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  • 10-Jul-2019 3:52 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

    Madison Franc


    "2019 PMAHCC Summer Intern Madison Franc does not miss a mark. No matter what you task her with, she tackles it with ease and delivers beyond expectation- no hand-holding necessary. Madison is both a hard and smart worker and would be an asset to any team! She is trust worthy and I am happy to now call her a friend."

    - Melanie Marie Boyer- Director, PMAHCC


    Ms. Franc is a Graduate of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, with a Bachelors Degree of Criminology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Professional Spanish. Madison has just entered the job market!

    In college, Madison remained an honors student while working and remaining an active member on campus. She was a member of Black Action society and promoted diversity and inclusion on campus (and completed the PMAHCC Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program in May, 2019)

    Ms. Franc considers her degree to be her greatest accomplishment. She is very appreciative of her education and won't stop at her bachelor's. Madison wants to dedicate her education and career to helping people that don't necessarily get the help they deserve. She also dreams of going to law school one day and potentially become a judge!


    University/ Degree: 

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania/Bachelors of Criminology/Criminal Justice with a minor in Professional Spanish


    Favorite College Course: 

    Inside-Out, it is new to Slippery Rock but an international course that is taught with 12 students from a university and 12 incarcerated men in a prison environment to discuss topics in Criminal Justice. 


    Why did you choose this career path?

    I like the diverse opportunity that comes with criminology and criminal justice. It allows you to impact more than just yourself and your family by opening up the possibility of helping others and future generations to come.   


    What is your dream job?

    At this particular moment I am trying to figure that out. I would like to be a judge or lawyer to help and defend people that may not always be able to defend themselves. Yet I would also like to work with juveniles and inform them of ways to increase their chances of success in the future by encouraging education and healthy living. In addition I’ve considered policy implementation, statistical research or also being a professor of criminal justice. I’ve considered a prison counselor or warden because of my recent experience. There are so many different paths you could take with this degree so I would say I am still in the process of discovering the job of my dreams. 


    What sets you apart from other recent graduates (a skill or experience)?

    The Inside-Out program has provided me with a unique experience of learning parts of the Criminal Justice system from the Inside, Out. The themes discussed and the people in this class helped me realize what I am capable of and the intelligence that I possess that initiated my go get it attitude. I am different for the better because of this experience and more driven than most. 


    Tell us about a cultural experience you have had.

    I’ve had a few cultural experiences but I would say the biggest one was coming to college. Just the general culture of college life is way different than living at home with your parents. More independence and freedom with decisions. People are being exposed to things they never have been before and you experience all types of backgrounds meshing together. It’s eye opening and something you learn to adapt to only with experience.


    What is your Hispanic background?

    My Hispanic background comes from my education of the language. I have been taking Spanish classes since 5th grade and learning about the language includes learning about the culture.  


    How did you get involved with the Chamber?

    Carmen, the chair of the chamber, spoke in a class of mine at Slippery Rock and talked about the Chamber so I got her contact information and reached out to see how I could volunteer and be a part of it and now here I am.


    What motivates you?

    I am motivated by the hopes of a better future for myself and the world we live in.


    Where do you see yourself in five years / ten years?

    In five to ten years I see myself with a more solid career path and possibly my masters and doctorate degree. I hope to be somewhat established in the professional world and be a highly educated woman. I want to be someone that can make a difference and raise the voice of people that may not be heard as well as they should be. 


    What is your greatest achievement?

    My greatest achievement is graduating from college, I am extremely grateful for my education. 


    What do you like about volunteering for PMAHCC?

    Everyone I have met so far is awesome and influential. They have so much to teach you and are more than willing to. In a month I have already learned so much about the Chamber and feel like I’m gaining crucial life skills. It’s been nothing but fantastic.


    What do you like to do if your downtime?

    In my downtime I like to read and try to teach myself new things. I recently got a keyboard piano and am in the process of becoming a musician, its going pretty average. 


    Tell us one interesting thing about you:

    I have extremely flexible toes. (Just Kidding) One interesting thing about me is kind of the opposite of interesting but I have never been on an airplane. That tends to surprise people.  



    Connect with Madison on LinkedIn

    Email Madison: madison.franc97@gmail.com


    __________________________________________________

    Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

    One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Suite 4300  Pittsburgh PA 15219 U.S.A.

    Please Like, Follow and Subscribe us at:

         


  • 05-Jun-2019 2:47 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)


    As Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development, Allen Gutierrez is dedicated to enhancing the nationwide network of offices, business executives, and mentors that support current and aspiring business owners as they start, grow, and compete in today’s global market. This nationwide network includes the following Resource Partners: Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and SCORE.


    Most recently, Gutierrez served as the national executive director of The Latino Coalition (TLC). Under his leadership, the coalition grew to include 1.2 million Hispanic business owners and over 90 coalition partners, transforming TLC into one of the nation’s largest and most effective Latino advocacy groups.


    Gutierrez previously served in the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2001 to 2006; during his tenure, he served as Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer, as well as Senior Advisor to the Office of International Trade. As a member of the senior management team, Gutierrez served on the Executive Resource Board and executed the President’s Management Agenda to create a more transparent and results-orientated agency. During his tenure in the Office of International Trade, Gutierrez served as the key representative for SBA during the CAFTA-DR negotiations, which was signed into law as the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing countries.


    He is also the founder of The MCA Group based out of Southern California with emphasis on Federal & private sector procurement, special events management and multicultural marketing. Prior to joining the entrepreneur spirit and starting his own company he was the Chief Operating Officer of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2005 to 2007) a national organization that represents the interest of over 2 million Hispanic Owned Businesses. During his tenure at USHCC he was part of the senior management team that accomplished record-breaking partnership with Corporate America, as well as high-level participation from its membership at their annual and legislative convention.


    Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Gutierrez immigrated to California in 1974, where he achieved his dream of becoming the first member of his family to graduate from an accredited four-year college. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in business administration from the University of Southern California.




    Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by commemorating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

    The Gala, which benefits the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC ) Foundation Educational Fund, will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. Following a cocktail hour, Latin inspired dinner and program with a special guest keynote speaker.  Guests will dance the night away to live Latin music and enjoy casino games. Prizes may be won with casino tickets and at our extensive silent auction.

    We will announce our 2019 college and graduate school scholarship recipients at the Gala, as well as the 2019 recipient of the "Rob Vega Memorial Scholarship,". Since 2011 PMAHCC has awarded $190,000 to 119  qualifying area students of Hispanic/Latino decent. These students have attended technical schools, colleges, and universities, including Ivy League schools. Year after year, we see an increase in applicants.


    Did you know that Hispanics across the nation are opening businesses at a rate of 8 to 1 when compared to other groups? Even with this sign of prosperity, higher education remains a hurdle for this group. Latino Americans, the largest and the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States, yet are half as likely to hold a college degree as non-Hispanic white adults and fewer than a quarter (22.6%) hold a two-year college degree or higher, the lowest of any ethnic group. With the Hispanic population of Pittsburgh seeing 170% growth from 2010 to 2018 (a time when our city lost population overall population), it is more apparent than ever that investing in the future of the local Latinx population is investing in the future of Pittsburgh!


    As an organization, we seek to increase educational opportunities by providing scholarships to outstanding Latinx students in the greater Pittsburgh area (based on both merit and financial need). It with your help, that our semi-annual Hispanic Heritage Month Gala has funded our PMAHCC Foundation scholarship program.



    __________________________________________________

    Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

    One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Suite 4300  Pittsburgh PA 15219 U.S.A.

    Please Like, Follow and Subscribe us at:

         


  • 05-Jun-2019 1:15 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)


    Gisele Barreto Fetterman is an access and equity advocate, a hugger and the Second Lady of Pennsylvania.  She is the founder of Freestore 15104, where surplus and donated goods are received and redistributed to neighbors in need.  The Freestore aims to eradicate food and clothing insecurity and has inspired 9 spin-off locations and the birth of 412 Food Rescue.  Gisele is the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, a community-wide effort to end hunger and reduce food waste.  412FR has rescued over 5 million pounds of food. She is a co-founder of For Good PGH, a non-profit that works to advocate inclusion and inspire kindness.  Its first initiative, Hello Hijab, has received both national and international praise.   Gisele was born in Brazil and emigrated as a child to the US, living as an undocumented immigrant for over a decade. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, TODAY Show, CNN, NPR and more.  Gisele is a Forty under 40 honoree, a Tedx Speaker a Jefferson Awards recipient and a mother of three. 




    Here is Gisele's Story and a great video about her:

    https://aldianews.com/articles/leadership/undocumented-story-gisele-barreto-fetterman/50766



    Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by commemorating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

    The Gala, which benefits the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PMAHCC ) Foundation Educational Fund, will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. Following a cocktail hour, Latin inspired dinner and program with a special guest keynote speaker.  Guests will dance the night away to live Latin music and enjoy casino games. Prizes may be won with casino tickets and at our extensive silent auction.

    We will announce our 2019 college and graduate school scholarship recipients at the Gala, as well as the 2019 recipient of the "Rob Vega Memorial Scholarship,". Since 2011 PMAHCC has awarded $190,000 to 119  qualifying area students of Hispanic/Latino decent. These students have attended technical schools, colleges, and universities, including Ivy League schools. Year after year, we see an increase in applicants.


    Did you know that Hispanics across the nation are opening businesses at a rate of 8 to 1 when compared to other groups? Even with this sign of prosperity, higher education remains a hurdle for this group. Latino Americans, the largest and the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States, yet are half as likely to hold a college degree as non-Hispanic white adults and fewer than a quarter (22.6%) hold a two-year college degree or higher, the lowest of any ethnic group. With the Hispanic population of Pittsburgh seeing 170% growth from 2010 to 2018 (a time when our city lost population overall population), it is more apparent than ever that investing in the future of the local Latinx population is investing in the future of Pittsburgh!


    As an organization, we seek to increase educational opportunities by providing scholarships to outstanding Latinx students in the greater Pittsburgh area (based on both merit and financial need). It with your help, that our semi-annual Hispanic Heritage Month Gala has funded our PMAHCC Foundation scholarship program.



    More Information

    __________________________________________________

    Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

    One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Suite 4300  Pittsburgh PA 15219 U.S.A.

    Please Like, Follow and Subscribe us at:

         

  • 25-Apr-2019 2:41 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    Business community participates in Big Table discussions around Pittsburgh

    Julia Mericle, Pittsburgh Business Times (PA)

    4/17/19                 

     

    A group of 10 Pittsburghers shared lunch around a table at the Comcast Corporation (NYSE: CCZ) facility in McKees Rocks Wednesday and talked about how to connect and support the local Latino, Hispanic and immigrant communities. Over 50 Pittsburghers gathered at PwC’s offices to discuss ways to rebuild religious support after the Tree of Life shooting.

     

    And at various other tables throughout the city Pittsburghers gathered for conversations touching on acknowledging mental health, supporting diversity and inclusion in workplaces, coming together to pick up litter and getting to know their local elected officials. 

     

    The dialogues were part of Pittsburgh’s first Big Table event hosted by Leadership Pittsburgh. The free initiative— which has run in other cities including Louisville, Chicago and Columbus— attracted over 250 hosting individuals or organizations and about 4,000 individual participants.

     

    The groups joined together to ask, “How can we build stronger, connected communities?” 

     

    Hosts included PwC, Comcast, the Allegheny County Executive’s office, University of Pittsburgh, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Libraries, the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Wigle Whiskey, Rose Schneider YMCA and the Pittsburgh Business Times, among many others. 

     

    For Yvonne Campos, representing the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, it can start with something as simple as changing the catering for events like this one from the Chipotle that Comcast served to a locally-owned restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Hispanic community. 

     

    “It is about partnering with all the other organizations,” said Campos. “…We need to come together as a group to support each other and collaborate where we can.”

     

    Participants in the conversation at Comcast included Laura Perkins, of Casa San Jose, and Sister Linda Yankoski, of the Holy Family Institute. 

     

    Comcast employees spoke of their current community outreach work including work with the Unidos program, a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy program, and Internet Essentials, a program that aims to provide internet access to low-income children. Comcast employees also asked those in the room how large businesses like themselves can be more helpful to the communities they are based in.

     

    Ideas included internship programs for a diverse pool or young people and partnerships with diverse chambers of commerce.  

     

    Justin Kaufman, Pittsburgh Office Managing Partner at PwC, said the Big Table event at his company consisted of a mix of both employees and community leaders. Kaufman said diversity and inclusion are a high priority for the company and the Big Table event is a way to hear a variety of voices.

     

    “For me personally, when I was presented with the idea of the Big Table…I thought it was a great opportunity to invite the community into our safe space to have these dialogues and help bridge overall where we are trying to go from a community perspective.” 

     

    Yet, the community members in the room at Comcast addressed a shared concern that oftentimes these conversations in corporate settings are simply conversations. They asked how this can lead to real action in the business community. 

     

    “Sometimes corporations have these resources groups, and it’s a matter of getting together but they don’t’ really do anything,” said Campos.

     

    While specific actions from the Big Table event are still in the brainstorming phase, representatives from both Comcast and PwC said this would not be “a one and done” conversation.


    PMAHCC was invited to the table by:



  • 24-Apr-2019 2:24 AM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

    Mariajose Figueroa

    2 Semesters, 6 Ongoing Roles, 5 Organizations, 3 Conferences, 3 Scholarships and ONE INSPIRATIONAL LATINA!

    Mariajose Figueroa is a Colombian/Honduran,Pittsburgh Native. This Penn State (Main) student was accepted in to the Engineering program as an incoming freshman.


    Why did you choose this career path? I chose to study Computational Data Science Engineering because of my interest in computer science and artificial intelligence. Throughout High School I learned Java, HTML and later Python. With these skills and my knowledge for math and science I knew that this field was the perfect fit for me.


    What is your dream job? My dream job is to one day be a Data Scientist. I want to hold a position where I would be responsible for interpreting large amounts of data using statistics, and machine learning to collect, organize and clean through data.


    What is your Hispanic background? Colombian (mothers side) Honduran (fathers side)


    How did you get involved with the Chamber? I started volunteering for PMAHCC my freshman year of High School, my first event being the Gala in the fall. I loved being around people from different countries around the world and listening to everyones incredible story. I later got my sisters involved and made it a fun thing that I liked to do with them.


    What motivates you? Every time I learn something new and find a way to apply that knowledge I feel motivated to keep learning, and acquiring new skills to become better student, thinker, and future engineer.


    Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see my future self having a job where I love doing what I do possibly with a family.


    Tell us about a cultural experience you have had/ What is your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is studying abroad in Colombia when I was younger. I was very fortunate to be given this opportunity at a very young age. It opened my eyes to a new culture and outlook on life. I learned how to speak the language, more about my background, and family.


    What do you like about volunteering for PMAHCC? Every time I volunteer for PMAHCC I love how every event feels like a family/friend gathering where people come together to catch up while meeting new people and have a nice time.


    What do you like to do if your downtime? In my downtime at Penn State I like to take advantage of all the resources given to me. I go to the gym, sporting events, and I am involved in many of the clubs and organization around campus. I am the Treasurer of the first STEM sorority on campus that I am in the process of building and a Chair for the Society o Hispanic Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. I will also be a SWAT(Sophomore Women Ambassador Team) Envoy next year in the College of Engineering.


    Tell us one interesting thing about you: I thought I’d never be interested in being an engineer. My father is a Mechanical Engineer so I always thought I had to find what I loved and wanted to study and for some reason I never thought it would be the same as his. I guess it’s in our blood.


    Scholarships:

    -Bunton Waller Merit Award Scholarship

    -Engineering Scholarship(Spring 2019)

    -Society of Women Engineers Scholarship-“Most Active Member”


    Awards:

    -Society of Women Engineers Award for Social Media Chair

    - Society of Women Engineers Award for SWE Benefitting THON

    - Society of Women Engineers Award for Most Active Member

    (Given to me on April 14,2019)


    Positions:

    -Teaching Assistant and Grader for Computer Science course

    -Freshman Representative Chair for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

    -Social Media Chair for the Society of Women Engineers

    -Director of Communication for the Society of Women Engineers (elect August 2019/May 2020)

    -Sophomore Women Ambassador Team Envoy (fall 2019-spring 2020)

    ^ambassador for the college of engineering


    Member

    -Collegiate and National member of the Society of Women Engineers

    -Collegiate and National member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

    -Member of Women Engineering Program

    -Participant of Women Engineering Program Orientation

    - Member of Society of Women Engineers Benefitting THON


    Conferences:

    -Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference

    (Cleveland, Ohio)

    -Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Regional Leadership Conference (Washington D.C.)

    -Society of Women Engineers Local Conference (Baltimore, Maryland)


    Connect with Mariajose on LinkedIn

    Email Mariajose: mjf6007@psu.edu


  • 24-Apr-2019 1:05 AM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)
    The Pulse on Hispanic Health

    – TheraFusion, Alice Beckett-Rumberger, PT



    Type 2 Diabetes

    Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control 40% of US adults are expected to develop Type 2 Diabetes and that number is even higher for Hispanic men and women – 50%! What is Type 2 Diabetes? Type 2 Diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use glucose (sugar). Sugar is needed by the cells in your body for energy but sugar can not go into your cells by itself so the pancreas releases insulin into the blood so sugar can go into cells and left-over sugar that is not used by the body gets stored in the liver with the help of insulin. So, insulin is important in keeping the balance of sugar in the body! People with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin actions and have a hard time maintaining blood sugar levels. Balancing glucose is important because it is the source of energy for all the cells in your body including muscles, tissue, and brain.

    The top five risk factors include, weight, decreased physical activity, family history, race, and age. Some risk factors like race and family history can not be controlled but weight and activity can be controlled. To decrease your risks factors considered a healthy diet and regular physical activity! Your health matters – commit to small changes and soon other healthy decisions will follow! Looking forward to continuing the conversation about health topics because being smart about your health does a body good!


    Alice Beckett-Rumberger, PT

    Principal Physical Therapist 

    TheraFusion 

    Health Advocate

    www.thera-fusion.com




  • 24-Apr-2019 12:22 AM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    “The Latino community of Pennsylvania is at the edge of reaching one million – a historic milestone in our state. This convention is created to serve as a bridge for educational, health, housing, employment, and economic advancements in Latino communities throughout Pennsylvania using data, research and policy for measurable outcomes and community progress.”

    – Chairman Norman Bristol Colón


    In September, 2019 the Inaugural Pennsylvania Latino Convention (PALC) took place in the City of Lancaster. As a result of this event, a “white paper” (download below) was produced to spark conversations across industries and leaders to address the basic needs of Latinos in Pennsylvania. 

    This report calls for a statewide equity agenda which includes the voices of 1-million Latino residents of the state.  It provides a state and national outlook on Latino demographics. 

    This publication aiming to ignite public and private collaborations to enhance quality of life issues impacting the state’s Latino residents.  The path to a stronger Pennsylvania lies in our collective efforts building a stronger Latino community. 

    We thank you for your leadership support and are proud to call you amigo de la comunidad (friend of the community).


    Download Here: 

    PA Latino Convention Report - March 2019.pdf




  • 23-Apr-2019 11:58 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    C:\Users\derimias\Documents\Stratus\Logo\Logo.jpg

    Introducing Stratus Building Solutions of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania:

    Achieve your dream of business ownership with sixteen franchise options to fit your needs! Our smaller franchise options will give you the opportunity to own your own business with low-investment costs and proven support systems in place.

    Franchising is on the rise with the surge of people wishing to go into business for themselves. It is a perfect fit for anyone looking to run a successful business while having the support of a proven and established corporate model.

    Owning your own business will always come with risk but with the right approach and the right backing provided by a franchise business model, your small business’s chances for success are greatly enhanced. A franchise provides you with the management expertise, sales models, marketing support and the opportunity to grow! That is the strength of being part of a strong franchise organization.

     

    Stratus focuses on building Commercial Cleaning Franchises.  We are Ranked Number 42 across all Franchise models and all industry segments.  We are also ranked the 7th Fastest Growing Franchise in the U.S.  Don’t wait any longer, come join the momentum here at Stratus and OWN your dream business TODAY!!!

    The Commercial Cleaning Industry is one of the fastest growing service industries in the world today. The business services industry is currently worth 52 billion-dollars according to the IBIS World Industry Report, and is projected to continue to grow. Commercial cleaning services and facilities maintenance will continue to provide tremendous opportunity.  Everywhere you look, there are new buildings being built, and businesses being opened, and all these businesses need cleaning services.

    Frequent customers are schools, medical offices, shopping centers, warehouses, dealerships, religious centers, professional offices, daycares, retail stores, gyms and more. Someone must clean them all. Purchasing a commercial cleaning franchise will provide a limitless source of new customers, in major metropolitan areas to smaller towns. The possibilities for revenue are endless.

    The commercial cleaning industry is labeled by many economists as a recession resistant industry. It is distinctive and proven in providing a continuous income even during an economic downturn. Businesses will always need to be cleaned, no matter how the economy changes.

     

    Stratus Building Solutions is operating in 48 major cities, with more than 1,800 Unit Franchisees nationwide. With Stratus, you not only receive prominent, brand familiarity and existing credibility with customers as part of a nation-wide, household name in Janitorial Services industry; you will also be offered:

    • The lowest franchise buy-ins in the industry, with as little as $1,000 down, we will finance the remaining investment.

    • Guaranteed customer accounts.

    • Sixteen franchise options to fit your needs, from home-based business to a large franchise.

    • Growth opportunity and support.

    • Includes all memberships, training, sales and marketing support, billing and collections, insurance, and branded Stratus Green Clean products to build your own business.

    • No experience necessary, all training provided!

    • State-of-the-Art equipment and materials.

    • Large Customer Base.

    • Leading Company in Green Clean Services.

    Stratus is a sound and reputable company with affiliations with associations such as International Franchise Association, VetFran, DiversityFran, Black Enterprise, Franchise Direct and of Course Pmahcc. We have been endorsed with rankings from publications like Entrepreneur, Franchise Times and many more!

     

    If you would like to learn more about this exciting opportunity in Western Pennsylvania please do not hesitate to contact us!

     

     

    Todd J. McKinney Dave Erimias

    o. 412-314-1900o. 412-314-1900

    c. 412-415-2084c. 412-519-3500

    e. tmckinney@stratusclean.com  e. derimias@stratusclean.com



    https://www.stratusbuildingsolutions.com/

     

    Franchise Opportunities:  https://www.stratusclean.com/


  • 23-Apr-2019 11:34 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    City of Champions Magazine:

    Overcoming Homelessness in Pittsburgh



    At the City of Champions Magazine, our mission is to provide immediate employment, advocacy, and a voice for the individuals and families who have recently experienced homelessness.  Our core belief is all individuals have an intrinsic desire to succeed, but for some, life has presented obstacles which have caused the unpleasant and unnatural state of homelessness.  The overarching goal of City of Champions Magazine is to empower the homeless by providing the dignity of earning a wage, and therefore, becoming a part of the solution to ending homelessness in Pittsburgh. Our strategy incorporates a highly effective business model utilized in approximately 100 cities around the world into the Pittsburgh community. Our mantra: “Equipping People to Overcome Homelessness Through Commerce.”


    - People who used to beg will become ENTREPRENEURS.

    - People who were desperate will become HOPEFUL.

    - People who were starving will become PROVIDERS.

    - People who were hopeless will become VISIONARIES.

    - People who were incapacitated will become EQUIPPED.

    - People who were unaccountable will become SELF-GOVERNED.


    It’s been over 20 years since Pittsburgh has had a street newspaper, and I can’t wait to see the smiles on the vendors’ faces as they interact with people in town, who in the past, wouldn’t look them in the eye.  I have a strong belief in the altruistic nature of mankind and I am driven by a desire to assist in making people feel loved, appreciated, and cared for. I know that I’m not alone when I say that. In fact, that’s what will make this a success. People want to help, I know they do. When you boil it down, all we’re doing here with the magazine is providing a way for people to interact and have a means where they can help their fellow neighbor in need without needing to wonder if they are doing more harm than good by just giving a handout.


    When we connect with people experiencing homelessness and provide them opportunities and cast a vision for how things can be better in the future, they will want to grow, improve, and that will get them excited about life.  I believe that if you are able to get people excited about life and give them the proper tools and a recipe for success, they will be willing to make sacrifices and do the work to make the world a better place and the impact is immediate! Most of the work that I do on a professional basis is about delayed gratification for the clients that I work with.  I help people to save, invest, plan for the future, protect and provide for their loved ones, and give generously to causes that they are passionate about - all really great things that I love to do. The difference between that and what I get to do with the City of Champions Magazine is that with the magazine I get to equip people in Pittsburgh who have some of the greatest needs and help them to provide for themselves and their families by training them to become entrepreneurs and the impact to them is immediate and significant.


    Why Does Pittsburgh Need A Magazine Like This?


    I firmly believe that every city needs to have a magazine like this and I firmly believe that every person in our City who learns about what we are doing and why we are doing it will want to support our efforts. Frankly, I’m very surprised that nobody in Pittsburgh has stepped up to start a paper like this since the last one dismantled back in November of 1999.  Most people don’t realize it but Pittsburgh had a street paper that was started back in 1998. The name of the paper was, “StreetVoice.” and it was headed up by then CMU Student, Brian Mendelssohn. "The reception in the city was very positive," Mendelssohn says. "We started out with 1,000 [papers] for the first publication; we sold that out in a week." Within a year, he says, StreetVoice had increased its circulation to 8,000. After a few editions, StreetVoice transitioned from a newspaper format to a magazine format since many other organizations had experienced success with the magazine format.


    The “Paradigm Shift”


    The general model has been such a terrific success all around the world and we are happy to do the work to bring that model here to Pittsburgh. If you ask people, most want to help people who are experiencing homelessness but some just have a negative connotation about handouts.  While we are in the process of establishing our organizational structure as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, our program is not a handout. I really like the term that many groups in our industry use which is to buy the paper and give “a hand up, not a handout.” Instead of having people rely on handouts, we are equipping people, training people, and eventually we will train them to train others. Our hope is that we will help people shift their entire view of life from being ashamed that they are begging people to confidently looking people in the eyes, communicating with them, and making a sale. It’s extremely exciting to be a part of a project that will have such a significant impact on people who are in such great need.  


    As a business owner, how are you prepared to lead this organization?


    Thankfully as a business owner with a lot of experience on nonprofit boards and leadership positions, I have built great relationships with amazing people in this city who are excited to see our vision come to fruition.  I’m so grateful for the tremendous support and encouragement from so many people who share a compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness here in Pittsburgh. I’ve also wanted to write a number of books about living a meaningful and rewarding life and this is a great outlet to be able to encourage and uplift people across the city with uplifting content on a regular basis.


    One of my biggest responsibilities is to set the vendors up for success by doing the marketing and public relations work so that people know and understand who the vendors are.  We don’t want to show up out of nowhere and have people wonder who we are and what we are doing. Thankfully, I have the support of my wife Betsa, my business partner, Karl Ohrman, and many other community members that want to do whatever they can to help make this project a success for the soon to be vendors.  I’m also working with a terrific team of college interns who share a passion and excitement for what we are doing. Another organization that has been a huge supporter of this project is Rotary District 7300. Singh Ajmani, Dennis Crawford, Sue Kelly, and other foundation board members have been extremely supportive of our efforts and I’m so grateful for them and the support that they are giving us.   In addition to working with business and Rotary leaders, I’m thankful for people like Bill Flanagan of the Allegheny Conference who believes in what we are doing and is willing to help connect us with business and government leaders. When you have people like Bill behind what you are doing, it gives you more and more enthusiasm to keep pushing forward. Soon I hope to connect with Bill Peduto and his team along with the local police departments so that we can work collaboratively with them.  It’s a team effort and we are agile and want to do whatever we can to make this a success here in our city.


    “What are some of the biggest questions that people ask you about the magazine?”


    Something that many people ask about revolves around the concern that vendors may take the money that they earn and use that money to buy drugs or alcohol.  That concern is fair and well received. People that ask that have a genuine concern. As you can imagine, this is something that we too have considered and are very cognizant about. Our hope is that by giving vendors a vision of where they can be in the future and giving them a way out of the current situation they are in - they will have more incentive than ever to fight the good fight and battle addiction.  Additionally, on a part time basis, we will hire experienced and qualified people that want to work with people who are dealing with addictions to help them get out of the cycle. We won’t try to replace other service providers, but we want to have in house people who can help connect people with the help that they need.


    Another way to look at the issue of drug and alcohol abuse is to ask ourselves, “What would we do and how would we respond if we felt marginalized by society, abandoned by our friends, and burdened by the reality of becoming homeless?”  When people have nothing to lose and nobody holding them accountable, can we expect them not to drink or do drugs? In all fairness - if anyone has a reason to numb the pain or escape the reality of their situation - it’s people who are experiencing homelessness. So instead of criticizing them, I think it’s important that we are empathetic to their situation and that we give them something to get excited about. By helping them become enthusiastic about the future we are able to hold them accountable to improving their situation for the better.


    What’s your vision for the impact you will have?


    First, let me say that I realize that my vision for how we will help people may be optimistic, but  frankly, my optimism is what drives me to keep pushing forward even when we hit difficulties along the road. But I like to break down the numbers based upon us having 100 active vendors.


    If 50 of those vendors sell just 10 magazines per day that would be a total of 500 magazines per day.  If 40 other vendors sell 20 magazines per day, that adds up to 800 magazines per day. Lastly, if we have 10 high performing vendors sell 30 magazines per day, that’s a total of 300 magazines per day.  The daily total with those numbers, which I think are very possible, would be 1,600 magazine per day. If we assume that they take some days off and work 25 days per month, that would add up to 40,000 magazines per month.  Based upon a profit per magazine of $4.25 (Buy each magazine for 75 cents and sell for $5.00) that would add up to a total monthly impact of $170,000 per month to provide immediate employment and impact to people experiencing homelessness.  On an annual basis that would add up to $2,040,000. Over $2 Million dollars! That’s amazing and we think that it’s reasonable. It would be an average of about $1,700/month of income for 100 people. That’ pretty awesome. Then once people become more stable and are able to get on their feet, we want to help them transition to new opportunities.  We don’t want people to treat this as a career, but we want to provide an opportunity for people who need it to get back on their feet.


    Money isn’t everything and money money certainly does not guarantee happiness - but there is a certain amount of money that people need in order to live a life where they can provide food, shelter, and basic entertainment for themselves and their loved ones.  We believe that we can help people provide for those basic needs and help people grow, be challenged, and prosper now and into the future.


    For us it’s about transformation.  We want people who were begging to become entrepreneurs. We want people who are desperate to become hopeful. We want to take people who are hopeless and help them to become visionaries.  Furthermore, we are taking an entire population of people who are not held accountable and we are helping them to become self governed. To us, that is extremely important not just for the vendors, but for the community as a whole.  


    As a city, we need to realize that the negative consequence of stable and increasing home values is that it becomes easier and easier for people to become displaced from their homes.  According to a January 2018 article from Marketwatch.com, millions of people in America are one paycheck away from being in the streets. Many people have a safety net of support such as friends and relatives - but many people don’t have that luxury.


    What inspired you to pursue this project?


    While I personally believe that God has been preparing me for this project over the course of my entire life, there was a triggering event recently that sparked the project on. One of my best friends, Milan recently invited me to join him in a community outreach that he helped to organize with some members at our church.  The team had prepared hot food, refreshments and snacks to provide to anyone who was interested. Though everyone was welcomed to join us, we were hoping to help provide for people in need and have the opportunity to talk with them, encourage them, support them, and even pray with them if they were interested.


    One of the gentlemen that we met said that he was formerly a teacher but a DUI caused him to lose his teaching license.  In addition to losing his job, his marriage fell apart and without a safety net to fall back on, he lost his income, assets, and his home.  It was a very rough situation but as we spoke with him he told us that one of his goals was to provide a voice for people who have experienced homelessness. When I heard him talk about this interest of his, I asked him if he had ever heard of the newspapers and magazines written in part and sold by people experiencing homelessness and I was astonished to hear that he had never seen them or heard about them.  At that point, my mind started to connect all the dots between friends, contacts, community members, etc and I knew that not only was this possible - but this had to happen. And here we are just about a month away from launching our first edition.


    “100 Percent Pittsburgh” and our hopes for a “City of Champions Magazine Day”


    One of our hopes is that we can work with the City of Pittsburgh to declare a “City of Champions Magazine Day.”  A proclamation like that would be amazing and would communicate that as a city, we care about everyone - especially those who are going through tough times.  Another blessing from a timing standpoint is that The Pittsburgh Foundation is focused on an initiative called, “100 Percent Pittsburgh.” One of their goals is to connect every member of our community with opportunity and we are deeply driven by the same principle.  We hope to work with them and their “Small and Mighty” program to allow us to get the funding and support that we need to have a lasting and significant impact on people who need it most.


    Do you think people will pay $5?

    I sure hope so! Price is only relevant in the absence of value and I can assure you two things - First, anyone and everyone will obtain far more than $5 of value by purchasing and reading the magazine. Secondly even though we may not sell as many magazines as we would if we sold them for $2 per magazine - we don’t think we will lose 50% of our potential buyers.  Therefore, $5 per magazine makes good business sense and it allows us to make a more significant impact without the additional logistical pressures that we would have if the vendors had to sell twice as much volume to make the same amount of money. I realize that people don’t always have $5 cash on them so we will also allow people to purchase the magazine through Venmo.


    Pittsburgh’s Call to Action!


    Somebody once said that we will be judged as a community and as a society based upon how we treat the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us.  Will we continue to just ignore the needs around us? Or will we become more attentive to the needs of others above our own? It’s not a question of whether or not people can afford to buy a magazine for $5.  99% of people working in downtown Pittsburgh have the means to buy a $5 magazine. City of Champions Magazine simply provides community members a way to spend just $5 per month on a magazine that will change people’s lives.  Sales is tough, there is no doubt about it, but when you buy one of our magazines from a vendor and do so with a smile and an encouraging word, you may be the tipping point in changing that vendor’s life forever. You will never know the ripple effects that you will have on countless lives, all because you supported a vendor. It’s a beautiful thing!



  • 23-Apr-2019 11:15 PM | Melanie Boyer (Administrator)

    Creating opportunities for

    small and diverse businesses


    Covestro introduces new supplier diversity program in North America  
    Program builds on company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, strengthens innovation

    PITTSBURGH, Apr. 9, 2019 -- Today, Covestro LLC announced the launch of its North American supplier diversity program, building on its continuous commitment to create a more diverse, inclusive and innovative culture. The new program opens the door for small and diverse organizations that have an interest in doing business with the global high-tech materials provider, which has operations throughout the United States and Mexico.

    To learn more about Covestro’s supplier diversity program, visit the website at:
    https://www.covestro.us/ company/diversity-and-inclusion/supplier-diversity.

    “We believe that our supply base should reflect our company values and the diversity of the communities where we live and work. Our supplier diversity program paves the way by giving us a platform to connect with smaller, historically disadvantaged firms that share our passion for sustainability and innovation,” said Stacey Vigliotti, head of business procurement services at Covestro LLC.

    That initial connection is made through an online portal, where potential suppliers can register for the opportunity to compete for Covestro’s business. The Supplier Diversity Portal acts as a hub of supplier information, which Covestro will use when considering new vendors for a product or service.

    “Through this program, we hope to forge strategic alliances that allow us to better serve our customers, strengthen our culture of innovation and promote the growth of diverse businesses,” explained Micah Caporali, supplier diversity manager at Covestro LLC.

    Covestro has long recognized diversity and inclusion as integral to its business and innovation strategies. That commitment extends throughout every aspect of its operations, including the supply network.

    “We often look to our suppliers and business partners to bring new ideas and fresh insights to the table. And we believe that everyone should have a seat at that table,” said Haakan Jonsson, president and managing director of Covestro LLC. “By formalizing our commitment to supplier diversity, we aim to build relationships with forward-thinking, collaborative suppliers that want to grow with Covestro.”

    “We’re early in this journey, but we’re committed to further developing our supplier diversity program through feedback and ongoing collaboration with suppliers,” he added.

    Learn more about why the company is investing in supplier diversity: https://youtu.be/GhASU1vbjxA.

    About Covestro LLC:
    Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and healthcare industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 16,800 people at the end of 2018.

    Find more information at www.covestro.us.

    Forward-Looking Statements
    This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at www.covestro.com. Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

    This press release is available for download from our website. Click here to view all our press releases.

    Editor’s Note: Follow news from Covestro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CovestroUS


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