Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2017

We present this year's class of 40 people under the age of 40 who are making Pittsburgh a better place.



(page 6 of 10)

Jessica Strong  (37)
Co-Founder and CEO, Flexable Founder, Whetstone Workgroup


After Jessica Strong had her second child, she quit her full-time job so she could work as a freelance grant writer. She figured it would be easier to work from home while watching her kids. Wrong. “It was bananas,” she says. Strong, who earned a Master of Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, found herself working until midnight or working with clients from unusual places — in one case, she was writing emails from the zoo. Strong knew other freelancers, many of them moms who had the same issues. Two years ago, she started Whetstone Workgroup, which merges a co-working space with drop-in daycare. A year later, she teamed up with Priya Amin Strong for another take on childcare. They co-founded Flexable, which provides on-site childcare services for events, trainings, conferences, weddings and workplaces. The software they have in development also will help parents find available childcare. The two were the only all-women team selected to receive an Alpha Lab grant in 2016. “I hope to expand to doctor’s offices. How do you take a 3-year-old to an OB-GYN appointment?” she says.
 

John C. Mackie (39)
First Vice President, Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.


About seven years ago, John C. Mackie and his wife, Shana, decided they wanted to host an annual party.  They tossed around holidays — Labor Day? Halloween? But with three young kids, they worried about committing to the same date every year. Then they had an idea: “Is there a way we can meld this with something that’s meaningful for us?” So they decided to plan, fund and host an annual “Party With a Purpose” and ask their guests to support a designated charity. At their most recent party in February, they raised more than $25,000 for the Coach Dave Gray Scholarship Fund, which is administered through the Pittsburgh Foundation. There are no tickets involved, and it’s not a gala. They don’t care if it’s a $5 donation or a $1,000 donation. “Whatever you want to do, we just ask that you support it in some way,” he says.
 

Medina Jackson (39)
Director of Engagement, The P.R.I.D.E. Program 


The P.R.I.D.E. Program — Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education — falls under the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development, where Medina Jackson works to get parents and educators the resources they need to ensure children ages 3 to 8, particularly African-Americans, understand and embrace their ethnicity, race and heritage. She says it’s important for parents, caregivers and teachers to understand what a positive racial identity is and how it can be beneficial for all children, particularly children of color. In addition to providing resources to parents and teachers, the program holds popup arts festivals that showcase Africana arts so attendees can learn more about positive racial identity and a speaker series that draws local and national figures to talk about race. “We need a pride pipeline from the cradle to college,” she says.
 

Jason Jones  (35)
Community Development Relationship Manager and District Manager, Woodforest National Bank


Jason Jones never thought he would grow up to be banker. As a teenager, he had plans to pursue a teaching career, but when it came to numbers, he was ambivalent at best. As the community development relationship manager at Woodforest National Bank, the 35-year-old is a banker whose teaching makes a real-world impact in underserved communities. Working in low- to moderate-income communities, Jones teaches financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills to high school students and adults. Jones, who earned a master’s degree in leadership at Mountain State University, supports nonprofit organizations that make deep impacts in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in a five-state area. In financial wellness classes, he teaches high school students and adults how to balance a checkbook, create budgets and manage debt. Jones helped to develop a Business Leadership Academy that teaches entrepreneurs the fundamental skills they need to succeed, such as raising capital, team-building and the rules of profit and loss. The graduates pitch their ideas to funders, à la “Shark Tank.” “If you don’t know the rules, you can’t win the game,” he says.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialities, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG paints arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

PM on KD: Family City Guide 2018

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our Family City Guide for 2018-2019.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Comments

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Comments

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments


National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

Comments

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

Comments

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Comments

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Comments

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments