Holidays in the ‘Burgh

Pittsburgh’s young leaders share their 2018 New Year’s resolutions for the city

From smashing the patriarchy to creating new opportunities, Pittsburgh is in for a big year.

It's finally warm. Let's celebrate.

It's finally warm. Let's celebrate.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

Pittsburgh’s up-and-coming leaders have lofty goals for 2018.

Just a few include changing conversations about childcare, building community and increasing educational opportunities. And while they’re focused on those resolutions for Pittsburgh, they’re also working on things like a kitchen renovation, writing more thank you notes and being kinder to themselves.

Ahead of the fast-approaching New Year’s resolution deadline, The Incline turned to Who’s Next honorees to find out what they want in the new year for Pittsburgh and for themselves. If you’re still unsure of your own 2018 resolution, here’s some inspiration from 21 young leaders.

Aerion_Abney
Submitted

Aerion Abney

Democratic candidate for state representative in District 19
Who’s Next: Politics 

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “We have a unique opportunity in 2018 to support innovative policies, practices, and programs that will challenge the status quo and truly help move people beyond their current conditions. In 2018, I want to see and be part of a Pittsburgh/region that intentionally creates spaces where ALL residents can be participatory in its growth so that we don’t continue to have some people living like the Jetsons and others like the Flintstones.”

Personal resolution: Get married “to my amazing fiancée” and be elected “the next State Representative of the 19th District.”

Priya_Amin_Jessica_Strong

Priya Amin (left) with co-founder Jessica Strong

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Priya Amin

Co-founder and CMO of Flexable
Who’s Next: Technology

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Continue changing the conversation around childcare. We believe childcare should be a community good, and that childcare is a social responsibility, not just an individual one. … We want to continue bringing childcare everywhere in 2018 — for those days when schools are closed, but work isn’t.”

Personal resolution: “Work on my leadership skills in 2018 and 100 percent need to start working out again — I swear I’m going to do it this year.”

Rishi Bahl
Courtesy of Rishi Bahl

Rishi Raj Bahl

Assistant professor at La Roche College, owner of Four Chord Music and member of Eternal Boy
Who’s Next: Music

Resolution for Pittsburgh: Continue to “grow the technology sector so we can maintain our ‘Silicon Valley of the East’ title.”

Personal resolution: “Grow the Four Chord Music Festival into a larger, more community-oriented event. I would like to include local businesses, sponsors, and organizations that positively affirm what Pittsburgh is about at its core: a plurality of voices, ideas, and people.”

adam_brandolph
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Adam Brandolph

Media relations and spokesperson for Port Authority of Allegheny County
Who’s Next: Communications

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Continue our recent political victories for a more progressive region.”

Personal resolution: “Shake the negativity that seems to have pervaded society and focus on the positive strides we have made and hope to make as a region.”

Jennie Dorris
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Jennie Dorris

Founder of Musical Storytelling
Who’s Next: Music

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Keep sharing the joy and benefits of making music with people”

Personal resolution: Train for the Pittsburgh half marathon.

Morgan Erina
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Morgan Erina

Self-employed at Morgan Erina music
Who’s Next: Music

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Become the safest city”

Personal resolution: “Focus on music again and to become healthier.”

Abigail_Gardner
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Abigail Gardner

Founder of Scottie Public Affairs
Who’s Next: Politics

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Come to grips with how entrenched the patriarchy is in our regional power structure.”

Personal resolution: “Overthrow the patriarchy.”

Johnnie_Geathers
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Johnnie Geathers

Outpatient therapist for Community Psychiatric Centers and mental health therapist for Familylinks
Who’s Next: Community Leaders and Activists

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Continue educating and providing services for individuals that need help especially our children.”

Personal resolution: Keep “doing the great work I do for social work and mental health. Also, learn to appreciate myself more and self-care.”

Sara Innamorato

Sara Innamorato

Lindsay Dill / Lindsay Dill photography

Sara Innamorato

Democratic candidate for state representative in District 21, owner of Innamo Co., and co-founder of She Runs
Who’s Next: Politics

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Clean up our act when it comes to air and water quality, create a pathway towards affordable housing and get more women elected to public office.”

Personal resolution: “Finish installing my kitchen and maybe have a housewarming party. I’ve lived there for 2.5 years”

Reeja_Jayan
Submitted

B. Reeja Jayan

Assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University
Who’s Next: Technology

Resolution for Pittsburgh “More sunshine”

Personal resolution: “Focus on health”

Elish_Joel_Johnson
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Joel Johnson

CEO and co-founder of KinetiGear
Who’s Next: Technology

Resolution for Pittsburgh: For maker spaces to work effectively together and to start on a path to have “a sustainable maker space in every neighborhood in Pittsburgh, regardless of that neighborhood’s wealth” so the city can be a national example.

Personal resolution: Launch the second major product from BoXZY and “be the most funded 3D printer campaign in this history of crowdfunding.” And as the chair of the Protohaven Board of Directors, “ensure that Protohaven can meaningfully replace TechShop” with the same or similar tools by the end of 2018.

Brittany_Martin
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Brittany Martin

Lead web developer at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and squad lead for Bloc
Who’s Next: Technology

Resolution for Pittsburgh: For more out-of-state technology professionals to learn about the “innovations, sites and dining” of Pittsburgh including during a RailsConf for Ruby on Rails developers in April.

Personal resolution: “Take my developer career to the next level by enrolling in Udacity’s Nanodegree program for Artificial Intelligence. Skynet anecdote awaits.”

8 Maggie Negrete
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Maggie Negrete

Education coordinator at Brashear Association
Who’s Next: Education

Resolution for Pittsburgh: Reconsider a plan for high-end homes on the 89 acres of Hays Woods set aside for development. “We should be prioritizing a rich biodiverse ecosystem, including affordable housing.”

Personal resolution: “Create more infographics for arts and education [organizations] so that they can better tell their stories and engage communities with data.”

2 Nichelle Nelson
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Nichelle Nelson

Chief programming officer for Fund for Advancement of Minorities Through Education

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “More awareness about and access to educational opportunities and support in the city.”

Personal resolution: Continue work to bring access to educational opportunities in the city “while promoting educational sustainability and advocacy for African-American students in the independent school environment. … I’d like to see students have access to the educational environment and resources that are the best fit for them, where they will thrive and grow.”

Jessica_Semler
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Jessica Semler

Public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania
Who’s Next: Community Leaders and Activists

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Live up to our name as the country’s most livable city [and] to make genuine steps towards equity for all.”

Personal resolution: “Be unapologetic in owning my truth, my expertise, and speaking up about it. As a woman, particularly a young woman, speaking truth to power and challenging the status quo can be very intimidating, but I feel those of us that want change need to be accountable to pushing ourselves and those around us.”

Matt Shorraw

Matt Shorraw

rossilynne culgan / the incline

Matt Shorraw

Mayor-elect of Monessen
Who’s Next: Politics

Resolution for Pittsburgh: Shorraw said he resolves to bring more “pride and opportunities to Monessen” including connecting it “with Pittsburgh and the rest of the region, so we can bring more opportunities for everyone in Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Personal resolution: “I resolve to continue working on being a better listener and a better doer.”

Anna Hale
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Anna Hale (Swampwalk)

Artist at Wild Kindness Records
Who’s Next: Music

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Share and build positive energy that lifts people up.”

Personal resolution: “Work hard and be kind to myself.”

Alexandra Reznik
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Alexandra Reznik

Instructor at Chatham University and Ph.D. candidate at Duquesne University
Who’s Next: Education

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Empower girls and women.” Reznik said she plans to do that by working with Higher Achievement, Girls Write Pittsburgh and as the new coordinator for the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at Duquesne University.

Personal resolution: “Continue my journey of meditation that I began this year. I’ve experienced such fulfilling mental and physical health benefits from making meditation a part of my daily routine, whether I’m able to do a short three-minute breathing exercise or an hour-long body scan.”

Stanley Whiteman
Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Stanley B. Whiteman III

Assistant Principal, Duquesne Elementary School
Who’s Next: Education

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Continue to help our elementary students in the Pittsburgh region experience the vast technological opportunities that our offered.”

Personal resolution: “Complete EdD program at the University of Pittsburgh in Educational Leadership.”

Megan Winters

Megan Winters

rossilynne culgan / the incline

Megan Winters

Data, western region and grassroots director for the Pa. Democratic Party
Who’s Next: Politics

Resolution for Pittsburgh: “Work harder to build a more inclusive city and region.”

Personal resolution: “To be more considerate — send more thank you notes and call more friends I haven’t spoken to in too long.”

Liss Victory 2017_crop
Courtesy of Liss Victory

Liss Victory

Songwriter
Who’s Next: Music

Resolution for Pittsburgh: Continue to “grow the Pittsburgh Art House community, which just acquired a second location in Garfield” by expanding open mic and acoustic showcases and advancing women in the music scene.

Personal resolution: “Release a brand new, solo album on April 6″ followed by booking a tour of music and comedy. Get married in October with a very special event, open to the public, that will include music, comedy, dance, and spoken word.” Plus, better use email as a promotional tool, “save more money, and be early instead of late.”