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 7 of 11)


 

Margaret (Meg) Gleason   [39]
Partner, Jones Day


Meg Gleason is a multitasker.

In the space of 16 months, she married, made partner at the Jones Day law firm, helped to win one of the largest commercial verdicts in the history of Allegheny County and gave birth to her first child.

That’s not counting her pro bono work for the indigent, the law class she taught at Imani Academy in Homewood and her distance running. She once ran a sub-3-hour marathon.

A native of Louisville, Ky., she went on to be a varsity cross-country athlete in high school, college and later at Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to her work as a litigation attorney for Jones Day — she’s also been recognized by the Super Lawyers rating service — Gleason serves on the board of Sisters Place Inc., a family-service agency that helps young mothers to complete their educations and begin careers.  

My favorite Pittsburgh thing is ... The view of the city from the Fort Pitt Tunnel.
 

Kristine Irwin   [31]
Human Resources Recruitment Specialist, Pittsburgh Mercy


Almost 12 years ago, Kristine Irwin was dumped on a road by the man who sexually assaulted her on the way to a party. She refused to recede into victimhood.

Instead, she has become an advocate for rape survivors and a persistent warning on campuses about the need to confront and eradicate a scourge at once shocking and routine because of its persistence. She describes her recovery: the horror, violation and struggle to find herself by finding new identities.

She went to seven Lady Gaga concerts in 18 months, each time in costume. She founded Voices of Hope to reach out to anyone who has survived assault.

In the intervening years, she has built a professional career as a talent-acquisition specialist, married and given birth to a son. Instead of “moving on” she has moved the discussion of a terrible subject out of the shadows and into the light, the better for rape survivors to find their own paths forward.

You’d be surprised to know ... I got to meet Britney Spears at a concert. Ever since I was 10 or 11 I was a big fan. You could buy backstage passes. [I took] some savings I’d put away and decided to use that to meet her.
 

Aster Teclay   [28]
Senior Project Manager, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh


Turning public-housing complexes into communities is a daunting task, but Aster Teclay helped to redevelop the once-tough stretch known as Addison Terrace in the Hill District.

Today, with mulched flower beds, clear streets and a burst of optimism, the place is a shining example of what can be accomplished.

The daughter of Eritrean war refugees, Teclay worked her way through Pitt with a dual major in political science and business. She earned an MBA in sports, arts and entertainment management from Point Park in 2014 and currently is pursuing a master’s degree in public management from CMU.

Serving at the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, she became its primary liaison with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and analyzes legislation and crafts policies to improve housing programs, on which more than 20,000 families in the city rely for rent assistance.

You’d be surprised to know ... One of the things I did to overcome being overwhelmed by large projects is take an improv class. I was secretly freaking out, but I had a great time. A lot of people when they meet me don’t think I have that funny, goofy side until they get to know me.
 

Allison Saras   [32]
Charitable Relationship Manager, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering


When Allison Saras left Pittsburgh for Philadelphia in 2002 to attend college at Penn State University and later graduate school at Villanova University, where she also worked in the university’s development office, an item advanced to the top of the University of Pittsburgh’s to-do list: get her back here.

By 2010 she was back in the ’Burgh. A record-setting fundraiser for the schools she serves, Saras has climbed the academic ladder, from Pitt’s School of Law to its Swanson School of Engineering, where she now holds the post of director of development.

Her job is to locate donors in the $100,000 range and beyond. She tells friends she someday might like to be a college president.

Saras doesn’t limit her good deeds to work hours. She also has helped with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Sen. John Heinz History Center, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the One Young World Summit held in Pittsburgh in 2012.  

The biggest thing I ever had to overcome ... Finishing my doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh while working full-time. It was well worth it and one of my biggest accomplishments, but it was very challenging.
 

The Rev. Paul Abernathy   [37]
Director, FOCUS Pittsburgh; CEO FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center


From peacekeeper to peacemaker, the Rev. Paul Abernathy’s road led not to Tarsus but to the Hill District.
After serving in combat in Iraq from 2003-2004, he became the founder of FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Christian nonprofit organization.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Wheeling Jesuit University, a master’s degree in public and international affairs from Pitt and a Master of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary.

In his new role, Abernathy oversees the distribution of food, clothing, furniture and other emergency relief to needy Pittsburghers.

More than 2,500 Pittsburgh students from three neighborhoods have been given food and supplies, including one who was standing in line with his mother. The youngster had given away his own groceries to the families of other children. Abernathy made sure that kid was rewarded for getting the message about giving.  

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh ... Anything that tells the history of Pittsburgh. This city has such an incredible legacy, and I greatly enjoy finding inspiration from the stories of past citizens who persevered to build a city loved by so many.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Watch This

40 Under 40: 2016

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

True Grit: Homestead Mayor Betty Esper Just Won't Back Down

Homestead’s first and only woman mayor has worked tirelessly for her hometown during her 35-plus years in public office. As she faces reelection unopposed next month, the 84-year-old contemplates her role as the symbol of a gritty town fighting its way back.
Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

Photo Essay: Silence on the Cell Block

A look inside the now-empty penitentiary on the banks of the Ohio.
Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Made in Pittsburgh: 5 Great Ideas

Modern-day creation in Pittsburgh doesn’t just involve physical products; we also have a knack for hatching new ideas that can solve problems in innovative, unexpected ways. These locally based thinkers are applying big thoughts to bigger problems.
Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

Restaurant Review: Scratch Food + Beverage is King of the Hill

The Troy Hill neighborhood spot matures into a casual destination restaurant.
Daytripping: Touring The Region's Most Notorious Prison

Daytripping: Touring The Region's Most Notorious Prison

Plan an overnight escape to the eerie edifice of Moundsville’s West Virginia Penitentiary.
Zumba in the Pool Erases Poor Attitude, Gluttony and Vanity

Zumba in the Pool Erases Poor Attitude, Gluttony and Vanity

Water Zumba promises to add a splash of variety to your normal workout routine.
Edit Module

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Scarehouse Visit is One These Steelers Won't Forget

Watch: Scarehouse Visit is One These Steelers Won't Forget

Bud Dupree, L.T. Walton, Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier were among those on the Halloween adventure to the renowned haunted house in Etna.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Parts & Service Adds Pizza To Superior Motors

Parts & Service Adds Pizza To Superior Motors

Executive Chef Kevin Sousa and Pastry Chef Kate Carney are cooking sourdough pizza in an outdoor brick oven.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Underrated Fountains in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Underrated Fountains in Pittsburgh

While we all know and love the grandeur of the fountain at Point State Park, there are many hidden fountain gems throughout the city. These are a few of our lesser-known favorites.

Comments


Madness and Mayhem in the ScareHouse Basement

Madness and Mayhem in the ScareHouse Basement

Visiting the world-famous haunted attraction's adults-only, subterranean experience.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers' Latest Soap Opera is Timely If Not Manufactured

Steelers' Latest Soap Opera is Timely If Not Manufactured

All of a sudden the Steelers have that us-against-the-world mentality many a team has sought to manufacture in tough times such as these.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Celebrate the Life and Work of George Romero This Week

Celebrate the Life and Work of George Romero This Week

A preview of the week-long tribute to the late filmmaker, plus reviews and more movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Pick of the Patch: Pumpkin-Themed Proposals

The Pick of the Patch: Pumpkin-Themed Proposals

In honor of fall, we’re showcasing three couples whose proposals involved one of the best things about the season: pumpkins.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Holiday How-To: Upgrade Your Fall Decor with Advice from Local Experts

Holiday How-To: Upgrade Your Fall Decor with Advice from Local Experts

Interior designers share their tips on creating easy, elegant décor that will take you from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments