Through Women in Leadership, participants build relationships with other incredible women in the region, while polishing their skills in negotiation, managing teams, facilitation, networking, leveraging partnerships, personal growth, and inclusive business practices.

Women In Leadership participants can expect:

  • An Accelerated 5-month Leadership Program
  • Affordable Tuition (limited scholarships available)
  • Personal Connections with Dynamic Local Women Leading in Their Fields
  • Access to a National Alumni Network, Exciting Events and more!

Let Women in Leadership be your springboard to:

  • build your network
  • get a promotion
  • embark on a new career path
  • get more involved in your community
  • start your own business or organization
  • conquer the challenges you face
  • have an impact on issues you care about
  • be more effective in everything you do

Next Application Cycle: TBD. Women In Leadership has been postponed for 2021.

Program Duration and Dates: Five month accelerated program March – July (Twelve 3-hour training sessions March-May, followed by 3 collaboration sessions and graduation in July)

Tuition: $1295

The WIL curriculum is designed to help participants more successfully navigate and manage leadership challenges at three levels: self, communities, and systems. Participants will polish their skills in negotiation, managing teams, facilitation, networking, leveraging partnerships, personal growth, and inclusive business practices. An overview of the topics covered in the curriculum is below.

In many sessions, participants will have the opportunity to interview and interact with outside speakers who are leaders in southwestern PA. Through these conversations, participants will not only benefit from the expertise of these leaders but will also build relationships that give them access to broader and more diverse networks of influential decision-makers in the region.

Spring 2020

March Learning Overview:

  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Leverage Points for Change
  • Inclusive Practices
  • Powerful Relationships

April Leadership Journey:

  • Discovering Opportunities
  • Mastering Negotiation
  • Having an Impact
  • Addressing Challenges

May Leadership Journey:

  • Clarifying Your Vision
  • Building Consensus
  • Investing in Partnerships
  • Continuing to Grow

June – July: Group Collaboration Meetings

Graduation: Tuesday, July 21, 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Andrea Barber
Owner, My Three Sons Vending Company
“My leadership experience is all volunteer based through the Office of Child Development and The Kingsley Association. I am currently the Vice President of East Liberty Family Support. Through The Office of Child Development, I have attended various leadership training sessions and classes. I was also a program facilitator for one of the parent leadership cohorts. What excites me most about the Women in Leadership Cohort is the meeting all the wonderful women and professionals in various industries. After I complete the program I would like to be more confident in myself and also have the ability to lead my business and community into a positive and successful direction.”

Jenise Brown
Project Manager, SWCA Environmental Consultants
“I am a professional ecologist with an environmental consulting firm, where I manage the environmental compliance and data analysis for a large regional energy project. I am passionate about the dissemination and real-world application of science, and have led collaborative science efforts in academic and corporate settings for the past nine years. I have published original research in three major peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, and led a team of researchers and students in a multi-year project across three universities. I plan to continue to emphasize high quality science in my career, with an increasing focus on ensuring that results are accessible and understandable to everyone, by contributing to science education and supporting the writing of primary research for a broader audience. I have several aspirations for the program year including expanding my current skillset to be a better negotiator, networker, and overall leader; to create a network of women who have different experiences and skills than my own to learn from and lean on; and to find ways to use my talents and energy to fix problems facing women in Western Pennsylvania. In the short term I hope to be exposed to and support organizations that are aligned with my values that are outside of my traditional workplace. Over the next few years, I hope to use the skills and relationships that are created during the program to move from the private sector into a leadership position in a non-profit organization. My long term aspiration is to become a US Senator for Pennsylvania to bring a female scientist voice to the conversation.”

Vanessa Garcia
Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy Community School Site Director, Homewood Children’s Village
“I’m excited to be part of a long standing commitment to empower women in this city through personal and professional development. And being a part of this cohort I will get to add my experience to that story! I’m also glad that I have the opportunity to take part in something bigger than just the present, especially as my daughter is coming up in this world as a strong woman. I hope to gain more self confidence in my abilities and skills to be a female leader. And I hope to gain a new network of other female leaders that I can learn from and lean on for support. After I complete the program I want to be fully using the skills that I’ve learned in my actual workplace and I want to be involved in pushing whatever project my team created forward. I want to be at a much better place than where I started.”

Victoria Gibilterra
IT Leadership Development Professional, Aetna
“I am a cyber security engineer, currently in the IT Leadership Development Program at Aetna. I have developed and lead diverse teams, driving successful completion of enterprise initiatives, and developing innovative approaches to enterprise risk management. What excites me most about Women in Leadership is the chance to really develop my leadership skills while growing a strong network of like-minded leaders in Pittsburgh. I hope to gain more experience in motivating and inspiring those around me in and outside of leadership roles. I also hope to gain the opportunity to find ways to give back to the community here in Pittsburgh. After I complete the Women in Leadership Program, I hope to be connected to some nonprofit or community service initiatives and use my leadership skills to make an impact with giving back to this community. I also hope to have graduated my IT Leadership Program I am in at work with a promotion to take on another initiative at Aetna. Long term, I hope to be in a position to empower and inspire those around me to create a more secure and healthy world.”

Kelsey Gross
Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
“As a Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, I’ve spent the last five years working with partners to lead our school breakfast and summer food efforts in Somerset, Cambria, and Indiana counties. This past year, my major projects included identifying the needs and available community resources in Cambria County. Using this, I brought three organizations together to provide free meals to underserved kids in six communities. In college, I won a Women’s Leadership award and “Chacivity” award for my work as co-president of Women’s Studies Club. I’m most excited to learn the skills and gain the confidence to be a strong and thoughtful voice for change. I hope to bring those skills back to my current position to help lead highly-motivated partners to end child hunger in our region. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow with all of the women of our diverse cohort and build strong, lasting relationships. Long term, I hope to move into a management position, and I believe the skills l that I learn in Women in Leadership will help me be better prepared to handle that responsibility. Short-term, I would like to gain more confidence in my abilities and connect with other women in the cohort.

Carly Hicks
Patient Experience Manager, Allegheny Health Network
“In all areas of my life, I aspire to be a leader. As a project manager at a pediatric healthcare organization, I am regularly looking for ways to implement positive initiatives that enhance the organization’s services. In addition, I work part-time with children ages seven to thirteen as a swim coach where I spend time building relationships, leading by example, and helping mentor them as athletes. Outside of work, I volunteer as a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program of Greater Pittsburgh and have established a friendship with an incredible Little that reminds me the importance of positive leaders, role models and mentors in Pittsburgh. Throughout my full time, part time and volunteering efforts, I learn and utilize leadership skills that can be transferred cross-functionally and add value to new initiatives I take on. As a young professional working in the Pittsburgh area, I am continually searching for ways to be more connected and to grow the strength of the Pittsburgh community. Coro WIL provides a space to educate and grow women in the community – an important part of my passion and identity. I have had numerous strong leaders in my life, but those with the most impact have been women. I hope to develop my thoughts, ideas, and perceptions of leadership throughout this program so I can inspire and lead others through similar ways that I have been impacted. My goals for Coro WIL are to expand my Pittsburgh network personally and professionally, and find new ways to support the growth of women in Pittsburgh. Long-term, I will share my knowledge with the next generation of women, supporting the growth of all individuals to become their true selves. I want to provide a safe space for individuals to reach their potential and the best version of themselves.”

Emily Kinkead
Law Clerk, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Chambers of Judge Michael Wojcik
“I was heavily involved in student groups in college. In particular as campus coordinator for an organization called Democracy Matters that focuses on engaging young people in fighting for government ethics reform – specifically campaign finance reform. My work with that group led me to serve as a member of Democracy Matters’ Board of Directors from 2009-2016. While working in Washington, DC, I was actively involved in the Women’s Information Network (WIN), which facilitates professional networking and skill-building for women. When I moved back to Pittsburgh for law school, I again dedicated myself heavily to working in student groups – serving on the executive boards of 4, including a student-run 501(c)(3) that raised money to provide grants for law students who accepted unpaid, public interest summer internships. Having been born in Pittsburgh, the black and gold is in my blood but I want to find more ways to be active in and serve my community and the CORO WIL program demonstrates year after year its commitment to help the cohort do just that. Even more, I am excited to develop friendships and deep bonds with the other amazing women in my cohort. There’s nothing better than women helping women and I look forward to learning from these incredible ladies as well as helping them in whatever way I can. In the short-term, I want to have a stronger network and some long-term friendships arising out of my time with my WIL cohort. In the long-term, I want to find a place to deeply serve my community and give back to a city that has given me so much. I want to use my connections and what I learn from WIL to become a more active citizen. I want to use my connections to further my career so that I can be in a position to help the people who come up behind me to succeed in their goals as well.”

Traci Johnson
Communications and Digital Media Manager, Denny Civic Solutions
As a professional I have spent over 10 years in nonprofit leadership from program director to executive director. Now, I currently work in the for-profit environment as the Communications and Digital Media Manager for my consulting firm. As a volunteer, I have held many leadership roles in my local church: Youth Department Chair, Community Outreach Director, Christian Education Director, and Board member. I also serve as a Squad Moderator in the Ellevate Women’s Network. I have always possessed a passion for issues that impact women and building the status of women that I encounter. I believe Women in Leadership will provide opportunities and avenues for me to explore issues that impact women in our region in greater depth and generate creative solutions to complex problems with a group of like-minded women. Through this program I hope to grow as a professional leader developing new skills and tactics that can be utilized in any situation – whether the on the job or in my neighborhood. I hope this program will challenge me to become an authentic leader both personally and professionally. I believe Women in Leadership will enable me to challenge myself in ways that will empower me to become a greater help, support, and mentor to other women in our region and beyond. I have a passion for civic and community engagement. I want to utilize the skills that I learn from the program and exercise them towards becoming more civically engaged in the region. My plan is to apply to and attend graduate school to further my education and journey to eventually working in community development.

Dominique Luster
Teenie Harris Archivist, Carnegie Museum of Art
“I am the Teenie Harris Archivist at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The Teenie Harris Archive consists of almost 80,000 images dating from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, documenting what might be one of the most complete insights into African American urban life at that time. In this role, I am responsible for the archival integrity, access, and use of the image negatives and their corresponding digital surrogates; increasing and improving the discoverability and accessibility of collection; developing comprehensive metadata profiles; and providing curatorial and exhibition administration for shows presented both inside the Carnegie Museum and across the country. The most exciting part about the Women in Leadership program is the opportunity to bring real-world work situations into the program session and get actionable advice and strategies on how to be a better leader. A situation could occur at work on Thursday, and I have the opportunity to discuss this situation with my cohort on Saturday, so that when I return to work on Monday, I have thoughtful, actionable, strategic next steps that I can immediately implement. At the conclusion of this program, I hope to be in a position to negotiate for greater leadership responsibilities with my current employer, to include financial management, project management, and staff management.”

Alannah Owens
Personal Lines Intern, Henderson Brothers, Inc.
“I am currently a student at Point Park University, but I have several leadership experiences throughout my college experience. I am a leader for several clubs on campus as well as an orientation leader. I am also a volunteer for the Red Cross and I help out frequently at my local church with areas around the church as well as creating an annual event for youth. I am apart of Women In Leadership as well. Being in a room full of women is what excites me most about the program. Women are strong, intuitive, motivational beings and it is always a pleasure hearing stories from different women about their experiences and how they are overcoming or how they need help and it is encouraging to be able to provide that help to another woman. I hope to gain a bond with the women in the cohort as well as more knowledge and perspectives from other women. I am going to be a recent college graduate when completing the program so I hope to have a job and I hope that I am able to continue to influence women or I am working with women in some aspect. My long-term goal is to continue to impact women’s lives and retire by 35.”

Grace Elizabeth Oxley
Program Coordinator, Homewood Children’s Village
“I am currently a Program Coordinator in the Education department at the Homewood Children’s Village. I’ve spent the last three years working in both Pittsburgh and abroad advocating for youth and equity in education. My work consists of supporting, and providing services, education support, and employment opportunities to students and families in the Homewood community. I’ve also volunteered with the JFCS Refugee Volunteer program. Working with newly resettled families reminded me of the importance of building relationships, mentorship and actively being involved in the local community.”

Angel Pappalardo
Operations Director, University of Pittsburgh
“I have worked at the University of Pittsburgh for the past 10 years and I currently manage the operations of our HIV/AIDS clinical research program in Pitt’s Department of Medicine. We conduct studies focused on improving HIV treatment therapy, prevention, and cure research. I primarily oversee the financials of our research program, develop budgets, assist with grant writing and proposal development, manage project staff, and ensure stewardship of funds. I also am a new member of the University’s Staff Council and a member of the Executive Committee for the Hispanic Latino Professional Association at Pitt. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) with a Master’s in Public Administration in 2013. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and engage with other women in the city who are working across various sectors and have work and personal experiences different from my own. I want to learn about the work that others are doing in the city of Pittsburgh, share our struggles and ideas so we can forge new partnerships to make a better future in our region. I want to feel inspired and empowered by the leadership of these women and I hope to carry that with me after this program. In the short term, I would like to improve my communication skills and feel more comfortable speaking in a group setting or presenting to a group of people. I would also like to use my experience to mentor and coach others. I would ultimately like to broaden my perspectives about the opportunities for women in leadership in the city of Pittsburgh and have a better understanding of the kind of opportunities available for career growth as well as other community development and volunteer opportunities that align with my personal interests and passion.”

Stephanie Rideau
Director, Global Head of Risk Capital Adequacy, BNY Mellon
“I have been a driven, servant leader who is focused on achieving results in many facets of my life. In high school, I was the leader of the business management team for the Yearbook Committee. It was the first time the budget had been met in years. In college, I was a leader in my sorority and planned programs. In my first job after college, I was a team leader amongst my peers. I had brought a different perspective and worked with a team to create a vision for our cluster. I was then promoted to a leadership role where I led a sales team of fourteen representatives spanning north and southwestern PA. In grad school, I served on the Graduate Business Association was the president of the Flextime Leadership Team. There, I led a committee who was instrumental in driving student-focused initiatives for part-time students. In my job after grad school, I was in the leadership development program where I had the opportunity to lead several strategic projects. In the churches that I attended, I had the opportunity to serve as a leader for several administrative initiatives. I am thrilled about the opportunity to network with and learn from other women with diverse perspectives and who have experiences that differ from mine! I look to grow, be challenged, and supported by the Women in Leadership program. I hope to gain a new perspective that will enhance my leadership journey and augment my confidence. At the end of the program, I want to be re-energized with enhanced confidence to increase my leadership impact. Ultimately, my goal is to become a more influential and effective leader that uses an array of tools to create a high-performance environment that drives connection, results, and innovation.”

Christin Thorpe
Fellows and Community Engagement Coordinator, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
“I am currently the Fellows and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro-Urban Institute. In this capacity, I am responsible for leading the development of our organization’s new Fellowship program as well as the fellowship cohort itself. I am also the Outreach Servant Leader at the Northside Institutional Church where I am tasked with developing and leading our community outreach initiatives. In both capacities I am responsible for developing new and innovative ideas and creating buy-in amongst diverse stakeholders who are often older and more experienced than I. As a young woman, I am excited about learning the skills and tools necessary to assert myself as a leader in the male-dominated faith sector. I hope to gain the confidence to lead those who may be older and or more experienced with boldness. Following the completion of this program, I hope to have the confidence to assert myself in all areas of my life. Specifically, my short-term goal is to be able to advocate for myself and properly leverage my skills and education to ensure I am able to acquire positions that allow me to utilize my leadership abilities to positively impact communities.”

Catherine Tsavalas
Program Coordinator, AlphaLab
“Over the years, I’ve helped organize several Startup Weekends, bringing together Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurs for a weekend of networking, mentorship, and competition. Through AlphaLab and other organizations, I’ve continued to mentor early-stage entrepreneurs, with a focus on supporting women-led ventures. I’m excited to take this opportunity to learn, reflect, and grow. My ultimate goal for the Women in Leadership program is to meet incredible women, work and grow together as a group, and maintain those strong ties after the program to help us progress in our careers and advance women in our region together. I hope to have noticeably increased my leadership, negotiation, and facilitation skills and have come away with tangible knowledge I can pass on to other women in these areas.e may need extra help from firms like Scotwork, but even so, to have this base is important. As As a result, I’d like to be in a position for greater career growth, as well as create way to build and strengthen women entrepreneurial communities within Pittsburgh and challenge the inequalityle=”WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP XX MEMBERS” disabled_on=”on|on|on” admin_label=”WIL XX MEMBERS” _builder_version=”3.0.87″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” disabled=”on”]Feyisola Alabi
Policy Analyst, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment
“I’m excited for the opportunities to listen and learn from women that are different from me and are passionate and to hear what their dreams and what their struggles are. I hope to gain more confidence and aggressive in chasing after my dreams, embrace mentorship, and support other women and men in their initiatives to impact our community and or city positively.”

Tanya Baronti
Director, United for Children, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
“WIL is an opportunity for me to learn from some of the most passionate, accomplished and strong women in our City, to enhance my leadership skills, and to positively influence women in our community. Already I have gained a sense of power and presence by trusting a dynamic group of women who support one another, are honest, and desire to be stronger together.”

Julie Barry
Clinical Social Worker, Carolinas HealthCare System
“As a medical social worker, I would like to examine health care disparities in Western PA, especially among low income women and children. I hope to gain the essential skills and confidence to develop into an effective leader.”

Sarah Brown
Program Manager, TeenBloc, A+Schools
“As a member of Women in Leadership, I look forward to gaining practical insight on leadership from a variety of perspectives. I’m hoping to further distill my own style using tools and feedback acquired during this experience. I am excited to see the projects catalyzed in our cohort and the resulting community impact.”

Sarah Byrne-Houser
Mobilization and Public Policy Organizer, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children
“Continually seeking ways to connect people and projects, particularly those that creates stronger support systems and unexpected developments. Ready to engage in fresh collaborations and funnel varied experiences into opportunities to support and promote women of distinction in our region.”

Ratna Jain
Application Development Manager, University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences
“I am excited to meet women who are leaders in their fields, gain new perspectives and share experiences. My short term goal is to improve my leadership capabilities. Long term, I hope to use the experience I have gained to help women play a greater role in governance. ”

Demi Kolke
Senior Planner, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning
“I am looking forward to continuing to grow my network. Additionally, through the leadership materials I am learning what my deficits and assets are as a leader. Lastly, I would say that the SMEs and general group discussion are really helping me to hone in on my passions and actions affiliated with them.”

Lauren Kunze
Senior Education Program Manager, Junior Achievement of Western PA
“I hope to find a leadership style that feels authentic and productive. I want to learn how to exploit my existing skills and grow those skills which are not innate to my style, but vital to my development. I hope to become more sure of myself in leadership roles. ”

Molly Mehling
Program Officer, Environment, Heinz Family Office
“At the end of the CORO Women in Leadership program, in the short term, I hope to have gained a broader network of professional women striving to learn and make change for themselves and others. I hope to have a richer understanding of fields of work beyond those familiar to me. And I hope the connections made will strengthen the role that women play in city leadership. Long-term, I hope to have a more nuanced perspective of leadership, but more importantly I hope to have a broader network of women striving for change. By seeing more women in these roles, I hope I will be more compelled to take risks in my own work.”

Kelly Nestman
Reproductive Justice Advocate, Center for Women’s Health Research and Innovation – University of Pittsburgh
“I am always seeking feedback from other women, and try to learn from their experiences. The program creates a safe space for us to learn from each other and our different leadership styles. I hope to gain the ability to master more than one style of leadership by collaborating with the rest of the cohort and building upon their feedback, experiences and advice.”

Danielle Parson
Director of Communications, ACHIEVA
“I’m excited by the opportunity to engage with women, with diverse backgrounds, and learn more about tools and tactics to be a professional leader. Also, the programming that will come from the WIL experience has the potential to make a large difference in the city, I’m exciting to be a part of those initiatives.”

Angelica Perry
Manager of Development, Homeless Children’s Education Fund
“I am invested in making Pittsburgh a more inclusive city for all, with a personal passion for engaging and supporting women in nonprofit leadership roles. I joined WIL to connect with and support other women in the Pittsburgh area while developing and perfecting my own leadership abilities.”

Brandy Rawls
Executive Director, Oli’s Angels
“I am excited to enhance my leadership skills and methods. I look forward to expanding my organization and training other young women to be leaders.”

Nazli Saka
Community & Student Engagement Manager, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
“I hope to learn leadership and negotiation skills as well as meet a diverse group of like-minded women professionals and expand my network for future partnerships and collaborations.”

Ahimsa Shakti
Community Doula, UPMC’s The Birth Circle Doula Program
“I have been deeply influenced by my experiences and struggles as a single mother. The challenges and barriers that I have faced have given birth to a great passion in me to use my life to support and empower women as mothers. I feel especially compelled to make a difference and be a voice for other single mothers. I hope Coro’s Women in Leadership program is the next step on my journey of personal and professional development. I have thought deeply about what would make the most impact for single mothers, and I have come up with many well thought out ideas. I see Women in Leadership as an opportunity to start putting my ideas out there into the world, and to form my ideas into a cohesive plan with specific and measurable steps I can start taking to make my visions a reality.”

Bayh Sullivan
Enrollment Manager, The Ellis School
“Participating in Women in Leadership excites me because of the opportunity to hear from women on lots of different professional and personal paths. We have activists, educators, fundraisers, and community builders, all of whom aspire to lead. From these women, I hope to gain insights, strategies, and tactics that I can incorporate in my leadership style and take out into my workplace and network to further benefit the women in my sphere of influence.”

Not pictured: Ashley Chan, Elisabeth Gallen.

K5II8810-EditAshley Baptiste
HR Strategist & Instructional Designer Ashley Elyce Baptiste, MBA discovered her passion for helping individuals achieve work-life balance while working in benefits. She loves opportunities to bring a holistic approach to a well-designed life for professionals. Currently, she has a blog that provides simple holistic solutions for total body wellness from the inside out.

K5II8835-EditOlivia Benson
Olivia Benson is an accomplished public policy, political campaign, and public affairs professional with a proven record of promoting electable and qualified candidates, securing financial support for organizations, and implementing social impact initiatives across government, private, and nonprofit sectors. Olivia is the founder of a boutique public affairs and political consulting firm and a co-founder of an early stage non-profit focused on developing women entrepreneurs in low-income communities. She is passionate about impact investments, promoting women’s entrepreneurship opportunities, and engaging women and youth in the political process.

K5II8841-EditElaine Evosevic
After working in nonprofit programming and university fundraising, Elaine took time off to be a stay-at-home-mother. She maintained active on nonprofit boards of directors and as a contractor in community development banking. She is passionate about inclusive human-centered community and economic development and fair access to education, the arts, and opportunity for all. As she worked in university fundraising she would have a good grasp of sorority fundraising ideas and other charitable college acts. She has a Master of Public Policy and Management degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies.

K5II8792-EditNicole Harrington-Watkins
Nicole is a mother and a wife. She has a Bachelors Of Science: concentration Education Currently and is pursuing her Masters degree at Point Park University in Healthcare Administration and Management. Nicole loves singing and reading.

Hayward, AshleyAshley Hayward
Ashley Hayward, MBA is a Pittsburgh native with roots on the Northside of town. She received her bachelors degree from Edinboro University and her MBA in International Business from Point Park University. Ashley currently works for the UPMC Health plan as a Disability Specialist. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family.

K5II8781-EditSara Innamorato
A native Pittsburgher, Sara is personally invested in playing a role in making this City a more livable place for all. She cares deeply about the issues of inclusive community development, environmental and social justice as well as local food issues. Sara is on a professional mission to help socially-driven organizations tell their stories in new, strategic ways, and a personal mission to bake the best load of sourdough bread possible.

K5II8726-EditBernandie Jean
Bernandie is a PhD candidate studying drug discovery techniques in biochemistry at Duquesne University. Though she has the opportunities to network with other scientist in her field, she finds it alarming that women and minorities are not well represented in research science. She aspires to become a leader in her field of research and hopes that her experience in WIL can help her gain the necessary skills and confidence to become an effective leader.

K5II8825-EditKimberly Maddox
Kim is a Career Sales Manager currently working in the Medicare and Medicaid space. Her professional as well as well as civic interest include advancing health care and engaging the underserved population.

K5II8759-EditRachel Martone
Rachel Martone, a native of Erie, PA, first moved to the city to attend the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, which is when she fell in love with the city. As an alumna of the 2014-2015 class of Public Allies Pittsburgh, she is committed to bettering herself and serving her community. Rachel currently works at Animal Friends, a local non-profit animal resource center, where she is fulfilling her passions for animal welfare, humane education, and pet therapy work.

K5II8804-EditMeghan McNiel
Meghan McNeil is a recent graduate of McGill University in Montreal and has joyously returned to the city she loves. She is passionate about using the arts as a means of self expression and community building. She is very excited about working with the talented and driven ladies in this program, and hopes she can use her passions to make the world a better place.

K5II8738-EditOlusore Shields
Sore (ShowRay) was born and raised in Nigeria. She has an undergraduate degree in Finance and a graduate degree in Social Work with a concentration in Human Services Management. She is interested in learning ways to blend her business skills and her desire to help people and communities.

K5II8799-EditJennifer Van Dam
Jennifer Van Dam is the Program Coordinator at AlphaLab, a startup accelerator founded by one of the country’s most active seed funds, Innovation Works. In addition to working with AlphaLab companies on growth and marketing in the thriving Pittsburgh startup environment, she also serves as VP of Marketing and Communications for ALPFA Pittsburgh, which empowers and develops Latin@ professionals as leaders. Jennifer has a passion for supporting media literacy and challenging the status quo, specifically by working with disadvantaged communities in the technology space. Prior to joining the AlphaLab/Innovation Works team, she served as a Customer Specialist at Squarespace and has also worked with various nonprofits including The New School, Third Wave Fund, and WQED.

K5II8746-EditRebecca Watters
Rebecca has trained as a molecular biologist and works at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to study breast cancer. While she enjoys researching causes and potential treatments for this disease, she prefers to have more personal interactions with patients and survivors. As a result, she has volunteered and joined the board for a local charity, Hair Peace Charities, which works to raise funds to help women receive wigs that are undergoing chemotherapy. She is also very passionate about the advancement of women in science related careers here in the region and works to promote this cause as a member of the local Pittsburgh chapter for Women In Bio.

K5II8780-EditNicole White
Nicole is the owner of Nick of Time Travel Agency and loves to travel in her spare time. Nicole has aspirations of owning her own Caribbean resort. She longs for warm weather, fresh water beaches, and relaxing to good music.

“I gained invaluable knowledge through WIL surrounding gender equity, leadership, collaboration, and civic engagement. WIL brought to light the importance of gender equity and how we, as women, cannot achieve it without working together, raising awareness and getting everyone involved, and aiding and promoting other women in their path to leadership. I also had the opportunity to learn about the amazing women in my cohort, their strength, their leadership skills, and their passion. I look forward to following their bright futures.” Christina Ascension Farmartino

“During the Women in Leadership course, I ran for the New Kensington-Arnold school board and won. It means a lot to me to be able to represent my community and fight for a better education. As a participant in the program, I have learned how to best use my leadership style to empower others. I can identify opportunities within myself and my community and I have been able to make change. I have also been able to make connections with like-minded women. Having a support system of women to encourage and uplift me has been invaluable.” Ellyse Williams

“I joined Women in Leadership to meet inspiring women in SW PA, and the women I met surpassed my expectations. The most significant way I changed during my time in WIL is that my network expanded exponentially, and I found fellowship with ambitious and successful women. WIL improved my project management skills, helped me identify my strengths, showed me how to use these strengths in my work, and taught me how to make a really great agenda (I ended up liking OARRs).”

Jessica Kaminsky “Women in Leadership is an incredible joining of learning and doing. Our cohort was challenged to employ our diverse skills and perspectives to create change for ourselves and other women in southwestern Pennsylvania. During the projects, we were able to foster growth in each other as collaborators, leaders, and change agents. I was incredibly inspired by the amazing women that I was able to meet and work with.”

Natalie Torti I have grown exponentially as a leader over the past year in Women in Leadership. At the beginning of the year I switched from the non-profit sector to the private sector by accepting a position with BNYMellon as a Corporate Social Responsibility Analyst. I have grown in my role at BNYMellon and has begun to seek more opportunity for growth and development within the company. Since joining WIL I have also grown as a food blogger, recently launching a self-hosted website.”

Samantha Hartzman I now take the leadership, communication and management skills that I learned at WIL to establish international relationships for Airviz. Through WIL’s use of OARRS, I learned how to clearly articulate values and vision in order to engage and excite people. This has been especially useful in marketing Airviz and rallying a group of air quality activists to use the Speck Sensor. I have also significantly broadened my social and professional network through our catalytic project and Coro networking events.”


If you have any questions, please reach out to Selena Schmidt at .


Next Application Cycle: TBD. Women In Leadership has been postponed for 2021.


Recent Blog Posts

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