Board of Directors

The members of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors serve three-year terms. Elections are held annually, usually in May. To vote in the next election become a Just Harvest member.

Paul Seif, President

Paul lives in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, with his wife and two children. Paul has observed that in Bloomfield fresh, quality food can be hard to affordably access – especially outside of farmer’s market season. Paul also has personal experience with fresh and quality food scarcity, having lived on state assistance for part of his childhood, and growing up in Portland Oregon, where stark divides persist between the quality and freshness of foods available across ethnic and socio-economic divides. Paul worked 10+ years as a development officer in Portland. At that time Paul also served on two boards. Paul is glad to be serving alongside the Just Harvest board members, staff, and volunteers to “feed” Pittsburgh’s vibrant and diverse future.

Michelle Knoll, Vice President

Michelle works as a developmental therapist with Achieva. In 2019, she founded Progress Through Pages. This nonprofit aims to increase book ownership for children in underserved communities. Michelle also belongs to the Montour Trail Council, Airport Area Friends, DKG (an educational organization promoting education and those entering the field of education), PA League of Women Voters Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, and Ohio Township Democratic Committee. She has served as a board member for North Boros YMCA, and earned a Master Gardener degree through Phipps Conservatory. Michelle was a candidate for PA State House in District 44 in 2018. “As I prepare to run again, I want to make sure that those residents of Pennsylvania who are hungry, displaced, under-served, and underpaid have an advocate in the State Capital. Serving on the board will inform my decisions in Harrisburg about programs that serve those that need them the most.”

Alex Carlisle, Treasurer

Alex served on Just Harvest’s Board of Directors from 2002-2019, and returned in late 2020. He works as a Medicare Grievance and Appeals Coordinator for Aetna, and also has 30 years of experience as a professional tax preparer. Alex also serves on the Boards of the Kappa Scholarship Endowment Fund of Western PA and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., East Central Province.

Colleen Young, Secretary

Colleen is the director of Community Programs at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development. Formerly, she supervised the Family Support Policy Board for 5 years, partnering with Just Harvest to promote advocacy around issues impacting families. She has volunteered on multiple advisory committees for Allegheny County Department of Human Services and Health Department, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Women for a Healthy Environment. In her career, Colleen has partnered with multiple organizations including eleven Family Support lead agencies: Children’s Hospital, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Urban League, Kingsley Association, Family Resources, Primary Health Care Service, Providence Connections, South Hills Interfaith Movement, Focus on Renewal, and COTRAIC. She has joined Just Harvest’s board “to support the work to uproot the multiple forms of systemic injustice that keep families in poverty.”

I. Kristine Bergstrom

Kristine is a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services, providing direct representation to low-income clients in elder and consumer law programs. She came to Pittsburgh from Nevada, where she managed a law office that provided free legal services in programs covering housing, public benefits, bankruptcy, consumer rights, tax controversies, family law, economic development, and prisoner reentry.  A graduate of Cornell Law School, she has also practiced disabilities rights law.

Ryan Capra

Ryan has nearly 20 years of experience in the Pittsburgh non-profit industry. He has worked in various capacities for Travelers Aid of Pittsburgh since 2002, and is currently the Senior Program Manager. Through his time in social service, Mr. Capra has been involved in contracts and projects with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC and various other foundations, social service agencies and medical providers in the Pittsburgh region. He is a lifelong Pittsburgher and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Scott Township.

Claire Chiasson-Tyler

Claire is the vice president of IT Infrastructure Risk at PNC Bank. She also particpated in Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 2019 EDGE program for women’s leadership development. During her time in Rochester, NY, she participated in several Foodlink programs, including Operation Food Basket. She is excited about Just Harvest’s scope of activities and impact, and is passionate about our mission.

Sr. Barbara Finch

Sister Barb has been a Sister of St. Joseph for more than 40 years. She remains committed to changing institutional structures that cause oppression, hunger, poverty, or the diminishment of human dignity. Formerly nurse at the Allegheny County Jail, Sister Barb is well known throughout the justice and peace community as well as the interfaith community. Her greatest gifts are consensus building and networking.

Kerry Flynn

Kerry works in healthcare data governance at Highmark Health. She brings a broad range of experiences to the table, including managing a local agricultural nonprofit, working to resolve homelessness and hunger issues at the community level, and understanding the effects of social determinants of health on individuals. In her free time, Kerry enjoys being outside, whether gardening, running, or walking her dogs.

Michelle Watkinson

Michelle is a resident physician at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She cares for patients at the main location in Lawrenceville as well as at Children’s Primary Care Center in Turtle Creek. “I have seen the dramatic effects of food insecurity on my pediatric patients and their families for their physical and mental health. I joined the Just Harvest board to join other people who are passionate about changing the systemic problems which keep people in our community hungry and in poverty.”

Vrenda Bowser Weems

Vrenda is a Branch Manager for the Wexford location of AAA East Central. She is a 2019 Dwight D. Eisenhower USDOT Fellow and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She has deep expertise in shaping organizational excellence with Nonprofits, drawing experiences such as Director of Development & Marketing with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois and Director of Marketing & Audience Services with Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago, IL. Vrenda is an alumni of the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative & Performing Arts. She has joined Just Harvest’s board to help Just Harvest “engage in advocacy to help educate and empower our community to eliminate hunger and poverty”.

Dannai Wilson

Dannai is the program manager at the Allegheny County Health Department, Division of Maternal and Child Health. She has more than twenty years of experience in nonprofit administration, social services, public health, and business administration. Her focus is on improving the quality of life of fragile populations and minorities in general, but specifically women and their children, through community outreach, programming, organizing, marketing, and raising public awareness of health disparities. Dannai has been an advocate for all populations, particularly those underrepresented, through scholarship, national and local conference presentations, training initiatives, strategic planning, and community field work. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in communications and a Master’s degree in organizational leadership from Carlow University. She is a Pittsburgh resident and looks forward to the day when all its residents are able to realize all this great city has to offer.

 

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