Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

40 Under 40: 2016

Meet our 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under 40 who are changing our region – and the world – for the better.



(page 5 of 11)


 

Betty Cruz   [38]
Owner, Change Agency


A first-generation Cuban-American, Betty Cruz has a habit of being present at the creation of impactful changes. Working with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit group “dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids,” she helped to create 60 playgrounds.

When Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto walked down the middle of a city street enroute to his swearing-in, Cruz was among the top aides who walked with him into the city’s new era.

While a deputy chief of staff for special initiatives, Cruz has worked to cultivate an immigrant-friendly city, launched programs to increase food access in stranded neighborhoods, campaigned to enroll the city’s young in health care programs and worked to increase opportunities to veterans by working with the private and public sectors.  

The biggest thing I ever had to overcome ... Immigrant kids often are navigating many firsts in our family, beyond being the first born in the U.S. You carry the weight of migration ­— the fear and hope that made your parents leave everything behind. And you never quite feel like you fully belong in either place. However, there’s a beauty to that, and I feel deep pride for the cultures that have shaped me.
 

Lisa Boyette   [35]
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Curable


Lisa Boyette isn’t out to “find” a cure for the disease that threatens her brother. Cures are created. It’s 100 percent engineering and zero percent magic.

Jon Boyette has primary sclerosing cholangitis, a disease of the bile ducts that ultimately destroys the liver. A transplant might help, but an outright cure would work wonders.

PSC isn’t a well-known disease, and it’s not at the top of the list when it comes to causes that people fund. So Lisa, who earned MD and Ph.D. degrees from Pitt, founded Save Jon two years ago. It operates on what’s called an “iterative model,” which means trial, error, learning, patience and proving. It exists not only as a search for a cure to a disease but also as a cure for the delays and false starts that plague so many causes.

Her supporters say Save Jon’s approach can become an organizational blueprint that will work in the fight against other complex diseases affecting underserved patient populations.  

You’d be surprised to know ... I worked in Colonial Williamsburg one summer as a tavern wench — petticoats and a cap and the whole getup.
 

Terrell Thomas   [32]
Executive Director, Isaiah Project


Fifteen years ago, 16-year-old Terrell Thomas carried the body of his brother, Charles Daniels, from the scene of a shooting in Beltzhoover, yet another episode in a summer of violence amid an undercurrent of drugs, poverty and desperation. It marked the start of a mission.

Thomas earned a degree in sociology and political science at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; he now is advancing toward a master’s degree at Point Park University.

He’s been the youth director for Voices Against Violence, a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh’s South Side. He chairs the Pittsburgh Leadership Council, serves as a member of the Minority Emergency Preparedness Task Force and has helped to lead the revitalization of the Pittsburgh Hilltop abandoned homes and to reclaim abandoned lots in the city.

He serves as CEO of My Brother’s Keeper, a transitional-living facility on the North Side, and is program coordinator for The South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace, helping to resolve gang disputes, teach violence prevention and end the pattern of destruction.  

You’d be surprised to know ... I consider myself a fitness guru, and I love working out to ’80s pop music.
 

Pete Spynda   [37]
Project and Event Manager; DJ


There’s no way to comprehend Pete Spynda without coming to terms with the fact that he has turned “Pandemic” into a fun word. To date, he has organized hundreds of events to promote alternative music and traditional fun. His more recent undertaking is Weather Permitting — a live-music outdoor event geared toward both parents and their children.

As a nominator’s explanation put it: “Most families have two working parents, so when parents would like to go out, it means the added expense of a babysitter and more time away from the kids.

Enter Weather Permitting, a summer picnic open to everyone where parents can attend with their children, who can play games or listen to live … music while parents hang out, picnic or visit food trucks.”

His musical tastes are as eclectic as the city in which he works. Spynda’s has produced events for Balkan brass bands, a nod to the city’s eastern European heritage, as well as hip-hop and Cumbia, which look toward the city’s evolving music scene.

The best thing that ever happened to me ... It’s a tie between winning the Spirit Wiffle ball home run derby and losing my “real” full-time job so I could become a professional hustler.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Watch This

40 Under 40: 2016

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.
Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.
Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.
How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.
The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

Skeet shooting is taking off as a favored western Pennsylvania hobby.
Top 10 Things to Do in January in Pittsburgh

Top 10 Things to Do in January in Pittsburgh

This month's best bets in the 'Burgh.
2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Edit Module

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags


Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Comments

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

Comments

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Comments

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


The Battle of The Hollywood

The Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Comments

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Comments

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

Comments

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

Comments