The ATHENA Awards are the networking event of the season for men and women of all backgrounds! Tickets available here: Athena-Pittsburgh.com

The results are in: five  prominent leaders from the Pittsburgh region have been named 2015 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards finalists.

They will be recognized on Oct. 9 for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women at the 25th Annual ATHENA & Young Professional Awards Luncheon, presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development at the Westin Convention Center Hotel, one  At the event, one finalist will become the recipient of the 2015 ATHENA Award. The 2015 ATHENA finalists, selected from among a record 49 nominees – a record-setting number – compose a varied and distinguished group of women. The finalists are:

  • Lynn M. Banaszak, executive director, Disruptive Health Technology Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Doris Carson Williams, president & chief executive officer, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA
  • Lisa Lenihan, United States magistrate judge, United States District Court for the Western District of PA
  • Rhonda Moore Johnson, senior medical director of health equity & quality services, Highmark Inc.
  • Lucille Prater-Holliday, founder, Black Women’s Empowerment Institute

The ATHENA Young Professional Award will also be presented — to a woman age 35 or younger who exemplifies the qualities of ATHENA with an emphasis on modeling positive leadership to peers. This is the fifth year for the “Young ATHENA” award and also a record year, with 29 nominations. The 2015 AYPA finalists are:

  • Josie Badger, youth development director, PEAL Center
  • Meredith Meyer Grelli, co-founder and co-owner, Wigle Whiskey
  • Aurora Sharrard, vice president of innovation, Green Building Alliance.

Last year’s luncheon drew nearly 900 attendees, securing the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award Luncheon’s status as the largest stand-alone event of its kind in the world among the 500-plus communities around the globe that present the award each year.

Tickets for the luncheon may be purchased at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com.

The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards Program is made possible by support from UPMC Health Plan; Citizens Bank; KPMG LLP; Jones Day, Pittsburgh Magazine; PPG Industries, Inc.; Williams; WTAE-TV; Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC; Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women; Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C.; The Ellis School; and Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP. 

Bonnie Pfister

Looking for something new? ImaginePittsburgh.com has more than 20,000 open job listing on its website as of today. You can also explore Featured Employers, careers and and great places to live, play and learn.

Cyber-security Analyst at Peoples Natural Gas

Titanium Research Engineer at ATI (Allegheny Technologies)

Web Developer at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Actuarial Analyst at Highmark

Digital Media Analyst at MARC USA

Not exactly what you’re looking for? Check out our Neighbors page to see what kinds of careers young and mid-career professionals are pursuing. You can reach out to the Neighbors for networking ideas via the LinkedIn addresses include in their profiles. And stay up-to-date with new job postings and other news about building a great life in the Pittsburgh region via our monthly newsletter, our RSS feedFacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Zersha Munir

Pittsburgh’s got jobs — 26,860 open as of today in the 10-county region on the ImaginePittsburgh.com job search engine. That’s  a one-stop aggregator of career postings updated daily from more than 900 jobs boards, corporate websites and search engines.

Here are few available today:

Front End Web Developer at Carnegie Mellon University

Manager of Architecture at Highmark

Labor Program Coordinator at Bayer

Supplier Quality Engineer at Industrial Scientific

Senior Loan Analyst at Dollar Bank

* * * 

Check ImaginePittsburgh.com regularly for more career opportunities and news about the region. You can also sign up for our monthly eNewsletter, or follow us by RSS feedFacebookTwitterLinkedIn or our other social media channels.

ImaginePittsburgh.com
Pittsburgh Promise Scholar Brianna Smith
Pittsburgh Promise Scholar Brianna Smith

With the Pittsburgh Promise now beginning its sixth year of offering college and technical school scholarships to city students, the nonprofit is also looking to bring those newly minted college grads back home – and to help connect them with some of the thousands of jobs available now in the Pittsburgh region.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently profiled efforts by the innovative program to assist its college and tech school grads with career fairs, interview trainings and networking opportunities, while the New Pittsburgh Courier highlighted a mentorship program of 150 African American male high school students interested in participating in the Pittsburgh Promise.  (Here’s another story about getting those students “Promise Ready.”)

In related news, scientific instrument maker Thermo Fisher Scientific, headquartered in Waltham, Mass. but with about 1,500 workers in Robinson Township, just announced a $1 million commitment that includes scholarships for five high-performing students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (known as the STEM fields).

The Pittsburgh Promise began in 2008 to award scholarships to Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates with at least a 2.5 grade point average and 90 percent attendance. Funded with foundation and corporate support, it has provided, to date, more than $25 million in scholarship funds to 3,700 students.

You can learn more about it here. And find out more about jobs in the Pittsburgh region through the Allegheny Conference’s career awareness portal and job search engine, ImaginePittsburgh.com.

Ben Kamber

While the Pittsburgh region has made remarkable strides in recent years on a number of economic and quality-of-life fronts, the need for a more diverse workforce remains a challenge. To help overcome this hurdle, Vibrant Pittsburgh along with nine leading regional employers have teamed up with OppsPlace, an online diversity portal and national initiative led by Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET. Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh and Sara Oliver Carter, VP of diversity and inclusion at Highmark explain how OppsPlace can get the word out regionally and nationally that Pittsburgh has opportunity for natives and newcomers alike.

Due in large part to the burgeoning Marcellus Shale industry, Washington County has been ranked the third fastest growing county in the nation in job creation, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi and Jeff Kotula of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce discuss how the county has been able to reverse a declining population trend that has spanned more than a generation.

There are a whole lot of reasons to plan a visit to Washington County for your next weekend trip. From the Meadows Casino and Racetrack to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum to the Tanger Outlets — visitors seeking an outing in a charming setting like Washington County have many options. J.R. Shaw of the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency explains why the county’s fast growing, diverse economy is leading to a tourism boost.

Our Region’s Business” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on WPXI-TV. Hosted by the Allegheny Conference’s Bill Flanagan, the 30-minute business affairs program is co-produced with Cox Broadcasting. The program is rebroadcast on PCNC-TV at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 3:30 p.m. Mondays. It also airs Sundays on WJAC-TV (Johnstown-Altoona) at 6 a.m. and WTOV-TV (Wheeling-Steubenville) at 6:30 a.m.

Bonnie Pfister

Leadership is all around us in the Pittsburgh region. As part of an occasional series, ImaginePittsburghNow.com is recognizing outstanding local business and community leaders with a series of short profiles. Dr. Rhonda Moore Johnson was suggested by the  African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania. Suggestions for other individuals to recognize may be sent to bpfister AT alleghenyconference DOT org.

Dr. Rhonda Moore Johnson is the medical director of health equity and quality services at Highmark Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh. She spent part of her childhood in public housing and graduated from South Hills High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard, a medical degree from Penn State University and master’s in public health from Ohio State University.

A former pediatrician, she leads Highmark’s efforts to reduce racial and ethnic health care disparities among the insurers’ members through clinical interventions and improvements in health literacy, language access and health-plan cultural competency. That means – among other things — training health care providers and their staff to share information with patients in plain language, and to be on the lookout for health issues that tend to occur among certain racial, ethnic and economic groups. Her work helped Highmark become the first Blue Cross Blue Shield plan to receive a Distinction in Multicultural Health Care by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

 

What is your job? What for you is the best part of your work?

I get to do work that I’m passionate about: improving access to health care for all people. I practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine for many years, and I grew to understand that it’s not just the ability to see a doctor that matters; it’s having the whole health care system work together. Highmark is a very innovative company that invests in resources across the entire spectrum of wellness.

 

Why Pittsburgh? What are Pittsburgh’s unique advantages?

I’d practiced medicine for years in southwest Georgia and in Cincinnati, but I always wanted to come back home. I love the hills and the tunnels and the rivers and the bridges. Pittsburgh is a very affordable, family-friendly city with high-quality housing, close to New York, Philadelphia, DC, northern Virginia. The beach is within a day’s drive.

 

What opportunities have proven most helpful in your career? What barriers have you experienced?

I had wonderful teachers at my elementary school – Phillip Murray. I call them the “Kennedy Generation” of teachers. They made home visits, and took extra care to help us succeed. I also had wonderful parents and extended family, and other individuals who helped to mentor me, but the role of a teacher in a young person’s life can never be underestimated.

Much of my career has been characterized by being the first: the first African American this; the first African American woman that (to integrate certain medical practices, for example). I had a confidence and belief in myself, that all things are possible. I refused to focus on the barriers. I come back to the passage in Philippians, “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.” That’s always been an affirmation for me.

 

What are the biggest barriers to recruiting and retaining African American professionals in the Pittsburgh region? What could people in the business community do to make it easier?

Despite some perceptions to the contrary, I think there’s a decent-sized African American middle class in Pittsburgh. It’s just spread out: over the East Hills, the South and North Hills, and the center city. Some of the old-timers prefer not to cross all those bridges and tunnels and hills, and they stay in their neighborhoods. But we’re here. There are also strong institutions: the Pan-Hellenic groups, the Pittsburgh chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the NAACP, and the Urban League.

Businesses should develop a robust inclusion strategy. It’s natural to gravitate toward people who look like you, who have had similar life experiences. But lack of diversity in your workplace – of people of color, of women, of veterans – makes it harder to recruit other diverse workers. People are going to avoid workplaces where they sense a prevailing or underlying lack of upward mobility. There are professionals who can help guide you in developing strategies for greater inclusion in hiring and promotion.

 

What advice can you share with students or young professionals about finding a rewarding job/career? What are the most concrete bits of advice that you wish you had heard as a young professional?

I work with a lot of young people, with mentees, and I tell them: find what motivates you, what drives you, what you’re passionate about. Your work will be more rewarding if you have an emotional connection to your day-to-day career. Seek out advice beyond your friends, peers and family. Go beyond your comfort circle. What’s success for me may not be success for you; you have to define it for yourself.

And it’s possible to change careers. I did.