadelphia. She retired from her career in the energy industry in 2018.

Sheree has participated as a student and member of Alliance Française de Philadelphie over the last twenty years, and she is currently a student of French language and culture at Widener University. She was also a student and member of Alliance Française de St. Louis from 2014 to 2018. Her time spent at Alliance Française has been rewarding as she has met many friends and made a greater connection to the Philadelphia community through this experience.


Danièle Cohen Grossman

Raised and educated in France, Danièle is a graduate of the Université de Strasbourg, School of Law. She later attended the Annenberg Graduate School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on Interpersonal Communication and Visual Arts. She worked for many years as Director of Development for an international non-profit institution. She edited its international newsletter and authored numerous articles and grant proposals. In the past 20 years, she consulted and coached executives and professionals in public speaking and conducted workshops in media presentations. She is presently an educator and guide at the Barnes Foundation. She serves on the board of several organizations and is a former member of the Ecole Française Internationale de Philadelphie. She has been on the Board of the Alliance for over 10 years. 

Nancy Gabel

Former President of the Alliance Française, Nancy spent her professional career teaching high school French and heading the Foreign Language Department in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District where she became president of the tri-state chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. After retiring, she joined the board of Main Line School Night and served as president of the organization for several years. Mrs. Gabel was a founder of the French International School in Bala Cynwyd, served as a board member and then also as president. In 2003, Nancy was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, an honor bestowed by the French Government in recognition of her contributions to the field of education as well as her efforts to promote the French language and culture in the United States.

Michelle Erickson

 Michelle is an experienced and well-rounded educator, dedicated to cultivating inquisitive and responsive learners. She created an arts-collaborative history curriculum at a performing arts high school before moving to Philadelphia. Today, she teaches language arts in the format of Art History for students who have specific reading and information processing challenges. Michelle has been a student of French for many years, slowly absorbing and using the language. She is currently working on a Masters in Art History and Visual Culture. She considers Philadelphia to be a wonderful setting for working and learning, with an international environment and incredible arts and culture. Ballet performances are a particular favorite arts activity for Michelle. Crediting the Alliance Française de Philadelphie for connecting Michelle to the life of the city in her first years here, she is thrilled to deepen my connection and serve the AF mission as a board member.

Sheri-Ann Cowie

 She holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from New York University and a BS in International Business from the College at Plattsburgh, State University of New York. She is a certified consultant who has consulted to civilians, military officers, and emerging leaders in the public and private sectors around leadership, authority, followership, and organizational life. Dr. Cowie works as a psychotherapist and manages her psychology private practice. In her consultant role, she runs a leadership training program and has consulted to local community, educational, and cultural organizations. She is the vice president of the Board for the A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems and also serves on the board for Alliance Française de Philadelphie and Arch Street Preschool.

Kedra Kearis

Kedra Kearis is Associate Curator of Art and Visual Culture at Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library and is a faculty member in the Winterthur Program Master’s degree in American Material Culture at University of Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University, an M.A. in Literature from Eastern Michigan University, and a B.A. in French Language and Literature and Art History from Oakland University. She has received grants and fellowships in support of her research and writing from the Association of Historians of American Art, the New-York Historical Society, the Preservation Society of Newport County, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, and others. She formerly researched the paintings collection at The Barnes Foundation, where she served on the adult education faculty. Prior to pursuing a career in museums, she taught a variety of ages from early childhood to university, devoting nearly ten years to private French instruction and French classroom teaching grades 6-12. She brings to the Board of the Alliance Française de Philadelphie a passion for French language and francophone cultural studies as well as a commitment to a global perspective in education and public programming. 

Remy Nshimiyimana

Remy is a business lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions and commercial contracts. He is a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, a national law firm. He grew up in Rwanda and immigrated to the United States in 2003. He has an undergraduate degree in French and Francophone studies from the University of Pennsylvania. While in law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Remy enrolled in a joint degree program between Penn Law and two French universities: Institut des Études Politique (Sciences Po) and the Université Paris l Panthéon - Sorbonne, which enabled him to spend his third and final year of law school in Paris where he earned master's degrees in Global Economic Law (Droit des Affaires, Droit de la Globalization Économique). During that year, he further experienced and appreciated even more the beauty of the French language and culture. Remy joined the board of the Alliance Française in 2023 with a desire for help foster the study of French and appreciation of not only the beauty of the language, but also the relative historical, cultural, and geopolitical importance of Francophone cultures.