Meet Our Commissioners
Executive Director anupama (anu) jain
anu jain earned a BA at Bryn Mawr College and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She spent more than a decade in higher education conducting original research, teaching topics including gender and race in the U.S., and supporting equity initiatives. She is the founder of Inclusant, a consulting firm that offers cross-sector diversity and inclusion education.
JaLissa D. Coffee
JaLissa D. Coffee, M.Ed., Director of Operations at the Homewood Children’s Village, has a passion for making sure organizations operate at their highest potential. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to engage with organizations seeking to expand their capacity and influence by implementing beneficial and equitable policies and procedures. At The Village, Coffee’s primary responsibilities include serving at the helm of the Collective Impact Council, evaluating the efficiency of business procedures according to organizational objectives, and applying improvements to the organization’s culture, strategy, policies, and procedures through the lens of equity. An educator at heart, JaLissa can typically be found engaging young people and making sure their voices are heard and amplified. Coffee enjoys spending time with her family and close friends, and takes great pride in being an aunt to her 12 nieces and nephews. She lives in Pittsburgh with her partner and their dog, Maya.
Kelauni J. Cook
In 2018, Kelauni Cook was one of “The 12 People To Meet” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Magazine, quoted in The Atlantic Magazine’s “City Lab”, and was featured in The Huffington Post for her presence in the international blockchain space. She is a former software developer, who is now the Founder and Executive Director of Black Tech Nation (BTN), which aims to create and grow Pittsburgh’s first black tech ecosystem. She is also the Co-Founder of Distributed49, a blockchain education and consulting company housed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Project Olympus, where her company produces the city’s largest blockchain meetup group - “Straight Up Blockchain”. Kelauni also sits on the City Council's Startup and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
Commissioner Fogarty is a psychologist and an executive coach. She was appointed to the Gender Equity Commission by Mayor Bill Peduto as a representative of the Pittsburgh4CEDAW group, which introduced and then worked to pass the Gender Equity Ordinance. Commissioner Fogarty is a long term member of the Zonta Club of Pittsburgh, part of Zonta International, an international advocacy and service group that envisions a world in which women's rights are human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential. In addition, she is a member of the Executive Womens Council of Pittsburgh and she serves on the CMU Osher Board. Commissioner Fogarty has worked on gender equity issues throughout her career, personally and professionally, with individuals, corporations, and society.
Councilwoman Deb Gross
Councilwoman Deb Gross began her first full four year term as the District 7 representative in January 2016. Her district includes the Strip District, Polish Hill, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Friendship, Stanton Heights, Morningside, and her home neighborhood Highland Park – where she lives with her husband Stan Caldwell and two children, Theodora and Stanley. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Duke University. She is a firm believer in the power and promise of Pittsburgh neighborhoods and has worked as a community organizer, strategic planner, and fundraiser for a variety of organizations including the Lawrenceville Corporation, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance during her career. Deb’s policy interests and initiatives revolve around improving the quality of life for Pittsburgh families, supporting local and minority owned businesses, creating accessible, resident-friendly infrastructure, and eliminating neighborhood blight while increasing affordable housing options. Her work also focuses on establishing connections and relationships between a diversity of stakeholders to develop cohesive, equitable plans for moving Pittsburgh forward.
Alison has lived in the City of Pittsburgh for over 35 years, and has worked to end sexual violence in our community for over 16 years
Sarah E.W. Hansen
Commissioner Hansen has been a passionate voice for equity in and access to education and the workforce for over 15 years. Much of her work has focused around workforce development, most recently as Senior Director of Operations for Pennsylvania Women Work. Currently, she works as a Senior Research Associate for HPW Associates, a woman-owned business. HPW Associates specializes in applied research, evaluation, and performance measurement across multiple non-profit, government, and private sectors, including behavioral health, recovery support, education, and workforce development. Hansen holds a PhD in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She is also a Visiting Scholar with the university’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department. Hansen also serves as a Board of Directors member and choir member/percussionist of the Renaissance City Choir.
Dr. Sharon Higginbothan is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bethlehem Haven, an agency dedicated to working with women experiencing homelessness, health/well-being and health care disparities. Prior to working in the field to end homelessness, Dr. Higginbothan served as the Coordinator for Faith and Health Initiatives &Research at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where her work focused on HIV/AIDS, and other health disparities related to African American communities, particularly women. She served at Duquesne University in the Theology Department as a community partner and advisor to ensure that the curriculum was culturally inclusive. At Duquesne, she also worked with Center for Community Engaged Teaching and Research, where she developed Best Practices for Community Engage work and co-taught in the department. Dr. Higginbothan earned her PhD in Health Care Ethics/Bioethics from Duquesne University, her MDiv from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.
For the past 15 years, Sabrina worked as the Supervising Attorney of the Women’s Center and Shelter Civil Law Project. In this position, she focuses on providing systems advocacy and free legal representation on behalf of victims of intimate partner violence, in cases involving custody, protection from abuse, support, divorce and other civil legal matters, so that victims can obtain justice, autonomy, safety, and restoration. Attorney Korbel has served as a Council Member in the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Family Law Section and has been a co-chair for the Public Service Committee of the Family Law Section since 2008 through the present. She is a past member of the Allegheny County Bar Association Judiciary Committee and Board of Governors and a current Allegheny County Bar Foundation Fellow. Sabrina is an active member and past president of the local Matrimonial Inns of Court. She presently sits as the Implementation Co-Chair of the Allegheny County Children’s Roundtable Family Violence Committee where she works to improve the court process for victims of violence in a trauma informed manner. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition against Domestic Violence’s statewide Attorney Network and presents trainings and lectures for the justice system on domestic violence and other legal issues, including annual PFA trainings for Neighborhood Legal Services Association to pro bono PFA attorneys. She has been awarded numerous awards for her work, including the 2009 Public Interest Attorney Award, the 2011 Civil Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award, and the 2017 Women of Achievement Award. Sabrina is a 2002 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She resides in Ross Township with her husband and two daughters.
Janet K. Manuel is Director for Human Resources and Civil Service & EEO/Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the City of Pittsburgh, Ms. Manuel held the position of Vice President of Human Resources for Vincentian Collaborative Services, a HealthCare and Social Service organization. Ms. Manuel serves on the Executive and General Board for the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association (PHRA) as President-Elect and in 2019 will hold the position of President. In addition, Ms. Manuel is Chairperson for the Community College of Allegheny County Job Placement and Career Advisory Board, representing all four campuses, and serves on the General and Executive Employer Advisory Board for West PAC, a Consortium of 40 plus Colleges and Universities in Western PA. She holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Studies with a dual concentration in Leadership and Employee Relations from Robert Morris University. Ms. Manuel also holds the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM-CP certifications.
Amanda is currently the Program Manager for the Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University, where she supports and promotes mentorship and leadership programming to advance opportunities for women students. Amanda was previously the Diversity and Inclusion Employment Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh, and continues that work independently as a diversity trainer and consultant. She served on the Lawrenceville Community Land Trust and Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Learning and Research committees, and the board of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh. Amanda is a an alum of the Baltimore School for the Arts, Howard University, and the Accademia Dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy.
Morgan Overton is a proud Pittsburgh native, and is currently the Community Engagement and Policy Associate for the Women's Health Activist Movement Global under the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. She works on initiatives to transform maternal health, racial, and reproductive equity on the community and policy level. She has held numerous positions in public affairs at local, state, and federal levels, most notably as an organizing fellow for Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign. Morgan is also a visual artist whose work has exhibited across the United States, and France. From the University of Pittsburgh, Morgan earned a Bachelor's in psychology with a minor in studio arts, as well as a Master's in Social Work with a focus in community organization and social action. In 2019, Morgan received the Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement and Social Justice. She was also inducted into the Pittsburgh Business Times; 30 Under 30 Awards.
Dr. Sarah Schulz is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Point Park University, where she also serves as the director of the MA program in Clinical-Community Psychology. She earned her Doctorate in Social Welfare with a specialization in gender and sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. Since joining the Point Park faculty in 2013, her research interests have focused on the health and mental health needs of the LGBT/Q community, as well as the homeless community of Pittsburgh. She was a Principle Investigator on the Point Park University Campus Climate Survey, which aimed to assess students’ experiences, behaviors, and attitudes regarding sexual assault and harassment on urban college campuses. Her research interests are rooted in over 10 years of clinical experience as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in a variety of mental health settings.
As the Commission appointee who is the "employee of the City knowledgeable about the City budget," Michael works in the City Council Budget Office as Budget Manager. The Budget Office monitors City finances and conducts analyses of City operations and policy matters. This Office analyzes all legislation relating to finances that pass through City Council, prepares and distributes periodic reports on revenues, expenditures and other financial trends relative to the financial operation and fiscal condition of the City, to Council. The Office produces, supervises, and reviews the City’s final annual operating, CDBG, and capital budgets and compiles special reports and executive summaries for Council to assist them in their deliberations.
Diamonte Walker is the Deputy Executive Director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (URA), where she provides strategy, vision, operations management, team development, and leadership. Diamonte joined the agency in 2017, quickly becoming the driving force behind URA’s MWBE strategy. Her commitment to the advancement of equitable development is demonstrated through the administration of the URA’s MWBE Program, compliance monitoring, reporting functions, and other economic inclusion focused initiatives. Diamonte offers a serious look at what can happen when we expand the work of economic development beyond metrics, goals and buzzwords to create impactful experiences that empower people while transforming place. Diamonte holds an MBA and Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She is a Mayoral appointee to Pittsburgh’s Land Bank Board, serves on the Neighborhood Allies and InnovatePgh boards, and currently sits on the Housing Opportunity Fund’s Advisory Board.
Ricardo “ Rick” Williams has been the Manager of Equity and Inclusion for the City of Pittsburgh in the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment since 2015. As Manager, he oversees the Equal Opportunity Review Commission. Rick and his staff work collaboratively with the City to create various entry points of opportunity for minority and women vendors to secure professional service contracts. Rick is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh – Class XXXI, a community focused program that selects emerging leaders across Allegheny County. He was awarded the 2012 Pittsburgh Courier Men of Excellence for his work in Human Services and Community Development. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Robert Morris University.
Megan Block (served 2017-2020)
As an Attorney and Shareholder at Healey & Hornack, PC, Megan represents individuals in civil rights and employment matters, labor unions in organizing campaigns and litigation, and demonstrators who are arrested for protesting and civil disobedience. In addition to serving on the Commission, Megan is a Community Advocate for the Women’s Law Project and serves on the Board of Directors for SETpoint, a non-profit dedicated to preventing physical and sexual assault through empowerment-focused self-defense training. Megan graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She also holds a Master of Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Kathi R. Elliott (served 2017-2020)
Dr. Kathi Elliott has held the position of Executive Director at Gwen’s Girls since August of 2015. Gwen's Girls is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit who mission is to empower girls and young women to pursue productive lives through exposure to holistic, gender-specific programs, education and experiences. Under Dr. Elliott’s leadership, Gwen’s Girls has become a lead convener in joining local systems administrators, researchers, community organizations, and individuals to share information and best practices to address issues of inequity. This spearheaded the formation of Black Girls Equity Alliance, a community-wide cross-systems initiative that aims to dismantle systemic inequities impacting black girls in the Pittsburgh region through collaborative partnerships. Dr. Elliott earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Chatham University and a dual Master’s degree in Nursing and Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She holds over 20 years of experience in social service, community and individual mental health treatment. Dr. Elliott credits her mother, the late Commander Gwen Elliott, founder of Gwen's Girls, for instilling the values of advocacy and giving back to others in need.
Magdeline Jensen (served 2017-2018)
From 2007-2018, Magdeline Jensen served as CEO of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women and girls. The YWCA provides numerous social service programs and advocates for social and financial equity. Her prior experience includes working as Chief Federal Probation Officer in Arizona, the first woman to hold the position, and as an administrator in the headquarters of the U.S. Federal Courts. Jensen holds a Masters and Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at American University and California State University in the Criminology field.
Chelsea Pallatino (served 2017-2019)
Chelsea Pallatino, Ph.D., MPH, is a Postdoctoral Associate at Magee-Women's Research Institute studying the intersection of substance use, sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and intimate partner violence among pregnant women with opioid use disorder. Her doctoral dissertation research in public health focused on Asian Indian immigrant women and their definitions, experiences, and help-seeking behaviors related to domestic violence. She has conducted research in the U.S., Italy, and India on women’s health, maternal and child health, family planning, and violence against women as well as with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Gender Equality in Public Administration Initiative. Chelsea obtained Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). She continued her education at GSPH to earn her PhD in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.