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.
(page 7 of 10)
Amie Biswas Matson (34)
Director of Family and Youth Engagement, A+ Schools
Amie Biswas Matson has spent her career making sure others’ voices are heard. After moving to California for an AmeriCorps program and to attend college, Matson boomeranged back to her hometown and earned a master’s in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
“My work has primarily focused on school readiness and school-aged activities and engagement for the entire family,” she says. Matson now oversees two programs at A+ Schools, the nonprofit community advocate for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, that help family members and teens with leadership development, advocacy skills and navigating the public education system. “I am passionate about making sure families and students [have a say] in decision- and policy-making that ultimately impacts their experience directly,” she says.
“This work is important because the educational experience of students can impact so many other aspects of our society, and we need to create change with the families who are a part of the system.”
Brianne Mitchell (37)
CEO, Della and Lila Book Series; Executive Business Consultant & Media Strategist
Sometimes, the motivation you need comes in unexpected (and small) packages. That was the case for Brianne Mitchell, who says she always identified as a writer — but not an author — and creative — but not an artist. But one night, her now-10-year-old daughter, Della, told her a story.
Mitchell grabbed her laptop and typed up what would become “Della and Lila Meet the Monongahela Mermaid,” and the Della and Lila Book Series was born. Now, Mitchell sees herself as both a writer and an artist. She writes books with Della and her younger daughter, Lila, 7, and donates the proceeds to a different nonprofit each quarter.
In addition to teaching children to be good citizens through community service and caring for themselves and others, “we want to inspire other children to be creative and let them know that their voices matter,” Mitchell says. “Children’s creative voices are so important.”
Kyshira S. Moffett (28)
Founder & Brand Strategist, The KSM Group; Founder, Life of a Bombshell Cosmetics
Helping other entrepreneurs refine their hustle is Kyshira S. Moffett’s hustle. “I help women entrepreneurs package their expertise, brand their brilliance and monetize their online presence,” she says.
In addition, Moffett serves on the local chapter of the National Black MBA Association, which provides career opportunities and professional development to local professionals of color, and hosts an annual event for women entrepreneurs called the Hustle Her Way Summit. In April 2017, she used her expertise to launch Life of a Bombshell Cosmetics, “a passion project [that] has grown to be so much more.”
Moffett says she “was inspired by my own love of makeup and my clients. I wanted to create products that inspired them daily as they were building their businesses.”
Jamie Erin Murphy (33)
Full-Time School Faculty & Teaching Artist, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; Independent Dance Artist & Collaborator, Shana Simmons Dance
Jamie Erin Murphy always wanted dance to be a part of her life. “Performing and choreography have always been my passion, but my love for teaching was an unexpected surprise,” she says. Murphy teaches adaptive dance classes for children with sensory needs and classes for seniors with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“My drive to teach accessibility classes comes from watching my mom teach children with special needs ... and thinking about how the arts can be healing and therapeutic,” she says, adding that her mission is to “make dance accessible for all bodies.” Murphy moved to Pittsburgh in 2003 to get a bachelor’s in dance from Point Park University and stayed because she loved the city — and dancing here.
“Through my work at PBT and as an artist, I am able to share my passion while educating others to find compassion and understanding to others’ lives,” she says.