Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards and Celebration – January 2014


Friday, January 24, 2014 - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theater, Center for Performing Arts, 6 Allegheny Square East, Pittsburgh, PA15212

The event celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s values-based leadership, embraced by the CoroCenter for Civic Leadership, and honors the individuals and organizations in our region that lead from their values in the service of building a more inclusive democracy.


Event includes Hors d’Oeuvres, cash bar, music, and award ceremony.

Click here to see event sponsors.

Read Pop City article on MLK Leadership Award recipients and honorees. 

Three awards will be presented as follows:

Distinguished individual leadership award goes to an individual who practices values-based leadership in the service of a more inclusive democracy.


Dean Williams 

Director, Formerly Convicted Citizens Project

“Dean epitomizes the values-based leadership shown to us by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and embraced by Coro Pittsburgh. He envisions a more inclusive Pittsburgh, and has committed his work to seeing that out. He has a leverage point not many have the eyes to see or the experience to understand. Nevertheless, we cannot hope to have a truly inclusive democracy without also pulling this lever.”

Distinguished Coro alumni leadership award goes to a Coro alumnus who practices values-based leadership in the service of a more inclusive democracy.


Tom Baker 

Chief Community Affairs Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh

President, Baker Leadership

Founder and Chief Program Officer, Get Involved!, Inc.

Councilman-elect, Allegheny County

“Tom Baker truly has dedicated his life and his work to engaging young people, empowering and exciting them, and is a model of selfless serving in the conservative sector. His dedication and leadership have impacted the lives of many of those in his community and region. “

Organizational leadership award goes to an organization that practices values-based leadership in the service of a more inclusive democracy.

Nina Marie Barbuto


Nina Marie Barbuto, Founder Assemble: A Community Space for Arts + Technology

Assemble is an open physical space in an urban neighborhood in Pittsburgh. We unite artists, technologists, and makers with our neighbors of all demographics. Assemble provides a platform for experiential learning, opening creative processes, and building confidence through making.

Below is a list of all nominees for a Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award. These individuals and organizations will be honored at the event.

Angela Allie

Angela Allie

Principal, Propel Andrew Street High School

“As the principal of Propel Andrew Street High School, Angela Allie has embraced a vision of democracy, empowerment, and innovation in administering the school. Her leadership has provided the space and support for teachers to serve their students in new and engaging ways, particularly with a focus on social justice issues related to race, class, and gender.”


Michael David Battle

Founder and Executive Director, Garden of Peace Project

“Michael leadership and commitment to those around him was seen in his founding of the Garden of Peace Project in September 2012. Garden of Peace Project was founded to increase the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of all people, including the most vulnerable, marginalized populations, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of Southwestern Pennsylvania.”


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh

Jan Glick, Chief Executive Officer Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh

Mission: The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh Mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Seth Corbin

Seth Corbin

Attorney, Fox Rothschild LLP

“Seth is one of the youngest, but also one of the most dedicated and passionate, members of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Seth is not a Chairman in name only. His commitment and leadership is shown through his involvement in virtually every step of the process.  Showing that his leadership is truly a part of who he is.”

James Daniels - Carnegie Mellon Univ

James Daniels

Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University

“Jim’s efforts have allowed students from the area to express their personal stories with race and difference…his work has been crucial in opening these lines of communication for local students and promotes tolerance and acceptance for all.”

Tom Fallon

Tom Fallon

Member, Pittsburgh East Rotary Club

President, Greater Pittsburgh Sister Cites Association

District Governor, Rotary International District 7300

“Tom has a true passion for the environment that is reflected in both his leadership and business, Urban Green Development.  Through Urban  Green Development he rehabilitates single-family homes utilizing “green” earth friendly products, systems and applications.  The end result is a home that lessens global impact, increases efficiency and reduces the dependence on fossil fuels.”


Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh

Maggie I. Withrow, Executive Director Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh

Mission:  Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh brings people together to build and rehabilitate homes, supporting communities through neighborhood revitalization.

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson

Director, Diversity Initiatives, Carlow University

“Barbara is an exemplary leader in both mission and practice. She is widely respected throughout her campus as well as throughout the Pittsburgh community for her leadership and dedication.”


Jessie B. Ramey, PhD

Visiting Scholar in Women’s Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Author, Yinercation

“In creating her blog Yinzercation Ramey has become a leader for everyone in South Western PA who cares about education justice. Her goal is to make sure that every student, rich or poor, black or white, has access to the best possible education, towards the goal of having all of our kids grow up to be the best informed and active citizens imaginable”

Penny Semaia - Univ of Pgh

Penny Semaia

Assistant Athletic Director/ Student Life, University of Pittsburgh

Partner/ Owner, Life Skills 360, LLC

“Penny has an energy that inspires and motivates his students, his mentee his peers to do more and achieve. Penny Semaia is one of the most inspirational leaders and motivators in our region.”

Jennifer Staley McCrady

Jennifer Staley McCrady, Esq.

Program and Policy Coordinator, KidsVoice

“What is most impressive about Jennifer is that she has devoted her entire professional life [Whale's Tale counselor, CASA Advocate] to meeting the needs of children and youth, an often underserved segment of the population. She is a living example of servant leadership.”

Erin Baker - PNC

Erin Baker

Vice President and Manager, Corporate and Institutional Banking Development Program, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

“Service is central to Erin and her leadership. In her free time, Erin devotes her leadership  to advisory boards such as Coro Pittsburgh Alumni Council (former President) and the Millvale Franciscan Volunteer Program. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Get Involved! Inc. and also the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP).”

Lynn Banaszak Brusco

Lynn Banaszak Brusco

Executive Director, Disruptive Health Technology Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

“Lynn is the type of person that inspires and leads others through her positive, encouraging and pleasant outlook on creating opportunities for success and mutual achievement. When you interact with Lynn, very quickly, you can get a sense of what she stands for, what she values and what matters to her. She is one of those people that always wants to be better and wants to help others achieve the same.”


Dominique Chamely

Graduate Student, H. John Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

“Dominique exemplifies the qualities of a young leader. She is naturally inquisitive, self-confident, incredibly organized, remarkably intelligent and yet humble. “


Hon. Phyllis Comer

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education

Professional Standards and Practices Commission

“Phyllis is an active leader in Pennsylvania’s educational system and incredibly service focused with her talents…. her kindness compliments her talents and leadership.”

LaTasha D. MayesLaTasha D Mayes - New Voices Pittsburgh

La’Tasha D. Mayes, MSPPM

Founder and Executive Director, New Voices Pittsburgh

“La’Tasha has been a long standing leader in the Coro network and the Pittsburgh community. As an activist for women, racial equality, and the LGBTQI community she is a distinguished leader committed to the service of others.”

Alexis Miller

Alexis Miller

President, Polish Hill Civic Association

“Alexis was a member of the first cohort of Public Allies Pittsburgh, and has seen many successes since her time serving. That experience led to her service as the President of the Polish Hill Civic Association, and is a recent 40 under 40 recipient.”

Quincy Swatson

Quincy Kofi Swatson

Founder, The Door Campaign

“Quincy is a determent leader who has taken on challenges with zest and determination. His motivation is contagions and those who work with him feed off his drive. I am excited to see how far this young man goes.” 


Wadria Taylor

CEO,  Style & Steel Event Planning, LLC

“Wadria is a laser focused business women that is successfully leading a small Pittsburgh based strategic marketing company that is has a large focus on the continued economic development of the Pittsburgh region. She is a servant leader that embodies inclusion, diversity and development of people.”  



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