Who’s Next

Where are they now? Checking in with a year of Who’s Next honorees

Ahead of our Who’s Next bash, 28 honorees shared updates — both personal and professional.

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MJ Slaby

From activists and CEOs to teachers and bartenders — The Incline has honored an impressive group of nearly 170 young Pittsburghers in the past year through Who’s Next.

Since their accomplishments hardly stop after we honor them, we checked in for a round of “Where are they now?” Before we celebrate them at our anniversary bash Wednesday (get your ticket here), 28 shared updates, both personal and professional.

Here’s what’s next for our first year of Who’s Next honorees.

Communications, Nov. 2016

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Meg Campbell

Update: When she made the list, Campbell was a communication and program specialist for University of Pittsburgh Community and Governmental Relations. Now, she’s the office’s communication and advocacy manager.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Rossilynne Culgan

Update: In June, Culgan left her role as assistant director of marketing for the Carnegie Science Center to become The Incline’s food and culture editor.

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Amanda Hartle

Update: Hartle, director of communications and development for North Hills School District, recently launched two social media campaigns. First, #NHGoesGreen highlights the ways the district is becoming more sustainable, especially when it comes to food services and district facilities. She also started #NHCourses to help answer parent questions about how their student can learn specific skills such as engineering and coding.

Politics, Jan. 2017

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Tom Baker

Update: The Allegheny County Councilman received the Dick Spahr Action in Compassion Award from North Hills Community Outreach at the organization’s 30th anniversary event. Plus, he told The Incline that “Baby Baker is coming January 2018!”

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Jordan Ball

Update: Ball, regional representative for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, is working on a new initiative “focused on tackling issues in coal country/rural Appalachia.” He was featured in 100 Days in Appalachia (along with fellow Who’s Nexter Anissa Coury), Appalachian Magazine and The Appalachian Project. Ball was named to The Pittsburgh Business Times’s 30 Under 30 list.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Marita Garrett

Update: The Wilkensburg councilwoman won the Democratic primary for the borough’s mayor. She also co-founded Civically, an umbrella nonprofit that oversees Free Store Wilkinsburg and Wilkinsburg Community Conversations. Garrett was selected for Next City’s Vanguard Australia conference in November.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

James Hill

Update: Hill changed roles from special assistant to Mayor Bill Peduto to the mayor’s executive assistant.

Brent_Weinert
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Brent Weinert

Update: Previously chief of staff for Pittsburgh Council member Deb Gross, Weinert is now a service coordinator with Pittsburgh Mercy Behavioral Health.

Community leaders, Feb. 2017

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Jenna Baron

Update: This summer, Baron made her role as executive director of Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education into a full-time job. “I’ll be able to grow our work from a single program to a full-year operation of advocacy and programs to support our students and their families,” she told The Incline. The organization was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered in July.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Jamie (Seabrook) Ducar

Update: Ducar left her role as the community-based program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, but can’t announce her next plans just yet. Keep an eye out to learn more in October, she said.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Johnnie Geathers

Update: Geathers, an outpatient therapist for Community Psychiatric Centers, is now also a mental health therapist for Familylinks. There, he works in the classroom at Carmalt PreK-8 doing individual and group therapy, as well as working with teachers throughout the school year.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Kristen Michaels

Update: Michaels, executive director of CONNECT at the University of Pittsburgh, and Gisele Fetterman launched For Good PGH and the organization’s first initiative, Hello Hijab, which teaches children about inclusivity and diversity with doll-sized hijabs, earned international attention. More projects are in the works, she said.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Molly Nichols

Update: Nichols left Pittsburghers for Public Transit at the end of June, had a baby in July and moved to Tacoma, Wa. with her family. She plans to find a way to get involved with community organizing in her new city.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Tara Sherry-Torres

Update: Sherry-Torres ended Café Con Leche in March and started a consulting company, TST Productions, where she does event planning, organizing and outreach for community nonprofits and groups. TST Productions worked with the Sprout Fund on outreach and helped plan the 2017 Grassroots Grantmakers Conference. Currently, Sherry-Torres is doing outreach and communications for the Penn Hills Family Support Center, opening in October. She also completed yoga teacher training and started teaching free gentle yoga classes at the Persad Center.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Victoria Snyder

Update: Snyder, executive vice president of Ya Momz House, Inc, won the Western Pa Rising Star Award from Get Involved! Inc. She is expecting a baby boy in November.

Technology, March 2017

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Sanna Gaspard

Update: Gaspard’s company, Rubitection, is starting to launch patient testing. The medical device that detects bedsores won second place at the Medical Capital Innovation, and Gaspard was selected as one of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Lemelson Invention Ambassadors. 

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B. Reeja Jayan

Update: Jayan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was named to Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40 list.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Brittany Martin

Update: Martin organized the first-ever Alexabridge workshop to teach women coding and design to build a skill for Amazon Alexa. The lead web developer for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust also spoke to a crowd of 2,000 about how to improve employee on-boarding with roller derby at the Tessitura Learning and Community Conference.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Justin Reese

Update: The founder of Code & Supply opened a co-working space for the organization in Friendship. He also helped to sell out the Uptime conference, which brought 300 attendees to the city. Reese worked on a scholarship fund and software mentorship program and is a part of a diversity council to improve representation in software community.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Jessica Strong (right)

Update: Strong’s company Flexable, which she co-founded with Priya Amin, has expanded its programming to include site-based childcare for weddings, workplace events and more, such as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s workforce development programs and the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs Forum’s networking series. Strong was also on Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list.

Food, April 2017

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Photo by Adam Milliron

Rafael Vencio

Update: Vencio changed the name of Aubergine Bistro to Kanto Kitchen and is curating a dinner series at different locations that follows the progression of his cooking. He’s also working on food styling and gaining experience on multi-industry projects.

Drink, May 2017

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Cecil Usher III

Update: Usher was promoted from bar manager at Butcher and the Rye to beverage director for all of the Richard Deshantz Restaurant Group, overseeing drinks for Meat & Potatoes, Butcher and the Rye, tako and Pork & Beans. He’s also joining the Last Call Project by the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and Cory Hart to find ways restaurants and bars can bring awareness to rape prevention and resources.

Law, June 2017

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Ryan Hamilton

Update: Hamilton was honored for his role as an attorney for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services and now has his own law firm, Hamilton Law, LLC.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Marlene van Es

Update: Trellis Legal LLC, where van Es is principal attorney, moved out of Alloy 26 to an office space in Lawrenceville. And the firm hired an intern.

Education, July 2017

5 Kate Harris
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Kate Harris

Update: Harris started teaching high school social studies at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School. And as owner of consulting firm Creative Instruction, she’s also been working on project-based learning with the Carnegie Museum of Art.

6 Jackie Shimshoni
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Jackie Shimshoni

Update: Shimshoni was honored for her role as Startable program coordinator for Innovation Works. But starting Thursday, she will be the marketing and education associate for the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

11 Will Tolliver
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Will Tolliver

Update: Tolliver left the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children and now works for Grow Pittsburgh as the garden educator and manager for Pittsburgh Montessori School and Helen S. Faison Arts Academy. For both schools, he teaches students in kindergarten to second grade about gardening, cooking and the environment. He also completed an early learning policy fellowship with Pa. Department of Education’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Tolliver joined the Pa. Head Start Association’s Ready Set Grow Task Force and became assistant event director for TedxStripDistrict.

Housing, Aug. 2017

Hallie Dumont
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Hallie Dumont

Update: Module, where Dumont is co-founder and chief design officer, is now taking reservations for its first clients. The company will finish the Techstars IoT program in October.