Instructor Biographies: Bayer Center

Instructor Biographies

Valerie Beichner, Executive Director of Friends of the Riverfront, is a seasoned nonprofit professional with experience in organizational efficiency, fundraising, community and economic development and more. At Friends, Valerie is tasked with reviving an organization in transition through program, fund development and volunteer diversification. She has significant experience in green building and green building products, sustainable corporate culture, advocacy and organizational leadership. Valerie is also President of Élan Evolutions, LLC, a nonprofit management consulting firm. Valerie earned a B.A. in political science at Clarion University and an M.S. in organization leadership from RMU. An avid runner and ultra-marathoner, Valerie is a volunteer coach for a local Girls on the Run team and a volunteer professional mentor for the RMU Women’s Leadership & Mentorship Program.

Stacy Bodow is the Community Engagement Manager for Global Links, a medical relief and development organization dedicated to supporting health improvement initiatives in resource-poor communities and promoting environmental stewardship in the U.S. healthcare system. Stacy’s main responsibilities include education and outreach for the organization, as well as special projects to engage volunteers. Prior to joining the Global Links team, Stacy spent 15 years with Visions Service Adventures leading monthlong international service learning programs for groups of teenagers where she still works facilitating intensive training workshops. Stacy holds her M.Ed. from University of Pittsburgh in social and comparative analysis in education.

Ryan Brandt is an accomplished Area Vice President, specializing in Strategic Consulting, including business plan and sales strategy development. His team helps local and national companies lower their cost of risk and improve their bottom line. His goal is to make sure clients are aware of market shifts, industry trends, litigation, & regulations pertaining to their industry. Ryan completed two tours in Afghanistan acting as First Reconnaissance Battalion Communications Chief; during which time, he received Medals of Accommodation for his hard work and dedication to the mission at hand. Ryan holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Methodist University.

Stephanie Bucklew has over twenty years’ experience in enterprise risk management with a concentration in the financial services industry, serving primarily as a risk manager and consultant. Her ultimate goal is to provide services to advance the mission of nonprofits by cutting expenditures and adding to the bottom line. Joel Burstein, the owner of Keep It Simple Training and Development, is a savvy entrepreneur with 19 years of business development experience. In 2016 Joel partnered with Sandler Training to provide a selling method shrouded in simplicity. Joel earned his bachelor’s degree in less than 4 years from The University of Miami. He then went on to achieve several professional certifications from NYU along with completing a prestigious, invite only program, at Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Joel’s Keep It Simple approach to business development has earned him three “40 under 40,” most recently The New Pittsburgh Courier’s “Fab 40.”

Wendy Burtner-Owens has more than 25 years’ experience managing and growing foundations and nonprofit organizations. Before joining Steeltown Entertainment Project as Interim CEO, Wendy led the Capital Region Collaborative in Richmond Virginia, was Executive Director of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, COO of Comfort Zone Camp, founding Manager of the CarMax Foundation, and the Director of Grantmaker Services for GuideStar. She has also been an independent consultant to start-up businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations. Wendy has a history of working collaboratively to develop strong internal and external relationships. She is also a successful fundraiser – obtaining individual donations, foundation and government grants from $30 to $3,000,000.

Garrett Cooper has spent years immersed in the financial, nonprofit, and technology sectors. Today, Garrett is the CEO of BenefitMany, a web and mobile app development agency with offices in Pittsburgh, Reno, and San Diego. BenefitMany helps small businesses, startups, and nonprofits to bring their app ideas to fruition. Prior to BenefitMany, Garrett was the COO of MortarStone, a leading donor analytics software provider to churches. Garrett holds degrees in finance (B.S. and M.S.) and nonprofit management (M.S.) and is a graduate of Academy Pittsburgh. He is also the founder and Chairperson of The Robert M. Rodrigues Fund, a nonprofit that gives back to his high school community.

Brett Ashley Crawford, Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor, teaches at Carnegie Mellon University and serves as the Executive Director of the Arts Management and Technology Laboratory. Her research and consulting interests circulate in the realms of audiences, engagement, stakeholder participation, external relations, gender and management, 21st century management systems and technology. She holds an M.F.A. in arts administration and a Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism. She has 25 years of professional theatre experience as an AEA stage manager, director, writer, and theatre manager and has served as managing director for three institutions. She presents lectures and workshops to international and domestic audiences.

Catherine DeLoughry works with nonprofits, foundations and civic leaders to execute strategic decisions that accelerate change, to prototype and launch new initiatives and to be innovators. Now a consultant, she has served as an executive director, a senior nonprofit professional, and a board member focused on civic change, capacity building and strategic communications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from The University of Chicago and a master’s degree in public administration and a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jeremy V. Farrell, Esq. is a trial lawyer who helps employers with the many legal issues they encounter in the workplace. In addition to representing them in court and before administrative agencies, he assists them with the day-to-day legalities of managing a workplace, including complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act; reviewing pay practices; preventing and investigating discrimination and harassment claims; drafting non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements; revising employee handbooks and workplace policies; handling claims for unemployment compensation; and offering guidance on personnel matters, such as terminations and other disciplinary issues.

Evan Frasier is senior vice president of Community Affairs for Highmark Health. An active member of the community, Mr. Frazier has served on more than 25 civic boards in his professional career, including his current service as a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. He also serves on the boards of The Andy Warhol Museum, Jefferson Regional Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics and the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs.

Trisha Gadson, Executive Director of Macedonia FACE began a career in Child Welfare as a Child Protective Service Worker, followed by both intake and supervisory positions at Allegheny County Children and Youth Services. She implemented a medical foster care case management program at Mercy Hospital and served as the Training and Best Practice Technical Assistant for the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network. Trish serves as a trainer and curriculum writer for the Child Welfare Training Program of the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the board of directors for the McKeesport Area School District. She recently completed a Ph.D. in community engagement.

Tracy Grajewski joined Careerminds in 2017 with experience as a seasoned business consultant, talent leader and human resources executive, specializing in talent solution consulting, transition coaching, executive talent acquisition and change leadership. Her consulting collaborations have included Careerminds, Ultimate Software, Boyden global executive search and the Center for Strategy Execution. She serves as the Vice President to the Board of Directors for Family Resources and SilkScreen Asian Film Festival in Pittsburgh. She is a member of SHRM and HRPS. Tracy holds an M.B.A. in transformational leadership and human resources from Syracuse University and a B.S. in marketing and Spanish from Juniata College.

Jayna Grassel has been working in digital marketing for almost a decade and grew up alongside Google. She began her career at a marketing agency in Cleveland before moving back home to manage the SEO program at DICK’S Sporting Goods. She currently consults for enterprise-level clients at LunaMetrics, using data and analytics to craft exciting and effective strategies. In her free time, she volunteers on local community boards, travels to exotic countries and fly fishes with her dad.

Jason Hardy, Manager, Assurance & Advisory Services at Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP, specializes in audit, review and compilation services for tax-exempt entities and nonpublic companies with significant experience performing pension and nonprofit audits. He earned his B.S.B.A. degree in accounting from Geneva College and obtained his CPA license in 2009. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He serves as Finance Committee Chair at Christ United Methodist Church, Treasurer of Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey, and is a board member for Metro Pittsburgh Youth for Christ.

Michelle Pagano Heck, President of Nonprofit Talent, has worked with the nonprofit community to improve the capacity of organizations through leadership consulting, organizational assessment, transition management and executive recruitment for 30 years. A graduate of The College of Wooster, she received her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to starting Nonprofit Talent, Michelle was Senior Consultant with Dewey & Kaye. In addition to her background as a strategy consultant and talent recruiter, Michelle was the Assistant Director of Admission for Allegheny College, a therapist and a school counselor, holding her PA state license as a guidance counselor.

Denise Henning is a CPA with over 30 years’ experience including 16 years with Ernst & Young. Most recently, she served as the Interim Vice President of Finance and Operations for Bay Area Rescue Mission and Chief Financial Officer for City Mission in Washington, PA. Denise is passionate about building and strengthening the infrastructure of organizations to enable them to become financially sustainable, and position them for growth, which led her to pursue coaching and leadership development training. Denise recently earned certification in the Energy Leadership Index Assessment and Energy Leadership Development System, and is currently pursuing her Certified Professional Coach designation.

Michael Hoffman, PNC Senior Wealth Management® Relationship Strategist, is an experienced financial professional who looks at each client’s complete financial picture and provides a customized solution designed to best meet their needs. Prior to joining PNC Wealth Management, Michael served as a vice president with PNC Institutional Asset Management and director of PNC Capital Advisors. He holds a Series 7 and 66, and he also earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation. Mike is a current board member of the Mount Lebanon Community Foundation and a member of the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital Foundation Children’s Trust.

Beth Kanter is internationally recognized thought leader in networks, social media, philanthropy, well-being in the workplace and training with over 35 years working in the nonprofit sector in capacity building. Named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and one of the BusinessWeek’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media,” She is the author of the award winning Networked Nonprofit Books and The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout. She writes “Beth’s Blog,” one of the first nonprofit blogs. Her clients include foundations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She is adjunct professor at Middlebury College.

Emma Gilmore Kieran brings more than 16 years of fundraising experience to Pilot Peak Consulting. She has worked with over 50 nonprofits in her career as a coach, teacher and change agent. Previously, Emma was the Vice President for Fundraising and Development at Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI) and a consultant with Changing Our World (CW). Emma holds an M.A. from Columbia University in organizational psychology, an M.P.A. from American University in nonprofit management and a B.A. from Connecticut College. Emma is a dedicated volunteer for The Ellis School for Girls, her alma mater, and for Girls on the Run.

Mark Lynch, principal of Mark J. Lynch and Associates, LLC, has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, communications, marketing and branding, and organizational development for nonprofit organizations including fundraising consulting through Ketchum, Inc., and A.L. Brourman Associates, Inc. Mark is a registered fundraising consultant in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He is active in the community, currently serving on the Community Advisory Board of the Allegheny Regional Asset District, and has served on many other committees and boards for nonprofit organizations including Support Inc. and the Sewickley YMCA. He is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh, Class XIII.

Dave Onomastico is the director of the youth and media program at Steeltown Entertainment Project with over 10 years’ experience in video production, photography, multimedia management, sales, and marketing. A graduate of Duquesne University, Dave began his career by working as photographer/videographer with the documentary group ALT Project, where he was part of a team that won three Telly awards for cinematic excellence. Dave has worked in sales, management and marketing with companies such as Apple, Pythio, JSO Technologies, and FOX 53. He has worked with small business clients managing new ventures, start-ups, marketing, and multimedia projects.

Miriam Parson, ioby’s Pittsburgh Action Strategist is a Pittsburgher who has worked in community development and sustainability for over a decade in Central and Western Pennsylvania. She holds a Master’s in Sustainability and Management, LEED accreditation in the Operations & Maintenance certification, and the EcoDistricts AP.

Mary Anne Poutous is Chief Executive Officer for Transitional Services Inc., which provides residential and supportive services to individuals with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a seasoned administrator with experience in operational, project and fiscal management whose work has ranged from child/family health and mental health services, community education, prevention and administration. She is a trainer on Quality Management and Performance Improvement and has a passion for assisting organizations with incorporating performance improvement into the work they do every day. Mary Anne has a master’s in Clinical Social Work and a certificate in Human Resource Development and Training.

Jane Ann Regan has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and strategy development, in positions of increasing responsibility at H.J.Heinz, AT&T Wireless and Giant Eagle. This expertise in marketing, strategy and communication development led to the establishment of Regan Management Consulting, LLC. in 2012. As a resource for nonprofits and for-profits alike, she manages their strategic marketing needs including strategic planning, marketing analysis/ planning and messaging, with project management to support implementation. Jane Ann takes a “hands-on” approach to quickly grasp a challenge, focus efforts into a set of realistic prioritized objectives with targeted plans to drive results.

Melanie Rutan works with a wide variety of nonprofit clients at Bookminders, where she serves as an accountant and trainer. She received her B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting from West Virginia State College in 1988 (Summa Cum Laude). Melanie was an Examiner-InCharge with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for 11 years before joining Bookminders in 2001.

Robin M. Ryan, Senior Manager, Assurance & Advisory Services at Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and focuses on providing audit services for privately-held entities and nonprofit organizations, specializing in matters pertaining to educational institutions and foundations. Robin is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She currently serves as Treasurer for the Board of Directors of Attack Theatre and the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library. Robin is also an active volunteer for Go Red for Women, an American Heart Association initiative.

Tony Ryzinski has a passion for bringing focus and energy to developing brands that fuse organizational and constituent objectives, create or change perceptions and generate revenue. He has been a part of several successful business transformations and leads the development of new brands as well as rejuvenation of existing brands. Tony’s experience spans startups through big brand, market leading nonprofit, not-for-profit and publicly traded organizations across healthcare financing, patient care, human capital, and technology verticals. His experience includes cause-oriented organizations focused on domestic violence, physical fitness and planned giving. Tony is president of Captivar Health Marketing. He’s based in Pittsburgh where he lives with his wife, Donna, and their very energetic Goldendoodle, Rocco.

Abigail Salisbury, J.D., MPPM, is a PA-licensed attorney whose law practice, Salisbury Legal, LLC, focuses on serving the particular legal needs of nonprofits. As the former Executive Director of JURIST, a nonprofit legal news organization at Pitt Law, Abigail trained and managed several dozen volunteer staffers. Before starting her solo practice, she worked on international law and development projects in Kosovo, Ethiopia, and Senegal, and also worked as an academic research contract negotiator.

Larry A. Silverman, Esq., has been an attorney for 40 years. After a clerkship for the Honorable Donald Ziegler of the U.S. District Court, Larry joined Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. from 1986-2002. He then became the first VP & General Counsel of the Pittsburgh Pirates before returning to private practice in 2012, representing small businesses and nonprofits with a focus on digital law, employment law and risk management. Larry is an Adjunct Professor at Pitt’s School of Law, on the board of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association and is a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Sports Law Association.

Rev. Sally Jo Snyder is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and works in justice ministry settings as a community organizer on local, state and national levels, focusing on issues which impact marginalized populations, children, the impoverished, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities. Since March of 2007, Snyder has been on staff of the Consumer Health Coalition where she is the Director of Advocacy and Consumer Engagement. Sally Jo serves as the Vice-Chairperson for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and is chairperson of the Health Workgroup.

Lauren Steiner, President and Founder of Grants Plus, is past president of the Grant Professionals Association Ohio– Northern Chapter and an active member and former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cleveland Chapter. She is an alumna of Cleveland Bridge Builders and was named one of the “Top 25 Under 35” in 2007 by Inside Business Magazine. To fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a puppy washer, she volunteers at Love-A-Stray dog shelter where she walks dogs and cleans cages. Lauren holds a B.S. in Telecommunications from Ohio University and a JD from Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, where she remains active in the Alumni Association.

Julie Strickland-Guillard is a community-focused change agent with over 10 years of cross-functional experience in organizational development within the social impact sector through planning, targeted communication, partnerships, and resource optimization. In her current role as Community Partners Program Manager of Global Links, she builds collaboration among safety net and human service agencies to improve health outcomes, dignity and independence for vulnerable communities surrounding Southwestern PA. She has 10+ years of experience as staff, board member and volunteer at over 7 Pittsburgh nonprofit agencies, including the University of Pittsburgh, the YMCA and The Allegheny Department of Human Services for Allegheny Link.

Dave Tinker, CFRE, FAFP is Vice President of Advancement at ACHIEVA and an adjunct professor of informatics at Muskingum University’s Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology (MISST) program. A certified Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Master Trainer, he was honored by AFP International as one of the first six Distinguished Fellows. Dave received an M.P.A. with a concentration in nonprofit management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He received a B.A. in chemistry and English and an MISST from Muskingum University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Works – Indianapolis, Class III.

Maria Zeglen Townsend, Ph.D., is adjunct faculty for the University of Pittsburgh and president of Townsend Associates LLC, offering evaluation, training and consultation. Since 1999, Maria has worked independently and collaboratively evaluating local, state and national programs, conducting needs assessments, and identifying and measuring child indicators. She has taught graduate level courses in evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research methods, family and child issues, and policy analysis for the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Education, and the School of Social Work. Maria received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Michigan State University.

Todd Whiteman is the Executive Vice President at Enscoe Long Insurance Group, specializing in providing programs and consulting to the nonprofit sector. He is an active member of the community, including board service with Association of Fundraising Professionals and Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council. Todd was a founding member and first President of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Pittsburgh, and worked to promote an efficient, viable and inclusive nonprofit sector focusing on the growth, learning and development of young professionals. His commitment to the sector also includes board service and volunteer work with the First Tee of Pittsburgh, Mental Health America Allegheny County, Junior Achievement and others.

Joseph Zovko has more than 20 years of accounting, auditing and tax experience with employee benefit plans, nonprofit organizations, and large to mid-size companies. Joe joined Louis Plung & Company in 2004, and prior to that he worked for other accounting firms in eastern Pennsylvania. Joe’s nonprofit experience includes volunteer, health and welfare, human services, wildlife and conservation, and health care organizations. Joe is a member of Leadership Pittsburgh Class of XXXII and serves on the PICPA Pittsburgh Chapter board of directors. He has served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity (Allentown, PA), The United Way of Butler County and Rainbow Kitchen.