After first introducing its Legacy Award at last year’s 50 Men of Excellence awards ceremony, the New Pittsburgh Courier has also added this honor to their list of 50 Women of Excellence. This year’s inaugural honoree is Patricia Prattis Jennings, a retired principal key­boardist for the Pittsburgh Sym­­phony and daughter of the late Pittsburgh Courier Executive Editor P.L. Prattis.


“I think it’s singularly appropriate that she should be recognized by the New Pittsburgh Courier given her father’s leadership role in the historical Pittsburgh Courier,” said Marva Harris, retired PNC senior vice president. “She is a highly accomplished woman and an extraordinary professional. She’s blazed new trails for women and for us as African-Americans.”

Jennings was the first African-American woman to be awarded a full contract by a major American symphony orchestra in 1966. She served as the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra’s principal keyboardist until her retirement in 2006.

The Legacy Award is reserved for individuals who have reached achievements above and beyond others over the years.

The awards luncheon will be held at the Westin Convention Center Hotel Aug. 11 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The 2011 list of honorees includes a variety of women who each contributes to the fabric of the Pittsburgh community.

“It’s an extraordinary list of women. We think it’s a terrific honor and well deserved for someone who has had a wonderful impact on the community and our clients,” said Elaine Signa, spokesperson for BNY Mellon, referring to honoree Maria Anderson, corporate affairs senior specialist for BNY Mellon. “For us it shows the caliber of talent in our region and for any business that has a significant presence that’s exactly what you look for, a high caliber of talent.”

“Lisa’s a perfect example of the criteria the Courier had for the list. Her professional and personal career is the epitome of what they’re looking for,” said Joe Valerian, Duquesne Light spokesperson, referring to Lisa Minor, senior community relations specialist, Duquesne Light. The company will also be serving as one of the event’s sponsors.

“We’re doing that to honor one of our employees who was selected as one the 50 Women of Excellence,” Valerian said. “I think it says a lot about the way the company hires excellent people. They give a lot back to the community.”


Ativa Abdelmalik-Johnson, RN, BSN—Manager of Health Promotion, Highmark; Renee Aldrich—Community Involvement; Maria D. Anderson—Corporate Affairs Senior Specialist, BNY Mellon; Hon. Cynthia Baldwin—Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice; General Counsel, Penn State University; Robin Beckham—Owner, Beckham Media; Cynthia Bradley-King-Field, PhD—Assistant Professor, Academic Coordinator, Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work; Tammy Miles Brown, Ph.D.—Director of Strategic Initiatives, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Carlotta Burgess—Consultant, Great Lakes Behavioral Research Institute; Karla Threadgill Byrd—Executive Director, Center for Urban Biblical Ministry; Paula Castleberry—Minority Women’s Business Coordinator, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Valire Copeland, Ph.D.—Director of the Ph.D. Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work; Magali Curiel —Senior Marketing Specialist, Thar Instruments, Inc.; Sharon Daniels—President, The Isaiah Project; Karen Eady-Lockett—Principal, Eady Associates, LLC; Gladys Edmunds—President , Gladys E. Edmunds Programs, Author and Columnist (USA Today); Rev. Brenda Gregg—Founder & Executive Director, Project Destiny; Linda Cawthon Griffin—Audit Management Specialist, Bayer Business & Technical Services; Melanie Harrington—CEO, Vibrant Pittsburgh; Lynne Hayes-Freeland—Reporter, KDKA-TV; Anna Hollis—Executive Director, Amachi Pittsburgh; Laverne Baker Hotep—Director of Community Arts & Education, Center for Victims of Violence and Crime; Kim Jefferson—Vice President, Training & Design Manager, PNC Financial Services Group; Cecelia Jenkins—Executive Director, Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc.; Rhonda Jones-Fitch—Child Advocacy Specialist, Kids Voice; Kim Lampkins-Atkinson—Morning Anchor, American Urban Radio Networks (AURN); Carmen Lee—Communications Officer, Heinz Endowments; Sharon Lowe, PhD.—Founder, President & CEO—A Second Chance; Debra Mason—Adjunct Professor, Geneva College and Owner & President, Victory Management; Colleen McMullen—Executive Director, Diversity Strategies & Programs, Carnegie Mellon University; Lisa Minor—Senior Community Relations Specialist, Duquesne Light; Kimberly Moses, Esq. —UPMC/Children’s Hospital; Darlene Gambill Motley, PhD.—Department Head of Management, Robert Morris University; Maelene Myers—Executive Director, East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI); Charlene Newkirk—President, Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus; Connie Portis—Publisher, Greater Pittsburgh Black Business Directory; Grace Robinson—Owner, Grace Robinson Insurance Agency; Latonya Salley-Sharif—Upper School Grade Dean, Track Coach, The Ellis School; Mary Haith Savage—Community Volunteer, Homewood; Jennifer Bruce Scott—Nurse, Retired High School Basketball Coach, University of Pittsburgh All-American; Robin Horston Spencer—Executive Director, Message Carriers of PA; Jackie Blakey Tate—Retired Principal, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Evangelist Lola Mae Thorpe—Pastor, Northside Institutional COGIC; Shelley Fant Uku—President, FCG Solutions Inc.; Crystal McCormick Ware—Director of Communications, Marketing & Diversity, University of Pittsburgh Library System; Dr. Christina Wilds—Senior Program Officer, Highmark; Andrea Williams—Executive Director, Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation; Jacqueline Wilson—CEO, Three Rivers Adoption; Sylvia Wilson—Assistant to the President, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers; Kimberly Wood—Executive Assistant to the CEO/President, Pittsburgh Penguins.

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