Akwasi Opoku-Dakwa, Assistant Professor of Management at Duquesne University

Akwasi Opoku-Dakwa is an assistant professor of management at Duquesne University. His teaching areas include business ethics, human resources and organizational behavior, and his research focuses on corporate responsibility (what is it?) and its effects on employees’ experience of work.

Akwasi hails from Ghana, completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University, Rhode Island, MBA at IMD, Switzerland, and PhD at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Prior to entering academia, he spent 6 years as an information technology consultant in New York City, and 5 years working as a brand manager with Procter & Gamble in South Africa.

Akwasi enjoys cycling to work, running in Schenley park, activities that tire out his kids and, occasionally, doing absolutely nothing (IT ROCKS!!)

Alice Xue, Product Manager at PNC Financial Services

Alice Xue is an avid reader and cross-stitch enthusiast moonlighting as a Product Manager at PNC, where she launches digital experiences through fintech collaborations. At Assemble, Alice is a second year board member and works to make meaning from data as co-chair of the Information Management committee.

Alice first developed a passion for creating opportunity through education while earning her BA in Public Policy and International Studies from the University of Chicago (‘AB 2013). Professionally, she has dabbled in several industries (non-profit, ecommerce, and financial services) with the focus of creating products and services that resonate with consumers. On the weekends, Alice enjoys cooking with her boyfriend Tom, playing tug with her dog Buckets, and general nerdery.  In the fall, she will be starting her MBA at University of Texas at Austin.

Andrea Barber, Owner/Entrepreneur, INNERgy Vending (Formerly, My Three Sons Vending)

Andrea Barber, owner of INNERgy Vending, started a vending machine company to offer nutritious options in communities that lack access to healthy foods. Her growing vending machine company grew from one gumball machine to six full-scale, digital vending machines. As a community and marketing expert, Andrea strategically works to place vending machines in various food-insecure neighborhoods of Greater Pittsburgh.

Andrea Barber is also affiliated with East Liberty Family Support, where she is also the President. In this capacity, she presides at all meetings and works with parent council affairs in planning agendas, meetings etc. In addition, she is also the Parent Chair of the Allegheny County Family Support Policy Board. She contributes to the decision-making process on family support initiatives for 26 family support centers and 11 lead agencies.

As a parent, Andrea is fully committed to helping other children succeed through the use of the arts and creative avenues. Thus, serving on the Assemble board enables her to have more of an impact on making a difference in children’s lives.

Andrea is a 2018 graduate of Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership fellowship. She is fulfilling her entrepreneurial dreams of creating healthier communities and providing a better future for her three sons.  

Brittany Miller, Product Manager at UPMC Enterprises

Brittany joined the Board in 2018 as a recent Pittsburgh transplant in search of a meaningful way to get involved in the community. Before moving to Pittsburgh, she worked in clinical research focused on the Schizophrenia population in her hometown of Los Angeles. She feels strongly that her purpose is at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and social impact. Having recently earned her Master’s in Healthcare Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Brittany currently works as a Product Manager for UPMC Enterprises. There, she enjoys digging into creative solutions to some of the messiest, most complex problems facing our healthcare system. Other notable interests include third Thursdays at CMOA, loving on her 1 year old pup, and tacos, always tacos.

Brad Taylor, Manager at PwC

Brad works for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the assurance practice, with a focus on privately held companies. Brad has over 7 years of public accounting experience and has served multinational clients in numerous industries, including consumer and industrial products, entertainment and media, sports, retail and consumer, and private equity. Brad holds a B.S. in Business from Miami University and is a Certified Public Accountant in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as well as a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Brad has a passion for youth education and enjoys teaching financial literacy courses to students on topics such as saving and investing, career exploration and planning and money management.

Brad and his wife, Maura (a Pittsburgh native), recently relocated to Wexford from New York City and are expecting their first child in April 2019.

Brett Fulesday, Treasurer | Senior Manager at Cohen & Company

Brett Fulesday, a Senior Manager with Cohen & Company, has more than 15 years of experience in providing valuation and litigation-support services for public and privately-held, early-stage and mature, companies.

Driven by a desire to continue to learn, Brett pours his energy and effort into the areas of arts, education, entrepreneurship and emerging technology.  He serves as the Treasurer for the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs Forum as well as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Product Development Management Association.  He also serves as a board member and partner/coach for Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh. He sits on the Advisory Committee for the Arts Education Collaborative as well as serves on the board for both Pace School and The Early Learning Institute (teli).

No matter the type of service or project, a story must always be told.  Whether in writing or in person, he thrives on turning complex processes or procedures into an easy-to-understand story.

Ceda Verbakel, Designer & Facilitator and Master’s Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University

Ceda is an Australian designer and facilitator currently completing her Master’s degree in Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Before moving to Pittsburgh she ran a technology education space and festival as part of the Maker community in Toronto. Prior career highlights include co-facilitating a futures workshop for the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Alaska, teaching sex ed to kids (and their parents!) at schools across Melbourne, and entertaining 5 year old birthday parties in an obnoxious frilly pink costume her mum made custom. Camping, dancing and cups of tea are her holy trinity.

Chris Belasco, Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Project Manager for the City of Pittsburgh

Chris Belasco is a Project Manager at the City of Pittsburgh in the Department of Innovation and Performance, where he manages the implementation of large technology projects to improve City operations.

An Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Chris teaches courses in Program Evaluation and Quantitative Methods; he previously taught courses on Contracting, and undergraduate Political Science courses on Global Studies and Political Development and an introductory social research methods course at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg Campus.

From 2012-8 he served as managing director at the University of Pittsburgh for federally sponsored democracy and governance evaluation, research, and capacity building activities and evaluation of university outreach efforts. During this time, he managed the largest impact evaluation on countering violent extremism programming to date; a training program on monitoring and evaluation for 8 partner nongovernmental organizations in 7 countries in West Africa that resulted in the launch of three training programs in the region; and an evaluation of the effects of all USAID Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) programming on democratic outcomes from 1990-2016 for the USAID DRG Learning Center.

Chris received his PhD in Public and International Affairs, Master of Public and International Affairs, BS in Information Science, and BA in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. During his spare time, he likes to cook, travel, cycle, and visit museums with his two daughters. An 18-year resident of Bloomfield, he can often be found working to restore his old house.

Kathryn Heffernan, Associate Program Manager at UPMC Enterprises

Kathryn Heffernan is an Associate Product Manager at UPMC Enterprises, UPMC’s innovation and commercialization arm. In her role, she helps build companies by partnering with existing healthcare technology companies to accelerate their growth or by developing new products. Prior to joining UPMC, Kathryn served in a change management role with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she supported the design and implementation of new system wide performance management technologies, and in communications and development roles at local nonprofits. Kathryn serves on the boards of Assemble and Casita Copan, as well as on the planning committee for Art All Night.

Kathryn holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, a MSPPM from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College.

Marian Opoku-Dakwa, Independent Intercultural Consultant and Master’s Candidate at Duquesne University

Marian is an independent Intercultural Consultant who conducts workshops and research for organizations working with international associates. She teaches intercultural awareness, effective intercultural communication and skill building for families moving abroad and for people who will be doing business  internationally. She also facilitates cross-cultural discussions between employees of newly merged companies from multiple cultural backgrounds, in order to jump-start the creation of a new company culture.

Marian is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and hopes to teach children (and their families) to appreciate diversity and to communicate effectively with teachers, peers and school officials from different backgrounds.  She holds a Master in International Affairs from Columbia University (New York, NY) and a double Bachelor’s degree in Economics and French Studies from Smith College (Northampton, MA).

Matthew Barrett, Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Consultant at PNC Financial Services

Matthew is a robotics and artificial intelligence consultant at PNC Financial Services primarily working with business leaders to identify and develop solutions related to problems which he solves through a variety of AI tools. His work experience includes various roles as a consultant and entrepreneur throughout the non-profit, manufacturing, and financial services industries. Previous positions include being a strategy consultant for a variety of businesses from large financial corporations to small manufacturing companies. Additionally, Matthew has held numerous positions in for-profit and non-profit businesses managing the financials and budgeting for an organization to enable them to achieve their goals. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Operations & Supply Chain Management in addition to a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS).

Matthew is excited to be part of an organization which has seen incredible growth over the last 8 years and looks forward to ensuring Assemble’s lasting impact within the Pittsburgh community. Outside of work, Matthew enjoys running with his wife, playing hurling, and travelling.

Meredith Calfe, Partner at Babst Calland

Meredith has served on the board of Assemble since 2016. In her daily life, Meredith practices law in the Energy and Natural Resources group at Babst Calland. She is a member and past Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association Arts & the Law Committee and has worked with numerous arts and business development organizations in Pittsburgh’s east end. Meredith resides in Squirrel Hill. In her free time, she enjoys reading, adventure traveling, hoarding house plants, and spending time with her family and chihuahua, Moose.

Michel Conklin, Board President | Executive Director at BotsIQ

Michel Conklin is currently serving her third year as a Board Member for Assemble.  A background in education, Michel has twelve years of middle school science teaching experience and three years in workforce development. Currently, Michel is the Executive Director of BotsIQ, a high school manufacturing workforce development program disguised as a robotics competition.  

Michel is excited to share her love of all things STEM as a Board Member with Assemble.  She enjoys planning fundraising events for Assemble and providing support wherever she can.  

Michel graduated from Duquesne University with her Bachelors in Athletic Training and her Masters in Secondary Education.  She lives in Wexford with her husband, Mark, two sons, Drew and Emerson, and two dogs, Duq and Delaney. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and watching and playing sports.

Rachael Afolabi Royes, Executive Director and Digital Learning and Workforce Development at Carlow University

Rachael is an instructional designer, user experience and web applications designer. Rachael’s background is in corporate education and training in health technologies, telecommunications, manufacturing, business process analysis, and learning development.

Ruthie Neely, Secretary | Director of Libraries at Sewickley Academy

Ruth Neely is the Director of Libraries at Sewickley Academy, an independent school outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is an active member in the steering committee of Western Pennsylvania School Library Association, as well as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Assemble, an organization offering free STEAM programming to underserved youth in her neighborhood. In all she does, Ruth aims to include an element of art, a DIY attitude, and an awareness of diversity and inclusion.  

Stephane Lewis, Manager of Partnerships & Quality Improvement at Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (United Way)

Stephanie Lewis is the Manager of Partnerships and Quality Improvement for Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time, an initiative of United Way of Southwestern PA. Her role is to continue to build and support a quality out-of-school time network through collaborations, professional development and partnerships.

Prior to becoming an APOST team member, Stephanie served as the Director of Educational Initiatives at The Oasis Project of Bible Center Church in Homewood, PA. In that role, she was responsible for program development, strategic planning, program evaluation, program management, and general operations. She began her work at Bible Center as a volunteer for The Maker’s Clubhouse and was integral in the formation and expansion of the STEAM-focused program for K-5th graders.

Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-med from Jackson State University in Mississippi, her home state. She also earned a master’s of science degree in biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University.  In her spare time, she enjoys playing board/card games with her family, taking long walks and creating new ideas.

Tegan Joseph Mosugu, PhD Student at the University of Pittsburgh and Communications & Public Policy Consultant

Tegan is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He has experience working in nonprofit, academic and media capacities. Prior to Pittsburgh, he worked in the philanthropic sector for Tides, Inc., and as an independent nonprofit consultant for a dozen nonprofits. In this capacity, Tegan worked in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa managing a portfolio of programs/projects. He has spearheaded a diverse portfolio ranging from public health, gender/social equality, human rights, education, etc. That said, he has worked on television programs such as: The View (Disney ABC Television), The Rachael Ray Show (CBS Television), NBC Universal, and BET Networks. As an avid communications professional, Tegan has strategically helped organizations secure successful media placements in both traditional and new media outlets.

As a scholar, Tegan is passionate about the use of evidence-based management in strengthening the delivery of health and other social services. His work primarily focuses in The Global South, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.Tegan received his B.A. from Duke University and dual master’s degree in public administration and global affairs from New York University. In addition, he also completed executive education coursework at the University of Notre Dame. During his spare time, Tegan loves to dance and travel.

Assemble, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering learning and creativity, is searching for committed and enthusiastic individuals to join their Board of Directors. Directors will provide leadership in the oversight and execution of Assemble’s Strategic Plan in a volunteer yet purposeful capacity.

Board Members are the decision makers and ambassadors of the organization. It is important that they share Assemble’s vision for arts, STEAM education, the Maker movement, and community outreach. Board candidates should be ready to help the organization grow. As a growing community arts organization, this is a working Board of Directors. Directors are required to participate on at least one Committee as they are related to the strategic plan.

Assemble’s Board Members serve a two-year term and are eligible for reappointment for additional terms. Board meetings will be held monthly (10 months) and members are required to attend at least 7 of the 10 board meetings in addition to the committee meetings. Assemble Board of Directors will consider Assemble a philanthropic priority and make annual gifts that reflect that priority. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about Assemble’s vision and mission.

To Apply

If you are interested in joining Assemble’s Board of Directors, please send a resume and email of interest to jobs@assemblepgh.org

Special consideration will be given to candidates who possess any of the following qualifications:

  •  Background in mission-driven social justice or community engagement organizations
  • Experience in fundraising and grant-writing; non-profit accounting and finance; human resources management; and/or policy development
  • Interest in participating in event planning for both fundraising and community outreach
  • Connections to Garfield/Friendship/Bloomfield community as a resident or via allied organizations

If you have questions regarding a position or commitment involved, please contact Nina Barbuto at Nina@assemblepgh.org.