Vice President, Community Development and Communications
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
What makes you the best person for your role?
Over a career that spans three decades, I have had the privilege of telling the story of momentum for Pittsburgh, local tech entrepreneurs, or both, to editors, journalists and business and elected leaders from all over the world. I have worked with hundreds of startup founders to tell their stories in the most compelling way possible so a non-technical audience can appreciate what they do, for whom, why and to what benefit. And how did I learn this? From four important vantage points: 1) journalists taught me what they need to craft a good story, 2) my previous experience in the for-profit healthcare and energy realms taught me how to speak to customers about value, 3) the world of economic development taught me about creating jobs and economic prosperity for all, and last but not least 4) my experience as the Communications director of a local startup – where we fell in every hole a startup possibly can. I learned from those mistakes, our few triumphs, and the many moments in-between talking to customers, their influencers, trade publications, business and tech specific media, the people in the labs developing products, our investors and every other constituency that touched our organization. I’m grateful for that education and apply it every single day at IW.
What is your favorite thing about working with startups?
Startup founders are the most optimistic, future-oriented human beings you will ever meet. They are intoxicating. Founders are always going to change the world by whatever their technology is and does. They are fearless and some of their enthusiasm rubs off on me. Getting to tell their stories is the best job in the world.
What do you love about living and working in Pittsburgh?
The thing I love most about the Pittsburgh region is the constant sense of reinvention that the city expects of itself. The concept of Renaissance number 113 is just accepted. And that’s a lot like the advice we give founders – your supply chain, customer, technology, market, opportunity, competition, you name it – they all may necessitate a pivot. Or several. And that’s not only ok, it’s expected. So I love how the region redefines itself and adapts every few years just as a startup morphs, changes and grows.
Where can we find you outside of work?
I love to paddle. So find me with my dog and partner in a kayak on the rivers.