Last month the One Young World summit made its first landing in the United States, gathering thinkers and activists age 30 and under in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center. They tackled issues around education, public health, human rights and the role that businesses can play in fostering sustainable development and social justice.

On Oct. 20, the more than 1,000 attendees fanned out across the Pittsburgh region to seminars hosted in local communities, discussing – among dozens of other topics — how to build social businesses, using hip-hop music to engage kids in positive change and furthering equity in women’s sports.

“Painting a Brighter Picture for Youth” brought 40 delegates to the Art Institute, where they learned about the MLK (Moving the Lives of Kids) Community Mural Project. The project channels the energy of kids in at-risk neighborhoods to create public art, and has involved artists and more than 1,000 young people in creating 500+ murals in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta and other U.S. cities, as well as in Brazil and Haiti.

In the video below, Kyle Holbrook, the project’s executive artist, describes a mural celebrating youth leadership that was dedicated that rainy afternoon at Market Street along the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh. There OYW delegates joined MLK’s student artists in putting brushes to additional mural panels that will be displayed at Robert Morris University and elsewhere.

Thanks to Robert Morris University videographer Tras Watts.

Click here to read more about the One Young World summit.


Bonnie Pfister

It’s less than two weeks until more than 1,000 emerging leaders from around the world gather in Pittsburgh for the first One Young World summit to hit U.S. shores. Ages 18 through 30, these delegates will spend Oct. 18-22 tackling issues around education, public health and the role that businesses can play in fostering sustainable development and social justice.

Designed for OYW 2012 by Pittsburgh-educated Burton Morris

As the region gears up to host these guests, it’s worth remembering that Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center has already hosted more than 10,000 bright young people from around the globe in 2012. That includes more than 8,500 engineers and student members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the world’s largest pre-college science research competition.

That gathering, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), showcased cutting-edge research and inventions by more than 1,500 students from 70 countries. Among those who earned a place at the competition were seven Pittsburgh area students. ImaginePittsburghNow caught up with four of them during the fair. You can watch video interviews here or below with Natalie Nash of Vincentian Academy in the North Hills, Chareeni Kurukulasuriya of Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill, Robert Vaerewyck of St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights, and Andrew Lingenfelter of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School in Harmony.

It’s not just young visitors who are finding their way here. Increasingly educated newcomers – and boomerangers — in their 20s and 30s are building their careers, making their homes and building their lives in what used to be one of the oldest population centers in America. Pittsburgh has jobs, and is a place big enough to have fun, but small enough to be affordable and to allow you to feel like you’re making a difference  – in innovation, business, research, the arts and more. To stay abreast of what’s happening, sign up to get our blogposts directly into your email via RSS feed, find us at and follow us on

Natalie Nash of Vincentian Academy in the North Hills


Andrew Lingenfelter of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School in Harmony


Chareeni Kurukulasuriya of Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill


Robert Vaerewyck of St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights

Phil Cynar

Women are significantly shaping the Pittsburgh region’s future, making their mark on business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more. And women who mentor other women are advancing their influence exponentially by helping to prepare a new generation of women poised to lead this region.

Nominated by their peers for professional excellence, contributions to the community and their mentorship of other women, exceptional women been recognized with the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award for more than 20 years.

Today, two more Pittsburgh women were added to the ranks of ATHENA award recipients. They are Judge Kim Berkeley Clark and Christy Uffelman.

A judge in the Fifth Judicial District of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Clark is the 2012 ATHENA Award recipient. Espousing the professional and personal credo that “nothing is too hard,” Clark has spent the past 14 years focused on the best interests of children in a court known for emotionally trying cases and long hours. She began her career as an assistant district attorney and later served as Allegheny County deputy district attorney, conducting more than 150 jury trials. Clark was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1999 and elected to full 10-year terms in 1999 and 2009. She was the first African American to be named an administrative judge in Allegheny County and the first judge and African American female to serve as president of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Off the bench, Clark continues to influence the lives of children for the better by giving of her time and talents to the community. She is a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh trustee and a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council Advisory Board, the Pittsburgh Project board of directors and the advisory committee of the Pittsburgh Urban League’s Urban Youth Empowerment Program. A gifted pianist and clarinetist, Clark has cultivated a love of music in children by giving piano lessons at Homewood’s Afro-American Music Institute.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award responds to the reality that Pittsburgh’s population is trending younger, with more 20- and 30-year-olds choosing to live and work here. Among this younger population are women who will be tomorrow’s changemakers and leaders. Christy Uffelman is one of those women and the 2012 ATHENA Young Professional Award recipient.

Uffelman is vice president of employee and organization development at Mascaro Construction and the first female member of the company’s executive team. Breaking ground in the traditionally male-dominated construction field, she has co-chaired the Master Builders Association HR Forum and has been a regular speaker for the Associate General Contractors of America and the National Association for Women in Construction.

A lifelong Girl Scout, she’s now a Brownie leader, a Women & Girls Foundation Grantmaking Committee volunteer and the creator of the Strong Leaders Program (SLP) – a fundraising and volunteer pipeline for Strong Women, Strong Girls, a nationally recognized mentoring program empowering women and girls. Uffelman is also the founder of EMPOWER, a group committed to the evolution of women as mothers and professionals.

Check out videos of  Clark and Uffelman, below, and our ImaginePittsburgh Flickr stream of photos below that. You can read more about all of the nominees at, where over the next few days we’ll also be uploading videos of other finalists, as well videos of the awards ceremony itself.

Kim Berkeley Clark from MediaQuest on Vimeo.


From ImaginePittsburgh’s Flickr phototream:

Photos by Scott Smathers for the Allegheny Conference.

Bonnie Pfister

The Sept. 24 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards luncheon has once again sold out. One of the season’s most popular networking events will recognize eight women chosen as finalists for the ATHENA Award and Young Professional Award.

These women will be recognized for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women at the at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. At the event, one finalist each will become the 2012 ATHENA Award recipient, while another will be chosen for the Young Professional award, which recognizes a woman age 35 or younger who acts as a role model to other women.

The finalists, selected among dozens of impressive nominees, compose a varied and distinguished group – each woman using her leadership to create professional excellence and positive regional impact.

Find out who the finalists are at, and check out photos from the Aug. 23 nominees reception on our Imagine Pittsburgh Flickr page, or below.

Presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards Program is made possible by support from the ESB Bank; FedEx Ground; UPMC Health Plan; Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh Business Times; Pittsburgh Magazine; Pop City; WTAE-TV; Athena Bottled Water; Best of the Batch Foundation; Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC; Fox Rothschild, LLP; Mascaro Construction Company, LP;  Sisterson & Co. LLP; and TiER1 Performance Solutions.

Bonnie Pfister

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to drive past a building or bridge and say, I built that? (I do say that about my late Uncle Al, a bricklayer, every time I pass the Squirrel Hill post office on Murray Avenue. Given its proximity to splendid Manor Theatre, I get to say this a lot [to the chagrin of my friends]. Not a bad legacy for a guy who died in the 1980s.)

A few of the undergraduate women in the University of Pittsburgh’s civil engineering program mentioned something similar when talking about the tangible rewards of their anticipated careers. They were part of a larger group of students who toured the ongoing construction work along Route 28 as part of program in conjunction with the local American Society of Civil Engineers, the Constructors Association of Western PA and Brayman Construction Corp. of Saxonburg.

You can watch a video interview with these students on our YouTube page or below. It’s one in an occasional series of posts about women in non-traditional careers. You can check out previous entries here. And if you have a career or an individual to suggest for this series, send the idea along to bpfister AT alleghenyconference DOT org.

Bonnie Pfister

For the first time ever, a women’s professional football championship will be hosted at an NFL stadium.

Pittsburgh Passion teammates

Heinz Field will host the 2012 SilverSport WFA National Championship on Saturday, August 4. The WFA, or Women’s Football Alliance, is a 62-team U.S. league that plays full-contact football. While local team Pittsburgh Passion has had several winning seasons, it did not, alas, make it to the final playoff game this year. Instead, the contest between the Chicago Force and the San Diego Surge starts at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast via ESPN3  to 73 million homes, and online at, Xbox Live and mobile devices.

Saturday will be a day-long “Breaking Barriers” festival at the stadium, including VIP Reception for sponsors and athletes, a Fan Fair and a ceremony afterwards in which two Pittsburgh Steelers will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

The event comes at the 40th anniversary of two historic events: the passage of Title IX, the law that outlawed gender discrimination in U.S. educational programs and by extension, in school athletics; and the Immaculate Reception — one of the most famous plays in football history, carried out by beloved Pittsburgh idol (and Passion co-owner) Franco Harris.

Among the cheering fans will be former Pittsburgh Passion defensive back Jennifer Cairns. The recipient of the first-ever ATHENA Young Professional Award for women leaders age 35 and younger, Cairns is a partner at law firm McGuire Woods specializing in litigation and risk management. asked this eloquent spokeswoman and advocate for equality and the mentorship of women and girls to weigh in on Saturday’s gathering. Here’s what she had to say.

“I think the event celebrates the pioneers of the past who had the courage to stand up and shed light on the inequalities facing women in sport. It also highlights the important role forward-thinking men played in opening doors and empowering female athletes and coaches to continue to demand opportunities and combat traditional stereotypes. Finally, I firmly believe that forward steps such as these not only have a positive impact on the women and girls following behind us, but also on the men and boys.

“In my 10 years of involvement with women’s football, one of the most inspiring stories I’ve heard came during a casual conversation I overheard among the children and friends of a former teammate.

“Apparently, there had been debate on the ball field in one boy’s neighborhood as to whether the boys would let girls play with them. Although they decided to let the girls play, some of the boys began to bicker over whose team was going to get ‘stuck’ with the girls. Out of the blue, the little boy chimed up: ‘My aunt plays football and those ladies really know how to hit! I want them on my team.’  It was then that our true impact struck me. We are not only serving as role models for our daughters; we’re changing perceptions and breaking down stereotypes before they can transform into fixed beliefs for our sons and nephews. It’s this next generation of inspired women and enlightened men who are going to change the world as we know it!”

Play ball!