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

Watch This

40 Under 40: 2016

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

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.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Inside a Pittsburgh Home That Takes You All Around the World

Inside a Pittsburgh Home That Takes You All Around the World

A service-oriented couple has transformed a home on the South Side into a dream abode showcasing their personalities — and their worldwide travels.
Kaufmann's Second Chance: a Pittsburgh Icon Goes High Tech

Kaufmann's Second Chance: a Pittsburgh Icon Goes High Tech

The former Downtown department store gets a high-tech makeover as it transforms into 311 luxury apartments as well as a hotel and retail space.
Edit Module

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: A New Penguin Has Arrived in Pittsburgh

Watch: A New Penguin Has Arrived in Pittsburgh

Check out some high-resolution penguin snuggling.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
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


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Wedding Photographers Share Their Best Wintery Photo Shoots

Wedding Photographers Share Their Best Wintery Photo Shoots

We asked local wedding photographers to share their favorite engagement and wedding photographs from the most wonderful time of the year.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Show House: Junior League Unveils Historic Wilkinsburg Manse

Show House: Junior League Unveils Historic Wilkinsburg Manse

The nonprofit currently is seeking interior designers to decorate the 112-year-old mansion’s 28 rooms before tours take place in May.

Comments