Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Positively Pittsburgh Live: Women of Achievement Awards 2012, 2-20-12

Positively Pittsburgh Live!
Women of Achievement Awards 2012

The 7th Annual Women of Achievement Awards will be honoring 23 Allegheny County and Westmoreland County Women of Achievement. Celebrate and Share in conjunction with Cribs for Kids puts on the event for the benefit of Cribs for Kids and the Safe Sleep Initiative. Over 150 women have been honored in the past 7 years.

Erin C. Molchany, former Executive Director of PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project)
Dianne Swan, founding executive director of the Rosedale Block Cluster, Inc. (RBC)

Harriet Ellenberger, co-founder of the Women of Westmoreland
Cynthia M. Maleski, Attorney at Law, National President First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association
Jo Ann R. Forrester, co-founder of Celebrate and Share

Erin Molchany
PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project) today announced the departure of Erin Molchany, the organization’s Executive Director since 2005. Ms. Molchany decided to leave the organization after announcing her candidacy for the State House of Representatives seat representing the 22nd District.

“PUMP is dedicated to making Pittsburgh a more dynamic place to live, work and play for young and young-thinking people so running for office is a natural extension of that mission for me,” Ms. Molchany says. “I’m proud of my community. I’ve worked to help PUMP give its members the same opportunity it gave me, to make Pittsburgh a better place for everyone. I am excited to continue making Pittsburgh a better place through public service.”

During Ms. Molchany’s tenure as head of PUMP, the organization’s membership nearly tripled to more than 6,000 members, its operating budget more than doubled during this period and additional professional staff was hired. PUMP’s largest social networking program, the Pittsburgh Sports League (PSL), launched in 2000 with 150 individuals playing flag football, now engages more than 17,000 participants in 17 different sports throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. “PSL supports the local economy through $200,000 in rental fees for facilities,” Ms. Molchany reports. “Some participants cite PUMP and PSL as a reason they remain in Pittsburgh.”

Ms. Molchany was a voice for PUMP members and issues they valued, speaking as their representative before Pittsburgh City Council on issues such as local campaign finance reform; testifying before the House Urban Affairs Committee Sub-committee on Cities, Counties-Second Class regarding municipal consolidation as well as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, communicating the opinions, perspectives and concerns of Pittsburgh young and young-thinking people regarding the proposed gaming licenses.

PUMP’s President, Michael Herald, said, “PUMP is often called upon by local leaders and the media to add the perspective of our members to discussions on important issues facing our city and region. Erin truly was in touch with the PUMP membership and valued their input.”

As its Executive Director, Ms. Molchany represented PUMP by serving on the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s (GPNP) public policy committee and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Regional Investors Council. Recently, as PUMP’s voice on the One Young World Steering Committee, she joined local leaders in bringing this prestigious international conference to Pittsburgh.

Ms. Molchany, a 1999 graduate of Duquesne University and Mt. Washington resident, said, “PUMP’s work has been very gratifying. I see a new generation of community leaders emerging. They are optimistic about the future of this great city and I am excited to see how their energy is taking hold.”

The organization has formed a search committee to recruit the new Executive Director. Information about the position is available on PUMP’s website,

On the show, Erin speaks about PUMP's advocacy for making Pittsburgh a world class city, transit issues, social networking, PUMP's major successes in this vein including; the Pittsburgh Sports League, and the 40 Under 40 (in partnership with Pittsburgh Magazine).

Dianne Swan
Dianne Swan was blessed to begin a 23 year journey in the Rosedale-Tioga community of Homewood South, first as a volunteer and then as the founding executive director of the Rosedale Block Cluster, Inc. (RBC).

Through high synergistic and historic collaborations, Dianne was afforded the privilege of participating materially in developing the first community center that houses the first early childhood and youth landscape, agriculture and horticulture programs.

Rosedale Landscape
Over a thousand youth, many that had dropped out of school, were organized and helped to clean hundreds of lots, reducing, littering, loitering and crime. The program evolved into a social enterprise and is now being diversified to include RBC’s first urban farm, substantially completed plant production room and certified kitchen.

The youth’s claiming cleaning and greening work encouraged the opportunity to build a KaBOOM! playground (the first in 40 years) funded primarily by a financial institution. Studies: Westinghouse HS; Undergraduate Degree, Journalism, U. of Pittsburgh, Graduate Degrees, MS in Professional Leadership and MBA from Carlow University.

 Rosedale is a grassroots group located in the far southern corner of Homewood-Brushton in Pittsburgh, PA. Rosedale organized in order to make available critical training, development and employment opportunities for our youth and early childhood development programs that had too few alternatives. The third and very important focus of the organization over the past 23 years has been claiming, cleaning and greening some of the more than 2000 vacant lots and or abandoned properties that encouraged crime and hopelessness. Rosedale’s work has helped to reduce the crime by 95%. Also, our work has discouraged littering and loitering by cleaning daily 30-40 lots while training over a thousand youth. Seventy-five percent of the youth have gone on to live fruitful lives, locally and throughout the country. Some of the youth’s celebrated installation projects can be found at East Side II, Wholefoods, Starbucks and Walgreens, where the youth installed, topsoil, trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, vine plants and mulch.

Also, the youth installed forty-thousand bulbs and mulch at the Highland Park Entry Garden. In addition to performing landscape management and installations, they also provide snow management from Wilkinsburg to down in the Strip District. The youth have a reputation for being, consistently: timely, thorough and reliable. The youth will soon produce and market vegetables and plant materials in their urban farm.

On the show Dianne talks about living and working in the Rosedale-Tioga community,how she felt she needed to counter the epidemic level of youth fatalities and school dropouts, volunteering and attending meetings to create an organizational structure for the cluster of clubs. How entering the landscaping industry has proven to be quite a challenge when it comes to access, particularly for minorities and a minority female leading the effort.

She talks about how building relationships has been difficult because of the isolation in the community and the fact that they do not have the natural connections of living near, worshipping, or being friends or relatives to most of the people in position to give access to contracts.

She also relays the successes of the organization.Trained over 1,000 youth, over 1,000 preschoolers have accessed early childhood development at the center, they enter each year with over $80,000 worth of landscape and snow management contracts, have assembled 1.5 acres of contiguous parcels for the Urban farm on sites that formerly had criminal activity, and substantially completed a plant production room and commercial kitchen.

You can contact Dianne at 412-243-6474 or visit

Harriet Ellenberger is a person committed to making a difference. Leadership and action are the hallmark of her commitment to helping people. Making a “change” has been Harriet’s passion – literally—for the past 12 years, Harriet, and her daughter Susan, have provided a “Diaper Changing Station” and Children’s Activity Tent at the Labor United Labor Day Celebration for the 30,00 attending the two day event.

Harriet has served as President of the League of Women Voters in Westmoreland County; two terms as Democratic State Committee member; and is currently Vice Chair of the Democratic Committee in the county, and COPE (Committee on Political Education) Director for the Greater Westmoreland County Labor Council.

Harriet co-founded the Women of Westmoreland. WOW ‘s mission is to encourage participation of women in the political process and is affiliated with the PA Federation of Democratic Women where Harriet is fifth vice president, Chair of Woman’s Day, and host for the 2012 Convention.

Always involved, Harriet visited Senior Centers throughout Westmoreland and Greene Counties on behalf of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Retired Americans to educate seniors on the changes in Medicare; worked as a Census Enumerator; and for the past 17 years has volunteered at Overly’s Country Christmas light display.

Most recently, Harriet has committed to run for a seat on the State Legislature for the 59th District. She feels that we must bring “common sense” back to Harrisburg. She is running as – A Choice for Democrats; A Voice for Change.
Cynthia M. Maleski
 Cynthia M. Maleski is the newly elected National President of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, a national fraternal benefit society offering life insurance and annuities. Founded in 1892 by nine immigrant women from what is today Slovakia, the Association has more than 400 branches nationwide, more than 100,000 certificates in force, and more than $600 million in assets in the United States.

Cynthia is a nationally recognized expert in insurance law with the highest peer-review rating in the profession. Cynthia was given the privilege of serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as Insurance Commissioner and Cabinet Secretary under the late Governor Robert P. Casey. As insurance regulator for the industry’s fourth largest state in the nation, Cynthia led the implementation of the first Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the United States, tightened solvency standards for insurance companies, and achieved accreditation for Pennsylvania Insurance Department for the first time in its history. In addition to her groundbreaking accomplishments in the public sector, Cynthia also served as legal counsel and executive for Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and she has continuously operated her own law practice that she founded more than 35 years ago.

Cynthia’s leadership also extends to her community, where she focuses her efforts on women’s advancement, children’s issues, human rights, cultural diversity and economic development. In addition to her leadership of the Executive Women’s Council, the Catholic Youth Association and the Hill House Association, she has served on the advisory board for Children’s and Youth Services of Allegheny County, and she has served as president of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and of the Women’s International Club of the University of Pittsburgh National Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Program. Her civic leadership extends to service on the Scholarship Committee for the Pennsylvania Federation of Women.

For many years, Cynthia served as general legal council to National Confederation of American Ethnic Groups, a national NGO founded by the late PA Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno, after World War II to fight communism and advocate for international human rights in Washington, D.C., where she championed such causes as anti-defamation, pro-democracy and freedom of religion in Eastern Europe. For her efforts, she was especially recognized by the U.S. Senate in its Chambers in 1993.

Cynthia received her JD with academic excellence from Duquesne University, where she has been named a Distinguished Alumna, and where she also served as an adjunct professor of law for ten years. She received her BA, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is married to Dr. Andrzej Groch, and they have one daughter, Elizabeth.

JoAnn R. Forerester
JoAnn R. Forrester is co-host of Empress of Biz Talkcast and founder, president and owner of S I Business Associates, a business growth management firm established in 1975. Over 75,000 hours of experience in teaching, consulting, human relations and business development classes, seminars and individual consultations have made her a prominent woman on the business scene in Western Pennsylvania. In 1998 she co-developed the PRICE IT PERFECTŠ²„c cost management and cost analysis program for small business. As a financial consultant and growth management specialist, JoAnn has specialized in helping small businesses grow and prosper. She has secured 40 million dollars in loans and investment for her clients. In the fall of 2008 JoAnn started the Empress of Biz Talkcast showRe-Inventing Yourself in Rugged Times. For her advocacy and support of small, minority and women owned businesses, JoAnn has been recognized by numerous organizations, including the Small Business Administration (Women Business Champion 1989 and 2000) and as a Pennsylvania Best 50 Women (1999).

Bonnie V. DiCarlo has worked as a financial planner for over 28 years with Allegheny Investments, concentrating on women and small businesses. She has presented seminars at many institutions including Carlow University, Chatham University, YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, LaRoche College, and Point State Park University. Bonnie has taught as an Associate Professor at CCAC, Carlow University and Duquesne University.

Ms. DiCarlo is District 3 Director for Business & Professional Women, and has served on many Boards including The Pittsburgh Camerata, Bethlehem Haven, NAWBO, Carnegie Library of Homestead, Thomas Merton Center, Financial Planning Association, and is a long-time member of the Pittsburgh Guild of rganists. Bonnie has received the YWCA Tribute to Women Award, named one of The PA Best 50 Women in Business, and the SBA's Women's Advocate for Small Business Owners.

Bonnie is well known throughout Pennsylvania for her support of and strategy for electing women to public office. She can often been seen on PCNC-TV as a political analyst.

In 2002 Bonnie DiCarlo and JoAnn R. Forrester co-founded Celebrate & Share. This organization is dedicated to raising funds for women and children in need and highlighting the achievements of women in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Celebrate & Share has raised over $160,000 through events, such as the Women of Achievement Awards, that have been held since March 2005, during Women's History Month. Over 150 women have been recognized for their contributions to the Greater Pittsburgh region. The long term goal of the Women of Achievement event is to establish a permanent Women's Hall of Achievement.

In 2010 JoAnn was recognized by YWCA Tribute to Women in the Entrepreneur category for her work and advocacy of small business and women business owners.


This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.

Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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