Ready to Run

Last weekend I attended a couple of events, one on Friday: Pre-conference Women of Color in PA Politics, the other on Saturday: Ready to Run – Campaign Training for Women.

The pre-conference was really amazing and it was really incredible to hear from some amazing women how are making positive changes in our lives.

Here’s a little bit about the cool ladies who were on the panel sharing a little bit about their experiences and some advice they gave:

First up was our moderator: Valerie McDonald-Roberts

Valerie is the Chief Urban Affairs Officer in Mayor Peduto’s office. She has served in elected and appointed public office for nearly 25 years now beginning her run in ’89 as Pittsburgh School Board Member. In ’94 she became the first black woman elected in the Pittsburgh City Council serving as President Pro-Tempore and as Budget & Finance Committee Chair. She’s also served on 25+ non-profit boards and has received 30+ awards for public service.

Article: McDonald Roberts picked to ‘fill in gaps’ in Pittsburgh’s urban management

Office of Mayor William Peduto

Now a word from our Panelists:

Betty Cruz has 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and private sectors. She has managed partnerships that met corporate and philanthropic interests in Pittsburgh, D.C., Miami, and New York. She was also an account manager with KaBOOM! Her parents came to the states from Cuba, Betty is a native of Miami, FL and has a Bachelor’s from Edinboro University of PA and a Master’s of Public Admin from PITT – Grad School of Public & International Affairs. She’s doing amazing work in the Mayor of Pittsburgh’s office helping immigrants finding work and feeling at home here in the ‘Burgh.

Article: Welcome Back – Pittsburgh immigrants find comfort in the city


Marita Garrett is the Councilwoman for the Borough of Wilkinsburg (Ward 1) and has worked in community and outreach development with PITT. She is the CEO and managing partner of Admintrinsic – small business co-owned with her mother. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Graduate Cert in Gerontology from PITT. (Garrett is in the center)

Borough of Wilkinsburg Councilwoman, Ward 1

Rising African-American leaders honored at Sankofa Homecoming 2014

V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery is a member of McKeesport City Council. At age 29 she organized a campaign to run for City Council in McKeesport. Alongside her volunteers she knocked on 500+ doors, getting out there and meeting the people.

Meet the City Council of McKeesport

Article: McKeesport councilwoman shares life’s lessons during Black History Month talk

Sylvia C. Wilson – the current elected School Director for District #1 on the Pittsburgh Public School Board.

She served as Assistant to the President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) for 14 years and as Secretary of the Executive Board beginning in ’79.

She serves on the ALCOSAN board as a joint city-council appointee.


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