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New Leaders Council

2017 Fellows

        Lukas W. Bagshaw, J.D., University of Pittsburgh


Lukas W. Bagshaw recently earned his JD (Dec. 2016) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Prior, Lukas studied Political Economy at West Virginia University by creating unique combinations of courses from two different schools, earning both a BS in Economics and a BA in Political Science in the process. Prior to attending WVU, Lukas's humble origin in Elkins, WV had provided little exposure to professionals or an inherent incentive to value formal education. Nonetheless, Lukas possessed an inquisitive nature and became keenly aware of inequities all around him. The informal education Lukas developed, provides him a unique vantage point towards more inclusive decision-making. He views progressive leadership as a beacon that helps illuminate the roots of injustice and inequality, helping to inspire community-driven solutions, instead of a bridge built over a perceived problem, meant to only carry those willing to adequately assimilate. Lukas has balanced his educational pursuits with taking initiative to be the change he wants to see in the world. While in undergrad, Lukas involved himself in outreach programs for at-risk teens and young adults; various tutoring, life-coaching and mentoring programs; and college-encouragement programs for rural-area high schools. While at Pitt Law, Lukas was selected to participate in the Summer Judicial Internship Diversity Project, clerking for the Honorable Cheryl Allen in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Lukas and Judge Allen held mutual passions for outreach towards at-risk youth, racial justice, and ending the school-to-prison-pipeline. Lukas continued advocating for youth the following summer as a certified legal intern for the Allegheny County Public Defender. His demonstrated dedication in the courtroom caught the attention of the Honorable Guido DeAngelis. Judge DeAngelis asked Lukas to intern with him, especially to assist with the Cross-Over Youth Court Initiative and other efforts to reduce disparate minority contact. Lukas took every opportunity to network with other aspects of the juvenile justice system, learning hands-on about not only the work, but the people involved. Currently, Lukas is involved in numerous projects (both individually and through community organizations), relating to different community policing initiatives, campaign management, political consulting, juvenile justice reform, prisoner rights litigation and community activism. Lukas's mission has remained to use his education and privilege to help empower those oppressed and marginalized, by any effective means necessary.

Robert Burack, Fellow, Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation


Robert Burack is a Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

at Harvard University's Kennedy School, where he supports the newly formed Civic Analytics Network - a consortium of urban chief data officers - in advancing data-driven governance to address pressing social issues. Based in Pittsburgh, he works with the city is Chief Data Officer to further open data and analytics efforts, and to support regional open data collaboration. Previously, he was a Fellow at the Richard King Mellon Foundation, where he focused on manufacturing innovation and helped to launch the nation's first accelerator for craft businesses. He has also served as Programs Director at Break Away, where he forwarded the development of shared community impact assessment tools for the service-learning sector. He has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.


Melanie Claxton, Manager of Partnerships & Quality Improvement, APOST

Melanie_Claxton.jpgMelanie Claxton is the Manager of Partnerships & Quality Improvement with Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST), which is an initiative of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Her primary role on the team is to support local system and capacity-building initiatives across Allegheny County. Working alongside the Director of APOST, she also supports APOST Quality Campaign organizations to ensure youth across the county have access to quality programming that inspires learning, keeps kids safe, and helps working families. In addition to this work, she is a certified Weikart Youth Program Quality Methods trainer, who facilitates conversations designed to share best practices and methods for supporting positive youth development. Prior to joining the team, Melanie worked as the Senior Manager of Evaluation & Partnerships (SMEP) for Higher Achievement Pittsburgh. As SMEP, she supported the development of strategic partnerships that helped to advance Higher Achievement's mission; analyzed student data to inform programmatic practices; and supported general operations. Melanie has also worked in public education and pursued studies in program evaluation and project management. She received her Bachelors Degree from University of Michigan Ann Arbor, as well as a M.S in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. In her free time, Melanie volunteers as an academic mentor to middle school students living in Pittsburgh's Homewood community.

Armani Davis, Counselor and Retention Specialist, Robert Morris University


Armani Davis was born in Mon View Heights a project in West Mifflin, PA, but grew up in Homestead PA. He is one of six children and a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Armani is very passionate about education and is currently working on his Ph.d. at Robert Morris University researching culturally specific curriculum. Armani Davis has persevered through many hardships. While these hardships have shaped the man he have become, hardships are things we endure, suffer, and overcome. So to, they can be faced with counsel and alleviated and he intends to devote his life and career to helping others through the personal challenges that they face during their hard times. Armani is currently in the process of developing a nonprofit entitled "Exposure: Life Through a Different Lens." The purpose of this organization is to see that every child no matter their background or circumstance has all the tools and has been exposed to all the options in they wish to explore for their life. Currently Armani is a program manager at Urban Innovation 21 and a Special Project Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Promise. However, Armani takes extreme pride in his community service. Currently he is an Amanchi mentor, a Black Male Leadership Development Institute College Instructor, and a member of the Collegiate 100, an auxiliary organization to the 100 Black Men of America. Although he is a member of many more organizations, these mean the most to him as the main goal of both organizations is to provide mentoring. His primary objective in life is to guide the youth of today into the light of tomorrow. When you position yourself amongst people who have the same positive goals as you, the possibilities become endless. Interacting with individuals who have similar goals and are more positive about life in general has given him a greater perspective of what he can become and how he can help others.

Pam Eichenbaum, Business Development Associate, Innovation Works


Pam Eichenbaum has built her career around solving community challenges via innovative and creative community development and outreach solutions. In May 2017, Pam joined Innovation Works as the Business Development Associate. Previously, Pam worked for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.  Prior to joining the Alliance, Pam worked at the University of Maryland as a fundraiser and program coordinator. Pam started her career in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood as a Community Organizer – an experience that launched Pam’s professional path in community development.

Since returning to Pittsburgh, Pam has immersed herself in community activities – serving on the Repair the World Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, and as a Partner with Social Venture Partners, Pittsburgh.  Pam still serves as a Board Member for Adele’s Circle of Women at the University of Maryland in a virtual capacity. Pam is full of knowledge about community organizations and is always eager to help folks find the perfect opportunity to get involved and become a community leader.  In her free time, Pam loves to cook, explore the ever-changing neighborhoods across Pittsburgh, and spend time outside being active or lounging with friends.

Originally from Southern New Jersey, Pam decided to move back to Pittsburgh, in February 2016, after 6.5 years in Washington, DC.  The close-knit Pittsburgh community and multi-generational civic commitment drew Pam back to Pittsburgh.  Pam has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Maryland.

Follow Pam’s journey on Twitter (@pameich), Facebook (Pam Eichenbaum), and Instagram (@pameich).


Danielle George, Associate Consultant, HM Health Solutions

Danielle_George.jpgDanielle George is originally from Hyattsville, Maryland and has called Pittsburgh home for the last two years since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. Her degree in Health Information Management has translated to a career in health technology at HM Health Solutions, an affiliate and the technology solution provider for Highmark, Inc. She serves as an Associate Consultant for Health Care Reform programs ensuring adherence to regulatory agency mandates through technology changes required to accurately process claims. Working on the payer side of the industry has provided perspective to the importance of policy and how that provides care for our members. This work entices her to learn more about the public health priorities that align with the current payment system, the policies that restrict and permit coverage, and ultimately increase access to care. Her interests have always involved health care. The first introduction was biomedical research at the NIH in high school and college but has now found a niche on the administrative side with health care reform; she plans on working to one day eliminate socioeconomic and racial health disparities through a multi-disciplinary approach, advocacy, and community involvement. Danielle believes access to quality and affordable health care should be a right for all, not a privilege for some. In her free time, Danielle enjoys traveling especially to Trinidad and Tobago where her family originates, eating her way around Pittsburgh and as a mentor with Higher Achievement.

Lucy Gillespie, Graduate Student Researcher, University of Pittsburgh

Lucy_Gillespie.jpgA Pittsburgh native, Lucy Gillespie is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Public Administration and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School for Public and International Affairs, where she also earned her Masters in Public Administration in Urban Planning and Affairs. Her academic work has focused primarily on transportation systems and the interaction with social justice, she also works with disaster management in Nepal, and federal infrastructural funding policy. Before returning to Pittsburgh to pursue her graduate degrees, Lucy worked in a legal non-profit that served the state of Maryland and an alternative dispute resolution center serving the Baltimore City Corrections Department. Her work as a mediator in the prison system instilled a deep sense of social responsibility to urban communities and sparked her interest in exploring social issues from a systemic policy level. While working on her doctorate, Lucy also works as a pastry chef for a local bakery and as a cooking instructor for her business, Grains and Grinds as a creative outlet. When she's not working, she can be found climbing, biking, exploring nature, organizing political events, and spending time with her cat.

Daniella Greeman, Events Coordinator, Heinz History Center

Daniella_Greeman.pngDaniella Greeman is an Event Coordinator at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District where she plans weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, charity events, corporate celebrations, and more. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Daniella attended school in the Pocono Mountains area of Northeast PA. She completed her B.A. in Urban Studies in 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh, with a concentration in Community Organization and also earned certificates in Public & Professional Writing, and African Studies. Daniella's rich Caribbean background, study abroad experiences, and passion for community development have led her to provide programming, events and multimedia for all to enjoy. She has worked to build conversations with non-profit businesses on how today's digital user content can be more accessible and inclusive to diverse and under served groups. Daniella hopes through continuous community management, business collaborations, and new multimedia solutions, to unite urban neighborhoods on and offline.

Valerie Harrison, Manager, Communications UPMC International

Valerie_Harrison.jpgValerie has recently returned back to Pittsburgh after spending eight years overseas. Most recently, she worked as a public affairs and communications consultant for APCO Worldwide in Istanbul, Turkey. During this time, she helped to organize the Anatolian Tigress Mentorship Program, a program offering for young women from the Anatolian region providing guidance and inspiration to further their career prospects. Prior to this role, she worked as a writer on a foreign affairs news program, and campaign strategist for a newly launched progressive political movement in Turkey. Valerie was drawn back to Pittsburgh to be closer to family and because of her belief in the city's ability to serve as a leader on progressive issues. Having witnessed personally the profound impact of the refugee crisis in Turkey, she is dedicated to her work with refugee resettlement programs and hopes to become a better advocate in ensuring Pittsburgh remains a safe city for both refugee and immigrant communities. She has since taken on a role as marketing and communications manager within UPMC's International division, which works to increase access to world class health care overseas. She also serves as communications manager and board member of Steel City FC, a semi-professional women's soccer team which enables women to compete at a national level, while also inspiring young girls through outreach programs. Having recently settled into the North Side of Pittsburgh, she enjoys engaging with local community groups and volunteering at the local food pantry. Valerie received her MA degree from King's College in International Conflict and BA from West Virginia in Political Science.

Pascale Joseph, Planner, Michael Baker International

Pascale_Joseph.jpgAs the child of Caribbean immigrants, Pascale Joseph has always been inspired by her parents' culture and developed a passion for exploring and understanding other cultures and backgrounds. It is this passion for diversity that led to her volunteering with different organizations and aiding in diversity and inclusion and leadership initiatives. Ms. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies and a Master of International Development, with a focus on Urban Affairs and Planning from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Art is a major part of her life, and in her spare time, she can be found painting, sculpting, or writing poetry. Her passion for the arts has led to three of her paintings displayed in the "Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts" exhibition of The University of Pittsburgh's University Art Gallery. Currently, she is a Planner at Michael Baker International where she primarily works on military master planning and local planning efforts. While she has had the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects from international and national reports to local municipality ordinances, her interests include the local community and researching ways to increase the quality of life for all.

Jaren Love, Constituent Advocate, United States Senate

Jaren_Love.JPGJaren Love was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania and raised in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of public high school and obtaining an Associate's Degree from the local community college, he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland in College Park. While attending Maryland, Jaren served in various internship roles inside the beltway including the Center for American Progress, Democratic GAIN and the United States Senate. Jaren was also an active member of the university's radio station WMUC 88.1 FM where he hosted both music and talk shows. Upon graduation in 2010, Jaren relocated to Pittsburgh to work as a Constituent Advocate for United States Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. Specializing in veterans & military, Social Security/Medicare, and immigration issues, he has been serving in this role for 6 years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar & piano, listening to music, reading, and playing basketball.

Bekezela Mguni, Youth Services Librarian, Sto-Rox Library

Bekezela_Mguni.jpgBekezela Mguni is a radical librarian, activist, artist and abundant bodied femme. She believes that the collective sharing of knowledge, beauty and inspiration is a part of life's purpose and brings that intentional spirit to her work. Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, she immigrated to New York at the age of 11 and lived in the Caribbean neighborhoods bustling in the hearts of Brooklyn and Queens before coming to Pittsburgh. She has over 10 years of community organizing experience in Reproductive Justice movement, in which she has worked with LGBTQIA communities, youth, women and people of color. She collaborates with various artists, educators, healers and activists who seek to create new worlds and new meanings for this world. Bekezela is a self taught and community educated artist . She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and participated in the first Librarians and Archivists with Palestine delegation in June of 2013. She completed her first micro-residency at the Pittsburgh creative hub Boom Concepts, launching the Pgh POC Zine Distro and was featured in the Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts exhibition, in the winter of 2015. She was a 2015-2016 member of Penn Ave Creative Accelerator Program with the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and continued her examination of the relationship between literacy and liberation in her March and April 2016 artist residencies with the Black Unicorn Project's Reading Room. Her work celebrates memory and storytelling as a means of cultural preservation and retention. The Black Unicorn Project is a Black, queer, feminist library and archive. Bekezela was selected as an Emerging Artist in the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival and won the Judge's Choice award for her work this year. She will be returning as an artist in 2017. She is currently working on the Activist Print Project a partnership between the Andy Warhol Museum, Boom Concepts and printmaking studio Artist Image Resource (AIR). The Black Unicorn Project will launch its 4th installation/intervention of the Reading Room in November of 2016 in Allentown, Pittsburgh. She is enjoying serving as the Youth Services Librarian at the Sto-Rox Library and being a new member of Boom Concepts Studios. Both connect her to people of all ages and backgrounds, creativity and innovation. Which continually feed her social justice and artistic practices. She is interested in Black joy, resistance, legacy and possibilities.

Ryan Morden, Legislative Aide, PA House of Representatives

Ryan_Morden.pngRyan Morden moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2015 after establishing a career in media and public service in the Pacific Northwest, Upstate New York, and Annapolis, Maryland. A journalism major at the University of Washington, Ryan worked in radio in Seattle and Olympia, Washington, where he covered the state legislature for the Northwest News Network. In 2009, he moved to Syracuse, New York to work for the NPR member station WRVO. He met his wife, the then press secretary for the US Representative from Syracuse, at a press conference in 2010, and soon after joined her in Washington, DC. Once in Washington, he switched gears from media to political advocacy and public service, first working on a Congressional campaign and then in the Maryland state legislature as a legislative assistant. Since moving to Pittsburgh, Ryan has been a dedicated volunteer at Planned Parenthood of Western PA, worked for State Senate candidate Heather Arnet, and now serves as a legislative aide to State Representative Dan Frankel (D-23). A passionate progressive, Ryan wants to see a new generation of leadership emerge in Pittsburgh.

Hadley Pratt, Head of Corporate Services, KinetiGear LLC

hadley_pratt.jpgHadley Pratt is the Head of Corporate Services at KinetiGear, LLC, a Pittsburgh-based technology company that designs and produces innovative tools for digital fabrication. An early hire, Hadley helped KinetiGear transition from a small startup to a growing small business after the company successfully crowdfunded $1.2 million to launch the production of their first product, BoXZY, an all-in-one desktop 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC milling machine. Her current position combines her passion for creativity, education, and economic empowerment, and challenges her to adapt to an array of revolving responsibilities that include human resource management, customer service, bookkeeping, supply chain management, and more. Prior to working at KinetiGear, Hadley served as the Communications Director for the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation. There, she helped give voice to the growing population of downtown residents, and engage residents, stakeholders, and business owners alike through the nonprofit's programming and events. While studying nonfiction writing and French language and literature at the University of Pittsburgh, she was the editor-in-chief of The Original Magazine, a student-run publication that covered the city's arts and culture. Raised in the South Side, Hadley has cultivated a deep love for Pittsburgh's neighborhoods and communities, geographic and otherwise. In her spare time, Hadley enjoys making art, cooking, spending time with friends and family, exploring Pittsburgh, and traveling. She currently calls Friendship home.

Leah Scott, Policy Coordinator, Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time

Leah_Scott.jpgLeah Scott is a Pittsburgh-area native who strives to support systematic change in Southwestern Pennsylvania. As an involved undergraduate student at Carlow University, Leah served as the Student Government President. In this role, she also worked with all Allegheny County-based colleges and universities through the Pittsburgh Student Government Council to represent the common needs and concerns of Allegheny County college students. After receiving her bachelorís degree in Chemistry from Carlow, Leah served two years as an AmeriCorps member with Public Allies Pittsburgh. She served her first year with YWCA Greater Pittsburgh supporting STEM Education in the out-of-school time space. Leah served her second year with Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST), an initiative of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania (then of Allegheny County). She remained with APOST post-Public Allies working to support out-of-school time policy for the region. Also post-Public Allies, Leah was working towards her Masterís in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon. While at Heinz, Leah was a Professionalism and Ethics Committee member, a Heinz Journal Editor, and a Lauble Fellow, which places an emphasis on economic and community development in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Leah completed her degreet in December 2016 and is excited for next steps in her career. She is passionate about economic development policy and how the public and private sector can partner together to create opportunities for all. Outside of work and school, Leah is a Mentor in the Mentor 2.0 with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and serves on the Carlow Alumni Board of Directors. She loves to bake new cookie recipes, read anything on the New York Times Best Seller List, and jog through Frick Park.

Matthew Shorraw, Assistant Band Director, Monessen School District

Matthew_Shorraw.JPGMatthew T. Shorraw is a twenty-five-year-old, 6th Generation Monessenite, who is passionate about helping his city. He was born on March 3, 1991, to Tom and Nancy (Savage) Shorraw. He was raised by his Paternal Grandmother, Irene (Sivak) Shorraw, who instilled in him a love for his city and its history. He is a 2009 graduate of Monessen High School, and a 2015 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree in Commercial Music Technology with a focus on Voice and Piano, and a certificate in Protools Software. During his tenure at Cal U, he had the opportunity to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and their student choir, as well as with the Washington Symphony Orchestra, with California Singers. He is also a member of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church Choir, in Washington, PA, where he had the honor to sing for the Papal Mass, on New Year Day, in 2015. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Education in Technology Education, which aims to incorporate technology into curriculum. He is currently serving as Assistant Band Director and A Cappella Ensemble Director at Monessen Middle School/High School. He is very involved within the City of Monessen, as well as the Pittsburgh Region. Under his role as a volunteer with the Greater Monessen Historical Society, he authored a book, entitled "Images of Modern America: Monessen", with Arcadia Publishing. Matt also serves on the board of the Monessen Community Development Corporation; as well as President of the Monessen City Park Amphitheater Committee, where he co-wrote several grants. Other roles include: Vice President of Monessen Communities That Care; a member of the Monessen Lions Club; Carpatho-Rusyn Society; Young Preservationists of Pittsburgh; and Preservation Pittsburgh. Matt is the founder of the Raise Your Voice Campaign, which sparked usage in the historic Monessen City Park Amphitheater, in 2013. The campaign aims to connect youth to music and art, lower risk factors in youth, and bridge generational gaps. Each year, the annual Raise Your Voice Festival, which is entering its sixth year, serves as a catalyst for these goals, as well as a fundraiser for Monessen Communities That Care. He was appointed to serve on the City of Monessen's Vacant Property Review Board, as well as the Property Maintenance Board. He is the special event coordinator for the Young Professionals of the Mon Valley; a proud brother of Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, a lifelong member of St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church; as well as the founder of the 500 Donner Project, which aims to purchase, restore, and reuse the former Monessen Savings and Trust building, and create a music center for youth, as well as and cafe;, and concert venue, using a social enterprise model. Matt hopes to inspire Monessen's next generation of youth, in order to spark positive and progressive change, within the City of Monessen, both socially and economically.

Abigael Wolensky, Deputy Director, The Employment Institute

Abigael_Wolensky.jpgOriginally from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Abigael Wolensky moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies, Abigael pursued her graduate education at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). In 2015, Abigael graduated from GSPIA with a Master of Public Administration degree specializing in Urban and Regional Affairs. While a graduate student, Abigael participated in the Johnson Institute's Leadership Portfolio Program, a 15-month leadership development program. Abigael also served on the Board of Directors of Auberle, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization serving over 3,400 children and families in Southwestern Pennsylvania on an annual basis. Through her board service, Abigael became passionate about the issues that at-risk youth and families face, particularly related to workforce development and education and wanted to use her abilities to improve outcomes for this population. Abigael currently works at Auberle as a Development Associate researching, writing and managing several federal, state, local and foundation grants. Recently, Abigael secured a federal Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to train 50 at-risk youth in environmental remediation practices, placing them on a path to a career.

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