The Coro Women in Leadership (WIL) program is a 10-month, part-time training program that provides women the opportunity to refine their personal and professional leadership competencies, and connect with other women from diverse backgrounds. Gender-specific workforce issues are discussed.

Graduates of the program gain improved leadership effectiveness to apply to their personal and professional lives, an enhanced ability to network within the community, and the access to resources to produce results. Begins October 2017.

By participating in Women in Leadership, you will:

  • Get to know others who are passionate about improving the status of women
  • Explore challenges and opportunities facing women in Western Pennsylvania
  • Receive mentorship while taking action to improve the status of women
  • Learn to build strong teams by leveraging people’s strengths
  • Hone your skills in group facilitation
  • Learn negotiation skills

Women in Leadership is the only experiential leadership program in Southwestern Pennsylvania devoted specifically to women. Participants are early and mid-career professionals from different sectors who are interested in civic engagement and motivated to strive toward the full inclusion of women in business, politics, government, arts, education, philanthropy and community organizing. Participants join a cohort who learn together to clarify their values, lead with authenticity, and integrate their lives at work, at home and in their community, while drawing support from a network of people dedicated to creating positive change for women in the region. The program utilizes the following training principles:

  1. Emphasis on inquiry and experiential learning
  2. Expose participants to public, private, and civic sectors
  3. Use the community as a classroom
  4. Provide opportunities for participants to assess leadership competencies and develop strategies for improvement
  5. Value the critical role of diversity and inclusion in leadership training

The Status of Women in the Region

The gender wage gap is one reason to take action.  Gianina Marquez Olivera (Coro Fellow ’14) wrote an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,  “The most livable city for whom?”. Consider this article – and your own experience – when applying or nominating for Women in Leadership.



During her first term as a Wilkinsburg Borough Councilperson, Marita Garrett has started “Wilkinsburg Community Conversations”, an initiative to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement, co-founded the Free Store Wilkinsburg – where donations of new and slightly used material goods are available to residents and families, and was elected Vice-President of Council, where she serves as Chair of the Borough’s Social Media & Promotions Committee and sits on the Capital Planning & Public Safety Committees.

Ms. Garrett is the co-owner and managing partner of Admintrinsic, which provides a wide range of outreach and engagement services to small businesses, non-profits, and mid-level corporations. She has successfully coordinated small business educational events, 2016 Vacant Home Tour with the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC), consulted on a research study at Carnegie Mellon University among other outreach programming. Currently, she also serves as the Program Trainer for Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership, 2016-2017 Cohort.

Building on her mission of promoting women empowerment, Marita is also the co-host of Shattered Glass Podcast, where stories of extraordinary women shattering the glass ceiling are highlighted.

Ms. Garrett received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh where she was employed as outreach coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center for 7 years – starting there as a senior intern. She continued in Psychology receiving a Master’s from Chatham University and has been a panel speaker on several occasions for the Center for Women and Politics.  She has been recognized for her diligence in civic and community engagement by numerous organizations and media outlets such as the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40, City Paper, the Southwestern PA United Way eXchange series, and most recently The Incline’s “Who’s Next in Politics”.

Currently, she serves as Chair of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) as well as on the advisory boards for Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) Advisory Board and National Leaders Council – Pittsburgh chapter.

Most recently, Councilwoman Garrett won the primary election in the Wilkinsburg Mayoral race.


WIL XXI Leadership Institute:


Tuesday, October 10, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, October 21, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, October 31, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, November 18, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, November 28, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, December 9, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, December 19, 5:30pm – 9:00pm


Saturday, January 6, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, January 16, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, February 3, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, February 13, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, March 3, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday, March 13, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, March 31, 10:00am – 4:00pm


WIL XXI: Monthly Collaboration Days


Tuesday, April 24, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Tuesday, May 22, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Tuesday, June 26, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

Tuesday, July 24, 5:30pm – 9:00pm (Graduation)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, November 19, 2016 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, December 10, 2016 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, January 14 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, February 11, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, March 4, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, April 1, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, April 29, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, May 27, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm


WIL XX: Monthly Collaboration Days

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 5:30pm – 9:30pm


Feyisola Alabi
Policy Analyst, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment
“I’m excited for the opportunities to listen and learn from women that are different from me and are passionate and to hear what their dreams and what their struggles are. I hope to gain more confidence and aggressive in chasing after my dreams, embrace mentorship, and support other women and men in their initiatives to impact our community and or city positively.”



Tanya Baronti
Director, United for Children, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
“WIL is an opportunity for me to learn from some of the most passionate, accomplished and strong women in our City, to enhance my leadership skills, and to positively influence women in our community. Already I have gained a sense of power and presence by trusting a dynamic group of women who support one another, are honest, and desire to be stronger together.”



Julie Barry
Clinical Social Worker, Carolinas HealthCare System
“As a medical social worker, I would like to examine health care disparities in Western PA, especially among low income women and children. I hope to gain the essential skills and confidence to develop into an effective leader.”



Sarah Brown
Program Manager, TeenBloc, A+Schools
“As a member of Women in Leadership, I look forward to gaining practical insight on leadership from a variety of perspectives. I’m hoping to further distill my own style using tools and feedback acquired during this experience. I am excited to see the projects catalyzed in our cohort and the resulting community impact.”



Sarah Byrne-Houser
Mobilization and Public Policy Organizer, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children
“Continually seeking ways to connect people and projects, particularly those that creates stronger support systems and unexpected developments. Ready to engage in fresh collaborations and funnel varied experiences into opportunities to support and promote women of distinction in our region.”



Ratna Jain
Application Development Manager, University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences
“I am excited to meet women who are leaders in their fields, gain new perspectives and share experiences. My short term goal is to improve my leadership capabilities. Long term, I hope to use the experience I have gained to help women play a greater role in governance. ”



Demi Kolke
Senior Planner, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning
“I am looking forward to continuing to grow my network. Additionally, through the leadership materials I am learning what my deficits and assets are as a leader. Lastly, I would say that the SMEs and general group discussion are really helping me to hone in on my passions and actions affiliated with them.”



Lauren Kunze
Senior Education Program Manager, Junior Achievement of Western PA
“I hope to find a leadership style that feels authentic and productive. I want to learn how to exploit my existing skills and grow those skills which are not innate to my style, but vital to my development. I hope to become more sure of myself in leadership roles. ”



Molly Mehling
Program Officer, Environment, Heinz Family Office
“At the end of the CORO Women in Leadership program, in the short term, I hope to have gained a broader network of professional women striving to learn and make change for themselves and others. I hope to have a richer understanding of fields of work beyond those familiar to me. And I hope the connections made will strengthen the role that women play in city leadership. Long-term, I hope to have a more nuanced perspective of leadership, but more importantly I hope to have a broader network of women striving for change. By seeing more women in these roles, I hope I will be more compelled to take risks in my own work.”



Kelly Nestman
Reproductive Justice Advocate, Center for Women’s Health Research and Innovation – University of Pittsburgh
“I am always seeking feedback from other women, and try to learn from their experiences. The program creates a safe space for us to learn from each other and our different leadership styles. I hope to gain the ability to master more than one style of leadership by collaborating with the rest of the cohort and building upon their feedback, experiences and advice.”



Danielle Parson
Director of Communications, ACHIEVA
“I’m excited by the opportunity to engage with women, with diverse backgrounds, and learn more about tools and tactics to be a professional leader. Also, the programming that will come from the WIL experience has the potential to make a large difference in the city, I’m exciting to be a part of those initiatives.”



Angelica Perry
Manager of Development, Homeless Children’s Education Fund
“I am invested in making Pittsburgh a more inclusive city for all, with a personal passion for engaging and supporting women in nonprofit leadership roles. I joined WIL to connect with and support other women in the Pittsburgh area while developing and perfecting my own leadership abilities.”



Brandy Rawls
Executive Director, Oli’s Angels
“I am excited to enhance my leadership skills and methods. I look forward to expanding my organization and training other young women to be leaders.”



Nazli Saka
Community & Student Engagement Manager, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
“I hope to learn leadership and negotiation skills as well as meet a diverse group of like-minded women professionals and expand my network for future partnerships and collaborations.”



Ahimsa Shakti
Community Doula, UPMC’s The Birth Circle Doula Program
“I have been deeply influenced by my experiences and struggles as a single mother. The challenges and barriers that I have faced have given birth to a great passion in me to use my life to support and empower women as mothers. I feel especially compelled to make a difference and be a voice for other single mothers. I hope Coro’s Women in Leadership program is the next step on my journey of personal and professional development. I have thought deeply about what would make the most impact for single mothers, and I have come up with many well thought out ideas. I see Women in Leadership as an opportunity to start putting my ideas out there into the world, and to form my ideas into a cohesive plan with specific and measurable steps I can start taking to make my visions a reality.”


Bayh Sullivan
Enrollment Manager, The Ellis School
“Participating in Women in Leadership excites me because of the opportunity to hear from women on lots of different professional and personal paths. We have activists, educators, fundraisers, and community builders, all of whom aspire to lead. From these women, I hope to gain insights, strategies, and tactics that I can incorporate in my leadership style and take out into my workplace and network to further benefit the women in my sphere of influence.”


Not pictured: Ashley Chan, Elisabeth Gallen.


K5II8810-EditAshley Baptiste
HR Strategist & Instructional Designer Ashley Elyce Baptiste, MBA discovered her passion for helping individuals achieve work-life balance while working in benefits. She loves opportunities to bring a holistic approach to a well-designed life for professionals. Currently, she has a blog that provides simple holistic solutions for total body wellness from the inside out.



K5II8835-EditOlivia Benson
Olivia Benson is an accomplished public policy, political campaign, and public affairs professional with a proven record of promoting electable and qualified candidates, securing financial support for organizations, and implementing social impact initiatives across government, private, and nonprofit sectors. Olivia is the founder of a boutique public affairs and political consulting firm and a co-founder of an early stage non-profit focused on developing women entrepreneurs in low-income communities. She is passionate about impact investments, promoting women’s entrepreneurship opportunities, and engaging women and youth in the political process.



K5II8841-EditElaine Evosevic
After working in nonprofit programming and university fundraising, Elaine took time off to be a stay-at-home-mother. She maintained active on nonprofit boards of directors and as a contractor in community development banking. She is passionate about inclusive human-centered community and economic development and fair access to education, the arts, and opportunity for all. She has a Master of Public Policy and Management degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies.



K5II8792-EditNicole Harrington-Watkins
Nicole is a mother and a wife. She has a Bachelors Of Science: concentration Education Currently and is pursuing her Masters degree at Point Park University in Healthcare Administration and Management. Nicole loves singing and reading.



Hayward, AshleyAshley Hayward
Ashley Hayward, MBA is a Pittsburgh native with roots on the Northside of town. She received her bachelors degree from Edinboro University and her MBA in International Business from Point Park University. Ashley currently works for the UPMC Health plan as a Disability Specialist. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family.



K5II8781-EditSara Innamorato
A native Pittsburgher, Sara is personally invested in playing a role in making this City a more livable place for all. She cares deeply about the issues of inclusive community development, environmental and social justice as well as local food issues. Sara is on a professional mission to help socially-driven organizations tell their stories in new, strategic ways, and a personal mission to bake the best load of sourdough bread possible.



K5II8726-EditBernandie Jean
Bernandie is a PhD candidate studying drug discovery techniques in biochemistry at Duquesne University. Though she has the opportunities to network with other scientist in her field, she finds it alarming that women and minorities are not well represented in research science. She aspires to become a leader in her field of research and hopes that her experience in WIL can help her gain the necessary skills and confidence to become an effective leader.



K5II8825-EditKimberly Maddox
Kim is a Career Sales Manager currently working in the Medicare and Medicaid space. Her professional as well as well as civic interest include advancing health care and engaging the underserved population.



K5II8759-EditRachel Martone
Rachel Martone, a native of Erie, PA, first moved to the city to attend the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, which is when she fell in love with the city. As an alumna of the 2014-2015 class of Public Allies Pittsburgh, she is committed to bettering herself and serving her community. Rachel currently works at Animal Friends, a local non-profit animal resource center, where she is fulfilling her passions for animal welfare, humane education, and pet therapy work.



K5II8804-EditMeghan McNiel
Meghan McNeil is a recent graduate of McGill University in Montreal and has joyously returned to the city she loves. She is passionate about using the arts as a means of self expression and community building. She is very excited about working with the talented and driven ladies in this program, and hopes she can use her passions to make the world a better place.



K5II8738-EditOlusore Shields
Sore (ShowRay) was born and raised in Nigeria. She has an undergraduate degree in Finance and a graduate degree in Social Work with a concentration in Human Services Management. She is interested in learning ways to blend her business skills and her desire to help people and communities.



K5II8799-EditJennifer Van Dam
Jennifer Van Dam is the Program Coordinator at AlphaLab, a startup accelerator founded by one of the country’s most active seed funds, Innovation Works. In addition to working with AlphaLab companies on growth and marketing in the thriving Pittsburgh startup environment, she also serves as VP of Marketing and Communications for ALPFA Pittsburgh, which empowers and develops Latin@ professionals as leaders. Jennifer has a passion for supporting media literacy and challenging the status quo, specifically by working with disadvantaged communities in the technology space. Prior to joining the AlphaLab/Innovation Works team, she served as a Customer Specialist at Squarespace and has also worked with various nonprofits including The New School, Third Wave Fund, and WQED.



K5II8746-EditRebecca Watters
Rebecca has trained as a molecular biologist and works at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to study breast cancer. While she enjoys researching causes and potential treatments for this disease, she prefers to have more personal interactions with patients and survivors. As a result, she has volunteered and joined the board for a local charity, Hair Peace Charities, which works to raise funds to help women receive wigs that are undergoing chemotherapy. She is also very passionate about the advancement of women in science related careers here in the region and works to promote this cause as a member of the local Pittsburgh chapter for Women In Bio.



K5II8780-EditNicole White
Nicole is the owner of Nick of Time Travel Agency and loves to travel in her spare time. Nicole has aspirations of owning her own Caribbean resort. She longs for warm weather, fresh water beaches, and relaxing to good music.


“I gained invaluable knowledge through WIL surrounding gender equity, leadership, collaboration, and civic engagement. WIL brought to light the importance of gender equity and how we, as women, cannot achieve it without working together, raising awareness and getting everyone involved, and aiding and promoting other women in their path to leadership. I also had the opportunity to learn about the amazing women in my cohort, their strength, their leadership skills, and their passion. I look forward to following their bright futures.” Christina Ascension Farmartino

“During the Women in Leadership course, I ran for the New Kensington-Arnold school board and won. It means a lot to me to be able to represent my community and fight for a better education. As a participant in the program, I have learned how to best use my leadership style to empower others. I can identify opportunities within myself and my community and I have been able to make change. I have also been able to make connections with like-minded women. Having a support system of women to encourage and uplift me has been invaluable.” Ellyse Williams

“I joined Women in Leadership to meet inspiring women in SW PA, and the women I met surpassed my expectations. The most significant way I changed during my time in WIL is that my network expanded exponentially, and I found fellowship with ambitious and successful women. WIL improved my project management skills, helped me identify my strengths, showed me how to use these strengths in my work, and taught me how to make a really great agenda (I ended up liking OARRs).”

Jessica Kaminsky “Women in Leadership is an incredible joining of learning and doing. Our cohort was challenged to employ our diverse skills and perspectives to create change for ourselves and other women in southwestern Pennsylvania. During the projects, we were able to foster growth in each other as collaborators, leaders, and change agents. I was incredibly inspired by the amazing women that I was able to meet and work with.”

Natalie Torti I have grown exponentially as a leader over the past year in Women in Leadership. At the beginning of the year I switched from the non-profit sector to the private sector by accepting a position with BNYMellon as a Corporate Social Responsibility Analyst. I have grown in my role at BNYMellon and has begun to seek more opportunity for growth and development within the company. Since joining WIL I have also grown as a food blogger, recently launching a self-hosted website.”

Samantha Hartzman I now take the leadership, communication and management skills that I learned at WIL to establish international relationships for Airviz. Through WIL’s use of OARRS, I learned how to clearly articulate values and vision in order to engage and excite people. This has been especially useful in marketing Airviz and rallying a group of air quality activists to use the Speck Sensor. I have also significantly broadened my social and professional network through our catalytic project and Coro networking events.”


The cost of participating in Women in Leadership is $1,925 per participant. Scholarships are available based on need. If you are interested in supporting Women in Leadership participants and programming, please visit our website: Support Women in Leadership


Click to see what Women in Leadership are doing




CLICK HERE  for the Women in Leadership XXI Application. Please send a copy of your Resume and Essay Requirements in PDF form to Marita Garrett – Deadline to apply is 10/10/2017.


Click Here to nominate someone to Women in Leadership today!


If you have any questions, please reach out to Marita Garrett, Facilitator and Program Manager for Women in Leadership, at or (412) 626-7169.


By sponsoring an employee’s participation in WIL (in part or in whole), your organization can benefit from the personal and professional development that they will gain from the experience. CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR


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