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If you have a nomination for the Girls Coalition Women Who Wow award, simply fill out and submit this form


Why should the nominee be chosen for a “Women Who Wow” award?

Ms. Dedig, my history teacher, is one of the few people I admire.  Her devotion and love for what she does is astounding.  She is one of those teachers who wants you to learn and understand, not just have a bunch of material to memorize.  She is extremely gifted at teaching and I’m proud to be her student of three years.  She teaches History in a way that brings it into the present to make it relatable.  Her impact makes boring things – people, battles, etc… - come to life and make you want to take part in it.

The Girls Coalition of Southwestern PA awards Mrs. Dedig the November 2013 Women Who Wow Award.

Who has been a mentor and inspired you most?  Why is that person inspirational to you?
My main source of inspiration over the years has been my son, Gregory.  I had him at a very young age and he has been my inspiration to complete college and become a teacher.  My personal mentor over the past 11 years has been Dr. Christina Michelmore at Chatham University.  She was my advisor while in college and I have kept in touch with her ever since for guidance or to ask questions.  She forced me to push the boundaries of my education by encouraging me to attend abroad programs in South Korea and France. These trips drove my passion for history and for sharing history which is why I became a teacher. 

What word of advice do you have for girls?
Challenges in life motivate and mold people into strong women.  Never be ashamed to be a strong woman.       

What is your favorite movie?
 I have so many movies I love!  One of my favorites is Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.  I also enjoy the Indiana Jones movies and To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book but also a favorite movie.  It was where I got the name for my son, Gregory, after Gregory Peck who played Atticus.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Haha- spare time!  Well, I have a 12 year old son that competes in 3 different sports year round, so my current time is spent in the role of fundraiser and chauffeur.  I am expecting my second child, a daughter, in July.  So my other time is spent preparing for her arrival!  But when I do get free time, I enjoy travelling!  I have been to Israel, Iceland, South and North Korea, Ireland, France, and Canada!  I love experiencing new cultures and people.  I also enjoy local travelling, such as my trip to the Jello Museum in New York last summer and a recent trip to Fallingwater in Uniontown.   

MARCH 2011

The Girls Coalition of Southwestern PA awards Marie Bartoletti with the March 2011 Women Who Wow award. “I am a triathlete and won my age in the Great Floridian Ironman and have also participated in the Louisville and Lake Placid Ironman events.  I have two sons; David, 26 in Portland, Maine and Michael, 25 in Clearwater, Florida.  I teach elementary school physical education to 290 1st-5th grade students.  Last year I piloted the “kids marathon” with them and 68 finished their last (26th) marathon mile the day before the Pittsburgh Marathon.  This year I have 115 signed up to do this event on May 14!  I have a passion for pacing and it is my favorite thing to do.  I have met the most awesome people while pacing the 25-30 marathons a year that I do, and it is the greatest feeling to help someone across the finish line for the 1st time, help them attain a PR, or a Boston qualifying time.”

Marie finished her 200th marathon just this month. She’s amazing!

“As a teacher and as a marathon pacer, Marie Bartoletti is a leader with a special gift for bringing out the very best in others.  She has personally inspired almost two hundred children to train for and run in the Toyota of Pittsburgh Kids Marathon. We know we can always turn to Marie for support, encouragement and great ideas.” said Patrice Matamoros, Race Director, Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

“Marie is one of those people you think you know even though we have never met," observed Meredith Colaizzi of Girls on the Run. "Everyone has different reasons for running, but Marie truly enjoys the experience of it.  From her crazy hats to her amazing ultra-marathon accomplishments, people are drawn to Marie’s enthusiasm and inspired by her gracious nature.  She ‘wows’ her students, fellow runners and the Pittsburgh community by just being herself.”

Here are Marie’s answers to the five questions we ask all Women Who Wow award recipients:

  1. Who would you give the "Women Who Wow" award to? 
    There are two people who come to mind for this award:  I would give that award to Agnes Berenato, Pitt Panthers Women's Basketball Coach.  She is an outstanding individual who thinks of other people before herself.  She has a "guest coach" at each game, making that person feel very special.  She also has an "honorary captain" for her games for the coin toss, etc.  She gave one of my students some of the best days of her last year of her life, when she went to her house with some of the players on her team and so many other special things she did for Kayla.  She was one of the "honorary captains" and was treated like a member of the team.  Agnes respects everyone and the players on her team respect her as well.  Agnes also does so many things for the community.  She is a very positive role model for anyone she comes in contact with!  I could also say that Michele Obama is a great "Woman Who Wows" since she is campaigning to get young people to exercise.  That is a great thing she is doing, too!  She has many positive attributes as well.
  2. Who has been a mentor and inspired you the most? 
    I would have to give this credit to my father.  He was a dedicated and highly respected teacher, coach, athlete and man in his community; including his practices in the church. His love for God and man was just tremendous.  He touched the lives of many young people and helped shape their paths.  He was my role model and mentor and I absolutely idolized him and have tried to emulate my life after his.
  3. What are some words of advice for girls? 
    Don't ever say you can't do something!  If you want it, it's yours to take!
  4. What is your favorite movie? 
    There are two:  You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle
  5. What do you like to do in your spare time? 
    What is THAT-lol!  I love to run, bike, swim and bake cookies for other people :) 

Nominations are currently being accepted for upcoming Women Who Wow awards. If you have a nomination for the Girls Coalition Women Who Wow award, simply fill out and submit this form or send an inquiry to Rebecca Gaynier or Kelsey Halling. The Girls Coalition of SWPA Women Who Wow award is designed to recognize a local woman who is leading her company, board of directors, community or non-profit in an inspiring manner. Here's how it works: Each month, the Girls Coalition of SWPA collects nominations for Women Who Wow. Nominations are due the 15th of the month. From these nominations, our Selection Committee determines that month's Women Who Wow award winner. The winner is then featured in participating Girls Coalition of SWPA member newsletters, websites and email blasts. It's a distinctive honor and great opportunity to showcase the great work that women are doing in our region.

Women Who WOW--February 2011--Ashley Williams
The Girls Coalition of Southwestern PA congratulates Ashley Williams as our first, Monthly Women Who Wow award recipient. Ashley Williams is a woman who wows us as a Professional Dancer AND Aerospace and Electrical Engineer. WOW! She is currently dancing her fourth season with Attack Theatre, in Pittsburgh. Originally from Colorado, Ashley's training includes 13 summers at the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School, a BA in Dance (CU-Boulder), and graduate studies at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie in Holland. Along the way, Ashley also went to school for a "serious career" earning a BS in Aerospace Engineering (CU-Boulder) and an MS in Electrical Engineering (MIT), which allows her the delight of investigating the biochemical properties of cartilage using magnetic resonance imaging. Here are Ashley's answers to a few questions we'll always ask recipients of the Women Who Wow award:

  1. If you could give the Woman Who Wow award to someone right now, who would you choose?
    Rebecca Himberger, Associate Director, Marketing & Corporate Partnerships, Attack Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Who has been a mentor and inspired you most?
    My dad
  3. What word of advice do you have for girls?
    Take the toughest classes available in school and try hard.
  4. What is your favorite movie?
    Out of Africa
  5. What do you like to do in your spare time?
    Go hiking in Frick Park with my husband and dog


Call for Amazing Girl Nominations

The Girls Coalition of SWPA is always accepting nominations for "Amazing Girls" to be featured in our newsletter. We have established broad criteria to consider when submitting an "Amazing Girl." We are interested in showcasing girls who demonstrate the following characteristics: leadership; commitment and willingness to work hard; perseverance; the drive to excel despite challenge; and creativity. The purpose of this feature is to hear about girls who may be "truly amazing" but have not yet been recognized. Please share your recommendations, and we can all see how she shines!

Send us an email about an Amazing Girl you thing we should profile.

Member Profile:

New Voices Pittsburgh Logo
New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice (NVP) is a grassroots, human rights activist organization for, led by and about women of color. NVP serves women of color ages 12-35 through social justice activism, civic engagement and leadership development. Founded in 2004, NVP exists as a dynamic space for young/women of color to elevate human rights through Reproductive Justice (RJ), to change the social and economic conditions of women of color by addressing the multiple issues we face and to assert our progressive, political voices.
Our mission is to connect women of color and our allies to the Reproductive Justice Movement and develop new voices of leadership in Pittsburgh. Our vision is Reproductive Justice predicated on the human rights of women to decide if and when we will have children, not have children and to decide how we will parent the children we do have in the context of our lived experiences. Our work focuses on the complete physical, emotional, spiritual, political, economic, environmental and social well-being of women and girls, our families and our communities.
NVP created Women of Color HERStory Month and the LGBTQ Women of Color Reproductive Justice Series, developed the SistahSpeak! Youth and Voice Your Vote! Projects and helped to recently win Comprehensive Sex Education in Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Human Relations and Non-Discrimination Ordinance for Allegheny County.

Member Profile: Womansplace

The vision of Womansplace is to end domestic violence through crisis intervention, prevention education and direct services. Our mission is to support individuals and families exposed to relationship abuse by providing shelter, legal and medical advocacy and options counseling. Womansplace seeks to increase victim safety and empower these individuals to begin again. 

Womansplace has been a catalyst for changing the lives of victims of domestic violence for thirty-three years. Fifty-one communities within Southern Allegheny County, Pennsylvania recognize the comprehensive services Womansplace provides as a necessary resource for victims.   

Womansplace is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). PCADV is a private non-profit organization with a statewide network of 62 domestic violence programs across the Commonwealth. Womansplace is required to meet PCADV standards and is monitored on a bi-annual basis. Womansplace is currently held in the highest regard by PCADV.

With that being said, Womansplace is pleased to announce that because of their commitment to outstanding management, the organization was recently named finalist for the 2008 Alfred W. Wishart, Jr. Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.

According to Fran Trimpey, Development Coordinator of Womansplace, "Being recognized was an energizing experience and we are very proud of our accomplishments. However, we realize that to truly live in a world where domestic violence does not exist, we have many barriers to overcome in breaking the cycle of violence; one of which is to continue to enrich our programs and services in the best interest of those we serve, victims of domestic violence and their children."

"Please review our annual report. We are certain that you will be pleased with our abilities to sustain our current services offered to victims and, through collaboration and partnerships, design and implement additional programs that will have a tremendous positive impact on the entire community."  

Womansplace looks forward to sharing information and resources and collaborating with the Girls Coalition membership to bring light to the issues surrounding women and girls.

Amazing Girl Lauren

Lauren is part of Cadette Troop #20455. She has been an assistant working for the past couple of years with two different Brownie Troops. She has demonstrated leadership with each of the Troops that she has assisted with. This year she has dedicated her time to Brownie Troop #21963. She has been a true asset to this troop. Both of the leaders are new to scouting and Lauren has had the ability to look ahead and help when needed.

The younger brownies enjoy her company and greatly respect her. They look up to her. She is a true leader and very patient which is sometimes difficult with this age group. She shows attention and energy with all the girls. Lauren has always shown the girls respect and taken charge when needed. She gets to use her creativity with the badge work.

Lauren has had over 145 service hours helping out troops last year! That is quite a achievement for someone only 14 yrs old!  Not only has Lauren helped girls in our area, she has been a teacher at the Brownie Badge Day at Butler County Community College. On March 28, the Badge Day for this year, Lauren is scheduled to teach another class!

Assistant Troop Leader of #21963 has high praise for Lauren. She says. "Lauren is the best qualified and the most selfless young woman that I have ever met. She is truly an amazing girl for our brownie troop."

Meet more Amazing Girls....

Amazing Girl Caitlin

This month's Girls Coalition Amazing Girl is Caitlin. Caitlin is a senior at Mt. Lebanon High School where she is active in a number of activities including Class of 2009 Senior Executive Council, Co-Chair of the Moving Forward program, a group focused on creating a more respectful and accepting environment in the school and community, President of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and last but not least she is on the tennis team. Caitlin is also involved with a community program called Partnership Against Underage Substance Abuse (PAUSA) and on the steering committee of the Mt. Lebanon Caring Initiative. Caitlin reactivated the SADD chapter after it had fallen apart during the 2007-2008 school year. She has pulled a group of students together to distribute Red Ribbons to promote anti-drug use; gone into the middle and elementary schools to talk about their decision making; and this year has initiated a program through which all students at the Mt. Lebanon High School will receive a birthday card on their sixteenth birthday encouraging them to make good decisions as they become first time drivers.

Caitlin's involvement in all these activities while going to school is amazing but what makes her even more remarkable is that she does all these things with style and grace. She is a silent but strong presence expressing herself eloquently whether in front of a group of students or adults. Caitlin is grounded in her beliefs, and she values not falling into peer pressure. Family commitment and the value of family time are expressed by Caitlin which has fostered her to be such a strong role model. She is a role model not only for her peers both male and female, but also for adults, which is what makes Caitlin such an "Amazing Girl!"

Amazing Girl Olivia: Helping Farmers in Nicaragua

Olivia volunteered to travel to Nicaragua to help local farmers further develop their coffee co-op. This year, she was one of 11 young adults between the ages of 15-18 who helped Building New Hope, a Pittsburgh and Nicaragua based non-profit organization created to support grassroots development projects. In partnership with her local church, the group traveled to the El Porvenir coffee co-op where shade grown organic coffee is grown. It is the women who hand pick the beans that are then transported to America and can be purchased at local grocery stores. Olivia's volunteer work included a lot of manual labor including carrying wood and palm leaves up to a look-out site which was being built for visitors.
Olivia observed that life and schooling for the children in Nicaragua is very different than what children experience in this country. Since most girls don't participate in sports, Olivia taught the girls how to play soccer. She also spent time teaching the children how to use crayons and coloring books. The children were not only unfamiliar with crayons, they also did not have a lot of food to eat. Olivia ate beans and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It only took a day or two for the volunteers to realize that the neighboring street children were hungry. Olivia explained that, "Every day we made sure we shared our leftovers with the kids. We also made sure they had plastic forks to eat with."
Spending time helping others in another country has changed how Olivia views our excess of food and "stuff." Olivia no longer wastes food. She said, "If I have a big meal and can't finish it, I can no longer leave it on the plate. It has to be eaten by someone." Olivia also discussed the freedom women have in this country. "Here, we have so many things we can do, we can play sports, work and travel. Most girls over there will only work in the home."  Olivia is a musical theatre major at the Creative and Performing Arts School

Amazing Girl Kayla

Kayla has been a member of Adagio Health's Real Aids Prevention Project (RAPP) and Teen Advisory Council (TAC) for over 5 years and has emerged as a true leader among her peers. In addition to attending weekly meetings, RAPP members participate in community outreach programs that educate their peers on healthy lifestyles and responsible decision-making. Kayla has consistently gone above and beyond all that has been asked of her. Kayla's positive attitude and willingness to take on challenging responsibilities has made her a valuable asset to our program. Kayla's maturity is demonstrated by her dependability, punctuality and strong commitment to the program. In addition, Kayla is a very articulate young woman with the ability to communicate effectively with both her peers and older adults.

I had the pleasure of working with Kayla on an important project a couple years back. Adagio Health collaborated with Advocates for Youth, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. In this project, Kayla met with state representatives to advocate for comprehensive sexuality education in Pennsylvania. Kayla represented our agency very well, and her efforts were instrumental in the success of the project. Also she received a scholarship to represent Pennsylvania in the "My Voice Counts" conference held in Washington D.C.

Kayla is an outstanding young woman, and I strongly support her in any endeavor she chooses. In a world where we hear so many negative things about our young people, it is refreshing to work with a young woman who is willing to go against the grain and be a role model in her community. Recently Kayla finished up her first year at Carlow University; she is looking to becoming a nurse.

Kayla was nominated by Aaron Thomas, Youth Projects Coordinator, Community Health at Adagio Health.

Amazing Girl Lani

When you hear the word "entrepreneur" do you think of Bill Gates or the guys from Google? Here at the Girls Coalition, we think of Lani, a 13-year-old entrepreneur who recently won second place honors and $5,000 in the national Girls Going Places® Entrepreneurship Award Program. Lani got started making all natural body scrubs as Christmas gifts for friends and family members in 2005. People loved the vanilla and almond varieties, and the scrubs turned out to be really great for clearing up sensitive skin. Lani enjoyed her hobby for a while, filling orders for family members and experimenting with different oils and scents. Then last year she started to think more seriously about turning this passion into a business opportunity. With the support of her parents, she built relationships with potential customers, sold them great products, followed up, and earned their trust. A contact at UPMC bought a few, then 100, then 200 more. When she placed an order for 2,400 peppermint foot scrubs to use in gift bags for the Walk for the Whisper, Simple Sugars Scrub really took off. The cash she earned from that large order went right back into the business - funding a new professional website (www.simplesugarsscrub.com) and upgraded supplies. In addition to growing her own business, Lani is committed to sharing what she has learned with other girls. Her best advice is "Have confidence in yourself and your ideas. Don't be afraid to just go for it!"