Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2018
For two decades, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP have presented the annual 40 Under 40 list. And every year, 40 people who have been alive for less than four decades are chosen because of their career accomplishments, dogged volunteer work and commitment to the Pittsburgh region. This year is no different. Read on to learn more about some of our very best neighbors.
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Lisa M. Abel-Palmieri (39)
Head of School and Chief Learning Officer, Nazareth Prep
Lisa M. Abel-Palmieri had a few career pit stops before finding her passion project. Through jobs in education, public relations and even retail, teaching was always at the core of her work. After realizing she wanted to become a more formal educator — specifically, working to engage girls in computer science and STEM fields — she earned a Ph.D. in instructional management and leadership from Robert Morris University.
Now, she’s the head of Nazareth Prep, a nonprofit private school in Emsworth that subsidizes tuition and puts every student in an internship program, partnering with more than 100 organizations in the region to give students real-world experience. In its first graduating class this year, 100 percent of students received their diploma.
“I really like the idea of being the founding executive director at this school that is focused on bridging the education and skills gap in STEM careers,” Abel-Palmieri says.
Lena Andrews (39)
Senior Development Officer, ACTION-Housing, Inc.
Point Breeze native Lena Andrews left her hometown for a few years during college, but returned to earn a master’s degree in public policy management from Carnegie Mellon University. “I went into this work to help make Pittsburgh the city that I want it to be — a place that has housing for everyone and that cares about its most vulnerable residents,” she says about her role as an affordable housing developer.
“We show that affordable housing can also be beautiful and sustainable.” Her commitment to beauty and sustainability doesn’t stop there: Andrews founded the East Liberty Trash Warriors, a group that cleans up litter, plants trees and throws an annual block party in her neighborhood. She also helped organize Pittsburgh’s first Garbage Olympics in 2017, in which five neighborhoods held competing trash clean-ups.
The 2018 event hit 20 neighborhoods, removing 640 bags of trash. “It can be easier to get involved on the local level, where you can see the tangible change that you’re making,” she says.
Liddy Barlow (38)
Executive Minister, Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania
In Liddy Barlow’s role as a minister, she combines many of the things she loves to do — “writing, asking big questions, striving to understand people, working to build a better world and planning programs and events.”
But it wasn’t merely a practical career choice. “Ministry also feels right in a larger sense; the Christian writer Frederick Buechner wrote that each person is called to serve in ‘the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,’” Barlow says.
“For me, there’s no question but that that place is the church.” Barlow says her community involvement, including roles on boards and on Pittsburgh’s Commission on Human Relations, involves “many, many meetings,” and that she aims to “build connections between people and organizations that wouldn’t otherwise know about one another. ... These connections help all the different sectors of the region work more powerfully together to serve people in need and build understanding, reconciliation and real friendship.”
Marita Bradley (32)
Chief of Staff, Office of Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, Pitsburgh City Council
Residents of Pittsburgh City Council’s District 9 have Marita Bradley on their side as chief of staff. In her role with City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, Bradley coordinates economic development initiatives and writes and researches public policy to benefit residents of the district’s neighborhoods, including East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Friendship and Garfield.
“My belief that people are products of their communities has inspired me to advocate for better quality of life for low- and moderate-income people and communities,” she says. “That means bringing more affordable housing options and facilitating economic development projects that benefit and protect the residents within the community.”
Furthermore, Bradley serves as chair of the board of directors for the Urban Academy Charter School, a K-5 school in Larimer. “I believe that students should have access to quality education regardless of their income status,” Bradley says.