Amanda Lee Glassware
Amanda Lee is the owner of Amanda Lee Glassware. She is also an entirely self-taught artist. Having never taken art classes, the excitement of learning new ways to paint sparked her creativity. She then studied painting at the Bratislava Fine Arts Academy in Slovakia.
With her fine art background, she is now creating stunning designs for wine glasses. It's Amanda's combination of paint and her eye for design that makes Amanda Lee Glassware so unique.
Amy Philips-Haller (A.P. Haller)
Amy Philips-Haller is a seasoned-producer and journalist who has worked in print, radio and television. She has managed talent acquisition for the new Passages & Prose, LLC, audiobooks division - auditioning and hiring voiceover talent. She contributes to the audiobook project doing voiceovers as A.P. Haller. Amy also serves as an advisory board member.
Andrew Conte serves as founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University. He writes the Pittsburgh Public Editor column at NEXTpittsburgh. Previously, he worked as an investigative journalist, and he has authored several nonfiction books.
Most recently, Andrew worked as an investigative reporter at the Tribune-Review, where he won numerous national, state and local awards. The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists and the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania each has recognized Andrew with its top award four times. The Scripps Howard Foundation honored Andrew with the William Brewster Styles Award for outstanding national business and economics reporting.
Andrew's book, The Color of Sundays, explores the role of race in the National Football League and examines how the Pittsburgh Steelers identified undervalued players at historically black colleges and universities. The Independent Book Publishers Association recognized the book with a Silver Benjamin Franklin Award. Prior to that, Andrew authored Broadway, a bestseller about how the Penguins hockey team built a championship franchise and a new arena. He also has written All About Roberto Clemente, a children's book about the Pirates outfielder and Puerto Rican native.
Andrew holds degrees from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Dickinson College. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Community Engagement at Point Park University.
Anne Flynn Schlicht
Anne Flynn Schlicht joined the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) in September 2006. Anne received her Masters of Business Studies in Entrepreneurship from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a Best Practice in Teaching Entrepreneurship Certificate from the University of Cambridge, UK. Anne brings a wealth of international experience as a professor of entrepreneurship at the Center for Entrepreneurship Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland, a certified Kauffman FastTrac Facilitator and as a business consultant, Anne has presented at seminars and conferences internationally on the topic of entrepreneurship education and women entrepreneurs. In January 2005, Anne was chosen as the second "Rooney International Visiting Scholar" which facilitated her move to the US. In April, 2016, Chatham University was awarded a Women Business Center (WBC) by the SBA and Anne was appointed as Director to lead the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) in 2020.
Anne is a supporter of the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, the Irish Institute of Pittsburgh, and current board member and past treasurer for the Irish Center of Pittsburgh. She also serves as an advisory board member.
Bridget Gaussa is the Director of Program Development for Cribs for Kids, a national non-profit infant safe sleep education program headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She oversees all programs and marketing efforts for the organization. Previously, Bridget worked in commercial real estate with Oxford Development Company and has over 15 years of property management experience. She also serves as an advisory board member.
Cally Jamis Vennare
As a results-oriented communications and marketing professional, Cally Jamis Vennare has impacted businesses of all sizes and industries, both nationally and internationally. For more than three decades, her work has successfully influenced publicly traded corporations, performing arts organizations, health & human services agencies, higher education institutions, early stage growth companies, and entrepreneurs in music, art, and publishing.
Prior to and since launching CJV Communications in 2000, Cally served as Senior Director of Marketing & Communications for Brevard Music Center Summer Institute & Festival, Manager of Corporate Communications for FedEx Ground, Director of Institutional Giving and Director of Public Relations for Pittsburgh Opera, Vice President of Communications for VueCom and Cost Containment Corporation, and Director of College Communications for Chatham University.
Center for Media Innovation (CMI)
Point Park University's state-of-the-art Center for Media Innovation -- an integrated 4,000 square-foot style media facility -- provides hands-on experience and networking opportunities for students, as well as, serving as a hub for local media in the downtown Pittsburgh community.
Chris Sichi is a photographer and editor for KDKA-TV. He holds a degree in telecommunications from Penn State University, and has worked for WHVL-TV and the State College Spikes as a producer. His passion lies in digital media, particularly the way the internet and data-driven technologies shape the media landscape. Outside of work, he enjoys obscure music, tabletop games, and his cat Jace. Chris also is a freelance multi-media professional that works alongside authors and artists to bring their creative visions to life.
Cribs For Kids
Cribs For Kids is a non-profit organization based in Hazelwood, Pennsylvania which provides safe sleep education and free cribs to families who qualify. Founder and executive director Judy Bannon is a collaborator and fellow author of Five Ladies and A Forklift. Cribs For Kids is an on-going sponsor of Passages & Prose literary events.
Cynthia Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell is Lillie Leonardi’s literary agent and provides many authors with guidance and professional services to help them publish and promote their books.
Diane Scabilloni is an experienced mortgage lender licensed in Pennsylvania. She has a Masters Degree in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University. With over 18 years of experience, Diane is able to provide guidance and insight in various facets of the mortgage industry. She is also an advisory board member.
Dr. Josie Van Londen
Dr. Josie Van Londen is a cancer provider/medical oncologist and a cancer survivor. Born and raised in The Netherlands, she migrated to the USA where she completed a medical residency, as well as fellowship and board certification in medical oncology and geriatric medicine. She has practiced medicine in the USA (for nearly 20 years at a large health care system in Pittsburgh, PA) and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor.
Her background has prepared her to handle diverse and complicated cases. She specializes in treatment of newly diagnosed, older adult, vulnerable/frail breast cancer patients. And medical management of cancer survivors (of any gender and tumor type) to prevent/support their late/long-term post-treatment emotional, physical, and functional needs.
Emily VanderMey is a junior at Point Park University studying graphic design and information technology. She works part-time as a designer at Flying Scooter Productions, is graphic design coordinator of her university's campus activities board, and runs a growing freelance operation. Emily began working with Passages & Prose, LLC in the spring of 2019 and has since been involved in developing their visual identity. When she's not designing, looking at other people's design, or thinking about design, you can find her playing the piano, painting abstract portraits, or listening to an audiobook.
Gina Masciola is the Manager of WQED Education Projects. She began her career as a classroom teacher and early learning consultant for Head Start. Gina served with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for 15 years, as an early learning consultant, Gina worked closely with parents and childcare providers. Her classroom experience has been diverse taking her from early intervention classrooms to high school child development programs. Gina holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and has done post-graduate study in Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention at The University of Pittsburgh. She holds a PA instructional certificate in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten education. Since joining the education team five years ago, Gina has managed several projects including the WQED Writers Contest, Inquire Within, IQ Smartparent, IQ Kids Radio, Musical Kids and WQED SmartSchools. She also serves as an advisory board member.
Gina Pferdehirt is a skilled marketing communications strategist with an extensive background in all facets of public relations including: media and community relations, charitable giving and sponsorships, and as an organizational spokesperson. Her experience is primarily in health care, government, and non-profit organizations and her passion is helping the community. When Gina isn't working or volunteering, this foodie is reading cookbooks and cooking, gardening, reading, running or playing tennis, or trying to improve her golf game. A native Pittsburgher, she is a graduate of Duquesne University. She also serves as an advisory board member.
Hay House, Inc.
Jennifer (Jennie) Bannon
Jennifer (Jennie) Bannon has been teaching English and language arts for over a decade and is in her eighth year as a middle-school teacher at the Environmental Charter School. She is co-author, with her mother Judy Bannon, of the book Five Ladies and A Forklift, a memoir of Judy's role in launching the infant safe-sleep movement. In addition to editing her students' papers, she has been working with Passage & Prose as a book editor since 2017. She is a 2012 fellow of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, an organization dedicated to the idea that "the best teachers of writing are teachers who write". Jennifer also serves as an advisory board member.
Joyce Wilk is an independently-published author of eleven books. She pens (under J.D. Wylde) in the sweet and sexy romance genre. Working as a confidential administrative assistant for an international software development corporation, Joyce brings 40-plus years of management expertise to the Passages & Prose, LLC, and serves as its operations manager, and advisory board member.
Madhu Bazaz Wangu
Madhu Bazaz Wangu, is founder of the Mindful Writers Group and has published books on Buddhism and Hinduism. She is a multi-award winning fiction author, and is currently penning her latest book: Unclog Your Creative Flow, Enrich your Daily Life. Her CDs, "Meditations for Mindful Writers" are available to assist artists on their creative journey. Madhu is also a member of the advisory board.
Operation Safety Net
Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net is an innovative, award-winning medical and social service outreach program serving persons who are experiencing homelessness in the greater Pittsburgh area. Operation Safety Net reaches out, offering services that help people, empowering them to improve their quality of life. The organization strives to address the circumstances that undermine mental and physical well-being.
Patricia Primi is a general manager for Barnes and Noble, Inc. She has over thirteen years experience with a demonstrated history of employment in the retail industry. She is passionate about her work and focuses on the areas of training and development, customer engagement, sales and management. Patti also serves and an advisory board member.
Tara Jo Pomatto-Morascyzk
Tara Jo Pomatto-Morascyzk is founder of Tranquility by TJ. She began her career as a social worker at the Alle-Kiski HOPE Center. The Center is an organization of social change with a mission to safely eliminate domestic violence through prevention and intervention programs. During her tenure at HOPE, Tara Jo served with the Adopt-A-School initiative, as a community and school liaison. She worked closely with area school districts to develop and present programs that addressed healthy relationships and safe dating practices.
Tara Jo has continued her mission to educate and support youth as a school counselor. For 15 years, she has served with the Riverview School District to assist and guide students. Her current focus is to support youth and build strong community service projects through collaborative endeavors.
Tara Jo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Westminster College and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University. She is also a member of the advisory board.
WQED's educational programs for children offer free and effective education tools that can make dramatic differences in how children perform and achieve. Through television programs, multimedia toolkits, literary initiatives, and community collaborations, WQED programs ensure that "anytime" is learning time.