2018 may be a watershed in the history of women in politics. At Coro, we want to understand the moment and explore how women are leading in it. Join us for a panel and discussion on:

  • Different factors leading to an explosion of women running for office, managing campaigns, and holding non-elected positions in government.
  • Challenges women face in these roles
  • How women are leading: Strategies, Stories, and Social Movements

This event is open to the public – RSVP HERE.

Confirmed Panelists:

Abigail Gardner

Abigail’s entire career has been centered around telling the stories of her candidates and clients to the audiences that matter.

Bitten by the campaign bug in 2004, she swore every cycle that it was her last but continued to work in the press and communications offices of several campaigns in ’06, ’08, ’10 (with some appearances on special elections in between). Later as a consultant, and through her capacity a board member of Emerge Pennsylvania, she continues to work with candidates up and down the ballot on everything from designing a persuasive message to debate prep, on-camera training to social media, and much more.

In 2011, she left Capitol Hill and joined the award-winning public affairs firm, SKDKnickerbocker in its Washington, D.C. office. After four years at SKDK, she left to move home to Pittsburgh and start her own strategic communications firm, Scottie Public Affairs. Serving clients locally and nationally, she now assists advocacy organizations, non-profits, foundations, corporate clients, authors, and candidates.


Sara Innamorato

Sara is in the business of helping people and organizations do good work, and do more of it, first as the founder of Innamo Co., an agency for social good, and now as a candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative. By combining digital advocacy, community engagement, event planning, fundraising and public relations Sara’s ready to tackle big community challenges.

Sara’s worked with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Green Infrastructure Department to rethink community engagement; The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. to link grassroots activities to social media storytelling; and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council to organize a dinner for 500 residents and policymakers (literally at a massive table in front of the City-County Building) to talk about food access in Pittsburgh.

Before announcing her candidacy and while in Coro Women in Leadership, Sara co-founded She Runs, which aims to encourage more women to run for public office. Like Sara, ordinary folks from all over are standing up against the status quo and running for public office as part of a movement – a movement towards economic, social, racial, reproductive and environmental justice. Sara aims to build an intergenerational, interracial, interfaith movement across neighborhood lines that will transform Pennsylvania, starting right here in the May 15th Democratic primary election.


anu jain

anupama jain is the inaugural Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission in the Mayor’s Office. They are also owner of a consulting firm called Inclusant, which focuses on building local capacity for equity and inclusion by connecting individuals, organizations, and sectors. anu spent more than a decade as a professor— at Union College (NY), Colby College (ME), and then the University of Pittsburgh— and their research resulted in a 2011 book which investigates storytelling and politics, the American Dream, gender, and racial economics.


Summer Lee

Summer is a lifelong resident of the 34th district, where she grew up in North Braddock, Rankin, and Swissvale (where she currently resides). She is a proud graduate of Woodland Hills High School, Pennsylvania State University and Howard University School of Law, where she specialized in civil rights and constitutional law.

Since graduating law schoolSummer has been a dedicated organizer, activist, and advocate for social justice, serving as a field organizer for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in 2016 and with the Fight for $15 in 2017.

Summerhas been a leader in recent efforts to bring justice to the Woodland Hills School District, spearheading the successful 2017 write-in campaign to bring immediate change to the Woodland Hills School Board. She currently serves on the Woodland Hills Commission on Youth Development and Learning, where she has zealously pushed for increased cultural competency training for teaching staff, the elimination of an armed police presence in schools, and a commitment from the district to decreasing the disproportionate punishment of minority children and children with disabilities.

Andréa Stanford

Andréa Stanford joined Allegheny County as Assistant County Manager in January 2018. In this role, she works closely with the County Manager to support Allegheny County departments in the delivery of services to county residents, businesses, and governmental agencies. Additionally, she represents the County Executive on several boards and commissions including the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission; Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Advisory Committee; Juvenile Detention Board of Advisors; and the Kane Foundation Board.

Andréa’s expertise in digital marketing, public relations and community engagement spans the non-profit, health care, and financial services industries. Prior to her transition into the public sector, Andréa was a Digital Experience Product Manager at PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

An advocate of social justice and gender equity, Andréa dedicates her time to volunteer with nonprofits in the Pittsburgh community. She is a past president of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Young Leaders Board, a former Partner in the Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh network, and mentors youth through organizations like Strong Women, Strong Girls and the Y Achievers Program of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. Additionally, Andréa currently serves on the board of directors for the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and the Women and Girls Foundation.

Andréa received the 2017 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Young Professional Award, which recognizes an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence in their profession, contributes to their community and helps other women succeed through mentorship. She was recently acknowledged as a 2018 Western PA Rising Star by Get Involved!, Inc.

Andréa graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently resides in Pittsburgh.


Erika Strassburger

Erika Strassburger is a Member of Pittsburgh City Council serving District 8, which includes the Oakland, Point Breeze, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods. She was the first woman elected to this seat. Previously, Erika served as Chief of Staff for the district for four years under former-Councilman Dan Gilman.

Prior to that, Councilperson Strassburger worked for nearly a decade for environmental advocacy organizations PennEnvironment and Environment New Hampshire, taking the lead on several legislative victories including passage of renewable electricity standards, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and building efficiency and appliance efficiency standards.

Councilperson Strassburger serves on the board of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Conservation Consultants Inc. (CCI), an organization that helps families create healthier, safer, more energy efficient homes, and the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. She also spends time serving as a Running Mentor for PUMPed to Run, a running and walking group composed of residents of local homeless shelters.

Councilperson Strassburger graduated with honors from Bucknell University with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in International Relations. She and her husband live in Squirrel Hill.


Fawn Walker-Montgomery

Fawn Walker-Montgomery is a past second-time candidate for State Representative in the 35th District and lifelong resident. She was the first black person & woman to run for a State seat in the Mon Valley. Fawn has a B.A. in Political Science from Johnson C. Smith University (HBCU) and a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice Administration Point Park University.

She is also a past second-term Councilwoman in McKeesport. Here she has made a name for herself as an advocate for the PEOPLE. Fawn fought for transparency; worked with various community groups and took on the status quo of “business as usual”. In addition, after talking with residents through the valley she seen the need to create a group that allows EVERYONE to work together to combat violence. Take Action Mon Valley (TAMV) is a designed to address violence through organizing and activism. TAMV has now grown into Take Action Consulting (TAC). TAC does political, community and organizational consulting. Fawn has been married to a veteran and actor George Montgomery for 7 years and they have a 14-year-old daughter.