Staff Members

Below is the team that ensures Working While Playing runs smoothly.

  • Danie Ocean

    Danie Ocean
    Danie Ocean
    Founder-Co Executive Director
    Danie Ocean (Danie Colston-Jackson) is a licensed social worker, musician, and young adult author. Danie has spent most of her life serving others starting early when she joined the Americorps program City Year, from there she went on to get her masters training at the University of Pennsylvania in Social Work. She has practiced as a school aged social worker for nine years and played music semi-professionally. Despite her visual disability her love for the arts and helping people is the love that drives her. Danie is now playing music professionally and can't wait till Working While Playing is in every major arts city across the country.
  • Adam Monaco

    Adam Monaco
    Founder-Co Executive Director
    Adam Monaco has been a part of the Philadelphia community and music scene since 2002. He has been writing songs since he was 13 years old. As early as High School, Adam was utilizing his musical talents and positive energy to give back. Twice a day, Adam would volunteer his study hall time to play music for students receiving supports for intellectual disabilities. It was through this volunteer work that Adam discovered his source of inspiration and developed an understanding of the power of music to lift individuals and communities. Regardless of their level of comprehension of lyrics, the students that Adam played for were often moved to tears when he brought the joy of music to their classroom. Adam’s desire to provide community outreach has been a driving force throughout his life. As early as the 4th grade, Adam was organizing school fundraisers to purchase 20 acres of rainforest for preservation. He even started an ecology club to raise environmental awareness. As Adam continued in his musical career, his passion for people and his drive to move others toward positive change grew with him. Currently, Adam works in various capacities with musicians and non-profit organizations. Adam’s passion for music and his drive to create positive change in his community have blended together in his continued efforts with Working While Playing. Working While Playing is the perfect combination for Adam to work with the community while being able to play music.
  • Dom Tiano

    Dom Tiano
    Director of Finance
    Born in Philly, raised in the North East suburbs, Dom was influenced by music from before he can actually remember.  His parents were Big Band fans. His Dad was the drummer in a big band-style band.  Frank Sinatra could always be heard in home growing up.  He has said that “in my playpen, there was a speaker on either side of me in the room, constantly playing the likes of Benny Goodman, The Dorsey brothers, Glenn Miller, and individuals, such as Frankie and Patty Page”.  Therefore, he had little choice, as music became his passion, then and now.  As are many musicians, Dom is an IT professional, now retired from Pfizer.  He is grateful for many things, mostly that his crooked path in life led him to his soulmate, Sharon, who is from Toronto, Canada.  They have two beautiful, and talented daughters, and many grandchildren….and…yikes!….a great grandson.  Dom helps WWP in any way necessary to make the dream come true for all those that may benefit from the organization.
  • Melanie Jones

    Melanie Jones
    Director of Community Outreach
    Melanie is originally from the D.C.area. She came to Philly as an education activist in 2002. She started with Working While Playing in the fall of 2015 using her membership in a slightly different capacity as other members. Our Germantown studio was used for her to teach yoga classes.  In the 1990s, Melanie was a community activist living in the Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood of Northern Virginia and working there with the non-profit organization, Tenants and Workers United/Inquilinos y Trabajadores Unidos. This experience not only enabled her to become bi-lingual in Spanish but also taught her heartfelt lessons in social justice, humanity and the importance of connecting community. Different roles as a community activist gave her a very diverse skill set that she now uses for her self-titled profession as "Odd Job Specialist.” She provides eldercare, and teaches her specialized modified brand of yoga for people of size called," You Don't Have to be Teeny to be a Yogini." On the creative side, she’s a singer; stand up comic, and poet.  Melanie is thrilled to be part of Working While Playing as it provides her the opportunity to combine community and the arts and social justice. Her best friends call her "The Connector". She tries to apply her three mantras in all aspects of her life: chesed (loving-kindness), service, and laughter.
  • Jonathan Veit

    Jon Veit Head Shot
    Jonathan Veit
    Web Master
    Local singer-songwriter and musician, Jon works as a computer programmer by day and offers his web talents to maintain the working while playing website.  Additionally, he  is a certified yoga instructor who occassionaly teaches classes at his work place.  His long list of loves includes music, art, poetry, meditation and any and all efforts for supporting healthy and happy communities. Any suggestions and improvements to the website be sure to contact this guy as he will be glad to help.
  • Dave DiRentis

    Dave Direntis
    Dave DiRentis
    Director of Integrated Media
    Dave is a full time portrait and event photographer and a Philadelphia native. He attended Temple University for Radio, Television, & Film but did not go into photography until much later in his life. Dave and his wife have been together since 1995. In 2009, they went to China to meet their beautiful daughter Sophia and start their family. They also have 5 rescued dogs at home. Dave is doing photography for Working While Playing but quickly found a passion for the mission and has taken on a larger role. He had also been thinking about a podcast series focusing on people from the local community and is taking the idea to Working While Playing. You can find more of his work at his website.
  • Tyler Ripley

    Tyler Ripley Headshot
    Tyler Ripley
    Co-Head Audio Engineer and Public Relations
    Tyler Ripley was born in Seattle and was raised in Hershey, PA. He graduated Penn State with degrees in Advertising/Public Relations and Music Technology. Ripley fell in love with music at a young age and started to play drums at the age of 8 and then learned guitar and bass. He always had a love for jamming with his friends and eventually wanted to start recording their sessions. After that he was hooked and began recording anything he could. Since then he has recorded artists from Washington to Pennsylvania. Ripley also has done audio production for ComRadio’s coverage of Penn State’s Football, Various PSU Athletics, the NFL Draft, and the NHL Preseason. His work (music/production) has been featured on 88.5/7 WXPN, ComRadio, ESPN 92.7, and Fun 101.3. He loves working in various genres of music and continuing to develop his craft as a recording and mixing engineer. Ripley also has done live sound from bars to Gershman Hall. He looks forward to helping WWP’s artists with their passions and reaching their goals. Ripley also currently works for the Philadelphia Eagles in their audio production department. A sample of his portfolio can be viewed below.  If you have any questions about mixing rates, recording availability, or volunteering with WWP please contact him at pr@workingwhileplaying.org
  • Matthew (XIII) Fischer

    Matt Fischer
    Matthew (XIII) Fischer
    Co-Head Audio Engineer & Director of Member Services
    Matthew Thirteen, or in short, MXIII (pronounced: [em-thur-teen]) is a multimedia artist, musician and audio engineer currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and recently graduated in 2017 from Temple University, Tyler School of Art. He is formally trained as a visual artist, however, he has spent the past several years cultivating his techniques in audio engineering in order to produce quality recordings for both others and himself. MXIII’s love of art and music drove him to Working While Playing for the first time in 2016 where he began as an audio engineer. After a rewarding year with WWP MXIII earned the position of Director of Member Services and is continuing to create a riff in the local music and arts community through Working While Playing.  You can follow him on social media using @matthewxiii