Did you know that in 1903, just two years into its existence, the Covode House (now known as Sarah Heinz House) became the first Club of its kind in America to welcome girls for programming? Over the past century-plus, girls have excelled alongside their male peers at the House. Women and girls have always been leaders here (we are, after all, named for one!) but that has never been more true than in recent years.
Today’s Sarah Heinz House is led by women. In 2013, Jennifer Cairns Esq. (pictured in middle photo on left and middle right photo on right) became the first woman in Sarah Heinz House’s history to serve as Executive Director, a role she continues to serve in today. Demeshia Seals (pictured in middle photo in middle) has been a Board member at Sarah Heinz House since 2014 and is in her second year as our Board President. After years in leadership at Massaro Corporation, Demeshia began her own consulting firm DLRS Consulting.
50% of our Board members are women! Those members include:
Susan Ardisson Esq.– Susan was the CEO of bit-x-bit, LLC, a digital forensics and e-discovery firm, until 2020. Susan is a past co-chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) Legal Technology and EDiscovery Committee and used to practice business litigation in San Fransisco! Susan is the Chair of our Alumni Committee.
Andrea Clark Smith Esq.– At UPMC, Andrea leads a team of immigration, employment, and labor law specialists on all legal matters including equal employment law, wage, and union-related labor law. Andrea was named one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine in 2019! Andrea serves as our Board Secretary.
Mary Kapetanovich- Mary has held various risk management and credit-related positions at PNC and is part of the Commercial Real Estate management team. Mary is an SHH alum and an Event Chair for our upcoming Camp Centennial! (Read more here)
Other women Board Members include:
Carol Caroselli– Governance Committee Chair
Michelle Figlar– Vice President of Learning, Heinz Endowments
Joah Iannotta Ph.D.- Senior Vice President, PNC Bank
Wendy Koch– Director of Volunteer Engagement, United Way of Southwestern PA
Tishekia Williams Esq.– Director, Regulatory Legal Group, Duquesne Light Company
Girls also lead in our programs. 6 out of our last 7 of our Youth of the Year winners have been girls. Youth of the Year candidates write personal essays and give a speech for a panel of outside judges each February and the winner moves on to the state competition against other Club winners.
2021’s winner, Hannah P., is pictured in the top right of our collage. Laniya W., our 2018 winner, is pictured in the right middle photo on the left. And our 2017 finalists, all of whom were girls, are pictured in the bottom right.
Girls lead today on our Swim Team (middle top) and in Robotics (middle bottom), where the pictured all-girls VEX squad won a competition in early 2020 and would have gone on to the State Competition were it not for COVID-19.
We know women and girls will continue to make their presence known, leading the way for another 100+ years at our organization!