Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

Leadership Team

Jordan Ball (2015 Fellow), Chapter Co-Director


Jordan Ball began his career in public service as a Panetta Congressional Fellow in 2012, where he interned under the guidance of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. He was inspired by his experience on Capitol Hill, and subsequently worked on local, state, and national campaigns across the country, including Americans for Workplace Opportunity in New Hampshire. Jordan currently serves as U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s Southwest Regional Representative, where he works across the region to facilitate collaboration and work on issues impacting coal, rural, urban, senior and veteran constituencies. He has quickly established himself as an innovative, populist thinker who challenges orthodoxy. He also serves as Co-Director of New Leaders Council Pittsburgh, where he helps recruit and train millennial entrepreneurs from business, government, and non-profit sectors. In summer 2016, he was selected to give a national speech at the New Leaders Council (NLC) conference in Washington, D.C., where he urged political leaders to re-evaluate anti-energy policies and how they connect with working class communities in coal country. Additionally, he is active on several boards including the National Veteran’s Art Museum Pittsburgh Advisory Committee. He is currently pursuing his MBA at West Virginia University with an emphasis in Energy Finance.


Rhiannon Cook (2015 Fellow), Chapter Co-Director


Rhi Cook is a Senior Media buyer and planner. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in ‘09 she held a range of communication roles across politics, environmental advocacy, education, and healthcare. Vast and varied experiential learning has directed Rhi to her niche as a media and communications strategist. It's her mission to aid cross-functional collaboration that bridges variegated roles and industries to produce profitable results for social good.

In her current role with Chemistry, a full service advertising agency, Rhiannon is focused on making data-driven optimizations and executing integrated digital campaigns for her non-profit clients to aid with fundraising, awareness, direct response, and B2B campaigns. She enjoys working at the intersection of ethical business and new technology, where she takes client strategy and translates it into targeted media recommendations that meet goals and increase brand cohesion.

Rhiannon is a native of Northeast Ohio, but now calls Pittsburgh home. She currently serves as the Secretary for the Media Association of Pittsburgh and as the Vice President of the Influential Leaders Board of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania. Rhiannon is a lifelong volleyball player, swimmer, social activist, and probably planning her next trip abroad.

Tara Jerry, Finance ChairTara_Jerry.jpg

A native of New Jersey but lifelong Steelers fan, Tara Jerry came to Pittsburgh in 2010 to begin her undergraduate career at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2013 with a BS in Economics and Political Science. Tara began her current career path when she joined the fundraising team on Tom Wolf’s campaign for Governor in March 2014 and since then has continued fundraising and compliance work for many local, statewide and federal candidates.  Tara has been Finance Chair for NLC Pittsburgh since 2015 and is excited to watch the organization continue to grow as the city in which she recently purchased her first home continues to grow and change as well.





Hilary Marcella (2015 Fellow), Development Co-ChairHilary.PNG

 Hilary is a non-profit manager and resource-raiser, passionate about doing the work of creating a better, more equitable world. She currently works to identify and secure institutional funding to advance YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s programs – and to help sustain the organization’s multi-million dollar operating budget. 

Previously, Hilary directed Clean Water Action Pittsburgh’s outreach and fundraising efforts to 20,000 individuals. In 2014, she personally raised more than $100,000 from individual donors and led staff in exceeding revenue goals – helping to oversee a department-wide fundraising gross of more than $1 million (eclipsing projections).

Driven by her passion for social justice, Hilary focused her undergraduate degree on urban studies, community organizing, and sociology. In particular, she is interested in the systemic causes and potential policy solutions to inequality. She received her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, graduating magna cum laude in 2010.

Outside of her professional life, Hilary is a lover of good eats, cats, and laughs. In her spare time she watches Insecure, The Walking Dead, and everything Shonda Rhimes has anything to do with. She also spends too much time on Facebook, mostly reading and sharing things to do with social justice and politics (but you can find plenty of cat photos in her posts, too).


Megan Neuf (2015 Fellow), Development Co-Chair

Megan Neuf is a graduate student at the pursuing a joint masters in Social Work and Masters in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and Pitt Public Health. Megan began her involvement in the nonprofit sector of Pittsburgh in 2006 when she helped to found M-Powerment, a women's social justice organization at Shaler Area High School. This led her to achievements such as becoming a Pittsburgh Community Champion and being awarded the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Public Service.

Throughout her undergraduate and graduate education, Megan has continued her commitment to social causes and the community with her involvement in organizations such as Strong Women, Strong Girls; Pittsburgh Party for a Purpose; and the New Pittsburgh Collaborative. Megan continues to seek out new knowledge through programs like the Jonas Salk Fellowship and the QIT Health Innovators Fellowship.

Recently, she's had the opportunity to serve two summers as the Graduate Fellow for the Heinz Endowments Summer Youth Philanthropy Internship Program and as a Public Policy Associate at the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. In years to come, Megan aspires to continue to work in issue based advocacy and policy development.



Alyssa Lyon (2016 Fellow), Institute Co-Chair


Alyssa P. Lyon will be graduating with a Masters of Public Management from Heinz College
housed at Carnegie Mellon University in December 2017.  She’s also a Pitt alumna having
received a BA in Communications and Africana Studies & certificates of Leadership and African Studies (plus a language) from the University in 2012. In her current role as Manager of Community Outreach and Engagement, she believes that neighborhoods function best when they’re are provided with equal resourcing opportunities, contain economically thriving businesses & organizations, and are successful at producing and retaining inhabitants who are prideful of their living spaces & fellow residents.

Outside of the professional realm, Alyssa remains active in community-oriented events throughout Pittsburgh.  She’s worked and volunteered with educational youth groups, such as the 4-H Community Innovation Training & Youth, where program initiatives highlighted academic success, youth leadership and civic engagement as facets of a progressive and sustainable community. She is also a national board member & devoted volunteer for the African American Alumni Council at the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition, Alyssa volunteers for FOCUS Pittsburgh’s BackPack program and Habitat for Humanity. She also holds a leadership position with the New Leaders Council of Pittsburgh, for the upcoming year, she’ll be facilitating institute with fellow Board members Kathryn Vargas & Ricky Burgess Jr.



Ricky Burgess (2016 Fellow), Institute Co-Chair


Ricky relocated back to the Pittsburgh area shortly before becoming an NLC fellow. Prior to that, Ricky a was participant Rexnord's MBA leadership development program, where he served in marketing, engineering, project management, operations, and product management roles within Rexnord businesses across the country. Ricky graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2012 with both a MBA concentrating in organizational leadership and a MSPPM from Heinz College. While at Tepper, Ricky served as VP of Finance for the Organization Leadership Club and President of the Black Graduate Student Organization. Prior to business school, Ricky worked as a project manager for an engineering consulting firm and earned a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from MIT. Ricky's passion is to provide affordable access to potable water and water treatment for people throughout the United States and across the globe.


Lindsay Powell (2016 Fellow), Recruitment Co-Chair

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Lindsay Powell has always been passionate about social justice initiatives and addressing inequality, both domestically and abroad. Working in government and politics throughout her whole career, she is dedicated advocate and community servant. 

Lindsay received her Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College (MA) in Sociology. She spent several summers abroad working and researching in South Africa, Vietnam and Nicaragua and served as the Student Government Association President her senior year. Upon graduation Lindsay went on to work in New York City local politics with City Council. 
In 2014 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Pantai Remis, Malaysia to teach English classes within some of the local secondary schools. One program she ran for girls interested in environmental justice received national recognition through the Malaysian Department of Education.
Upon returning to the United States, Lindsay worked for numerous progressive leaders such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08) and former President Barak Obama in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. 
Lindsay first came to Pittsburgh as a graduate student of the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, and has been in love with Pittsburgh ever since. 
In 2017, she completed her Masters in Science in Public Policy and Management in 2017 and is a proud recipient of the CMU Otto A. Davis Award, given to the student that exemplifies the College’s commitment to social justice and racial equality.
Lindsay is a proud alumna and member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the New Leaders Council Leadership Board and a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.



Leah Scott (2017 Fellow), Recruitment & Selections Co-ChairLeah_S.PNG

Leah 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 degree 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.

Lukas W. Bagshaw, J.D. (2017 Fellow), Selections Co-ChairLukas.PNG

 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. 



Abigael Wolensky (2017 Fellow), Selections Co-ChairAbby.PNG

Originally 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.


Leah Rainey (2016 Fellow), Mentorship ChairPitt-Marmo.jpg

A graduate from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Social Work, Leah has spent her life devoted to understanding large scale social issues in an effort to elicit change and movement. Born and raised in Pittsburgh's coal towns, Leah brings a first hand account of the effects of poverty and community redevelopment to her work of studying homelessness on a county-wide level. As an undergrad, Leah focused her studies on researching homelessness and poverty on an international level, traveling to Poland to work with a team of researchers in a cross-cultural analysis of European and Western social issues. Since living and working in Pittsburgh, Leah has immersed herself in the rapid changes within Pittsburgh's East End, working both in community development and community grassroots efforts to make Pittsburgh fair and accessible to all. Leah lives in the East End with her soon to be husband Ben and rescue pitbull Sierra Nevada. Leah balances her work life by training for marathons, doing yoga, and enjoying coffee with friends and family.


 Jenna Baron (2016 Fellow), Alumni Co-Chair


Jenna Baron comes to Pittsburgh by way of Wilkes-Barre, PA where she was born and raised. In spring 2013, Jenna graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and certificates in Global Studies and African Studies. Jenna is currently employed by the United Way of Allegheny County, where she works on two initiatives within the department of Children and Youth: the Be There Campaign and Be a Middle School Mentor. After graduating from Pitt in 2013, Jenna was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Nairobi, Kenya, where she conducted a project documenting the experiences of activists, teachers, students, and volunteers involved in the disability rights movement. After completion of her Fulbright project, she returned to Pittsburgh to serve as a fellow with Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE), where she was placed with the United Way’s Be There Campaign.

At the end of her fellowship with PULSE, she stayed on the Campaign, which partners with schools in Allegheny County to address chronic absenteeism - a national crisis affecting school-age youth. Her current role is focused on working with schools in the North Side as a partner to the Buhl Foundation’s One Northside initiative. Outside of her work at the United Way, Jenna volunteers with Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) Academy. Jenna’s work is guided by her belief that reforming the U.S. public education system is a key approach to combat racism and achieve social justice. Now and as she continues in the nonprofit field, she hopes to become a better and more experienced advocate for minority rights, specifically immigrants and people with disabilities.



Rose Semple (2016 Fellow), Alumni Co-Chair 

Rose Semple was born in Southwestern Pennsylvania to parents Theresa, an instructional aide, and Bob, a retired coal miner. She has chosen to make Pittsburgh her home because she loves the area and wishes to remain close to her family. Rose began participating in civil rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign at an early age. She attended college at Penn State University, majoring in Comparative Literature and Journalism, with a minor in Italian. She studied abroad in Rome during her junior year of college. Her passion for public radio led to an on-air internship with WPSU. After college, she spent a year working for local government and traveling in Europe. Rose attended law school at the University of Akron, where she focused her studies on juvenile law and indigent criminal defense. After graduation, Rose moved back to Southwestern Pennsylvania and has been employed as an assistant public defender for over four years. Aside from her trial work, she serves as the defense representative on the specialty courts in Washington County, providing restorative justice to veterans and individuals with substance abuse and mental health concerns. She is passionate about her work and feels privileged to serve as an advocate for the low-income population of Pennsylvania. Rose is certified to teach yoga and enjoys expanding her own practice. On a sunny day, she can be found riding her bicycle around the city or hiking in one of the beautiful parks. Last year she began volunteering with Big Brothers and Big Sisters and now has a wonderful time with her “little sister.” Rose enjoys cultural pursuits such as attending musical performances and participating in a book club. She also founded a community drama club named “Eaten Alive Productions,” which recently performed their first pair of one-act plays, which were rather well-received and quite a lot of fun. Rose prides herself on her creative problem solving abilities and a knack for bringing people together. She has confidence that the skills she learns and connections she makes as an NLC fellow will help her to make lasting and positive change in her community.

Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley

Contact: | © New Leaders Council Pittsburgh 2016