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Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Inspirational Stories about Creating a Sustainable, Vibrant, Healthy, and Just Region

February 8, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EST

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Storytelling is our way of expressing the soul of our community to one another. Stories expose our beliefs, emotions, and vulnerabilities that can resonate with people in ways that facts and statistics can’t. Stories foster empathy, remind us of what it means to be human, and challenge us to be the change we seek.

Join us for the third annual Storytelling Inspire Speakers Series event to hear stories from citizens who are working to create sustainable, vibrant, healthy, and just places for us all to live, work, learn, and play.


4:30-5:30 – Food, Drinks, and Networking

5:30-7:00 – Presentations by our Storytellers

7:00 – Q&A Session, Networking with Storytellers


About Our Speakers:

Will Allen is a Managing Partner and co-founder at Nascent Group Holdings, LLC. Prior to founding Nascent Group Holdings, Allen was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and most recently played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Allen currently serves on the advisory committee for Be A Middle School Mentor and as a board member for the Shyne Awards Foundation, the Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh’s Partner4Work (WIB), the City of Pittsburgh’s Advisory Board for Entrepreneurship & Start-Ups, and Avenu. In addition to his community commitments, Allen established the Will Allen Foundation, which provides tools and resources to Educate + Influence + Empower people in his surrounding community.





Tim Smith is the Executive Director of Center of Life and pastor of the Keystone Church of Hazelwood. Tim was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and has been working with children and youth for over 25 years.  Tim is a graduate of Westinghouse High School and holds degrees from The University of Pittsburgh, as well as a diploma from the Reformed Theological Seminary. Tim has dedicated his life to empowering families and youth everywhere.




Giovanna Varlotta is a senior visual arts major at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6-12. Participating in countless workshops, collaborating with non-profits and networking with environmental players across the region, Giovanna helped students in her school better understand the role of the individual in the environmental movement, as well as ultimately designing, constructing and implementing “The Green Machine” –a school wide recycling center. She created her school’s first environmental club, and hopes to contribute to sustainable environmental practices throughout the world.





Gretchen Givens Generett, Ph.D. has spent the last fifteen years in academia researching issues of educator professional development, educational leadership, and cultural diversity.  An associate professor in the School of Education at Duquesne University, Dr. Generett is Director of the University Council for Educational Administration Center for Educational Leadership and Social Justice.  Dr. Generett has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes in the field of education. She is the co-editor of the book Black Women in the Field: Experiences Understanding Ourselves and Others through Qualitative Research and has served as the guest editor for the journals Educational Foundations, Educational Studies, and Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership.  




Daniel Easton is an educator for Marshall County Schools in West Virginia, and he currently teaches West Virginia History and Holocaust Studies at Moundsville Middle School. Previously, he taught at the district’s Middle College High School, where students follow a unique program that combines the last three years of high school with the first two years of college and provides them with intensive counseling, small classes, an interdisciplinary curriculum and career guidance. He has also taught at West Liberty University and in China for the Chuyang Honors College at Zhejiang Normal School in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China. Prior to teaching, Dan served as a non-commissioned officer in the infantry for the United States Marine Corps, and was awarded a Combat Meritorious Promotion based on actions and performance during combat operations.



Michelle Fanzo is the Executive Director of AIA Pittsburgh and comes to the position with an accomplished background in public policy, international affairs and journalism. She spent nearly two decades working with the United Nations and non-profits, with highlights including being part of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Executive Team, and directing a women’s empowerment NGO in Afghanistan. Before that, she was a journalist, and during this time she co-founded PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project) to reverse Pittsburgh’s loss of young professionals. An avid outdoorswoman, Michelle is a yoga instructor, advanced scuba diver and has made 1,500 skydives.




Rebecca L. Flora is the Principal of ReMake Group, LLC, a woman-owned and operated consulting company, where she uses her ability to design and facilitate processes around complex issues to create real solutions and outcomes. Rebecca served as project manager for the p4 Performance Measures, and has the opportunity to directly apply them as project director for the Almono brownfield redevelopment project. Previously, as Senior Vice President of Education and Research at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Rebecca led the early transformation of the education and research programs of USGBC, creating new business models and delivery methods in response to fast changing market needs globally. Rebecca also served as the first executive director of the Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh (GBA), where she led initiatives that established the Western Pennsylvania region as an early pioneer and leader in the green building movement.



Students from the Environmental Charter School will be returning this year to play music and tell a collective story.







Register Now

**Please note: Registration for this event closes at 12:00 noon on Thursday, February 8th. If you miss the window for online registration, not to worry! You can register at the door.


February 8, 2018
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Jenna Cramer


Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center
1825 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 United States
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