The members of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors serve three-year terms. Elections are held annually in May. To vote in the next election become a Just Harvest member.
Paulette Battisti, President
Paulette has been a member of the United Steelworkers for the past 21 years and is proud to have been the first and only female relief operator at the Ambridge Water Authority. She currently works at the International Headquarters of the USW in Pittsburgh where she is the coordinator for District 10 Women of Steel for the state of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Civil and Human Rights Committee and the USW Jefferson Award Selection Committee. Paulette also served in a number of official roles, including president, over ten years with the Ladies of Charity in Ambridge. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Center For Hope and is an associate member of the Sisters of Divine Providence.
Steve Irlbacher, Esq., Vice President
Steve is a staff attorney in FedEx Ground’s Legal Department. He is a longtime resident of Allegheny County and committed to Just Harvest’s core values and mission to eliminate hunger in our community. Steve has also been active in the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and Allegheny County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.
Sr. Barbara Finch, Secretary
Sister Barb has been a Sister of St. Joseph for over 30 years. She remains committed to changing institutional structures that cause oppression, hunger, poverty, or the diminishment of human dignity. 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. She presently is working at the Allegheny County Jail as a nurse.
Alex Carlisle, Treasurer
Alex has been a member of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors since 2002. Alex works as a Medicare Grievance and Appeals Coordinator for Aetna, and also has 30 years of experience as a professional tax preparer. He serves on the Boards of the Kappa Scholarship Endowment Fund of Western PA and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., East Central Province.
Tera is a program director at Community Catalyst, a national health care advocacy organization. The program aims to improve population outcomes by expanding access to oral health care through consumer informed policies, programs and practices. Tera oversees the program’s political strategy, state field operations and national partnerships. She began her career as a direct service social worker. Prior to joining Community Catalyst, Tera worked as the advocacy coordinator with the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, the Campaign Manager for the Seattle Housing Levy and a policy analyst for Children’s Home Society of WA. Tera moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 with her partner to be closer to family. She is inspired by the quote “Service is the rent we pay for being,” attributed to Rep. Shirley Chisholm and Marian Wright Edelman.
Darla J. Cravotta
A Pittsburgh resident of Friendship, Darla is a manager of special projects for Allegheny County. Over her many years in community and government work, she says her focus has been on people and “developing programs and policies that best suit the needs of folks in our communities. I believe I can bring an understanding of local governments and important connections to this position.” Darla has a master’s degree in social work and taught for many years at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
Mark has a history of involvement with the issue of hunger, having served on the Board of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for over 17 years, including a two-year stint as Board president. He served on a myriad of committees, including the Executive Committee, Strategic Planning, Fundraising & Communications, Pittsburgh Blues Festival, Hunger Awareness Day and the 25th and 30th Food Bank Anniversaries. Working closely with the Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer, Anne Hawkins, they developed the Campaign to End Hunger to build awareness and educate people about the issue of hunger and enhance fundraising effectiveness. Mark was also involved with Empty Bowls, which afforded him the opportunity to meet Ken Regal and learn about Just Harvest. His professional career was spent in marketing/advertising/public relations, retiring roughly 10 years ago as CEO of Gray Baumgarten Layport/GBL (now Chemistry Communications).
Just Harvest is an organization that Jeannette has admired over the years. Her favorite quote, which is on every email she sends out, is: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” (Jane Addams.) It’s a sentiment that Jeannette wholeheartedly agrees with. In her work life, she has sought to work with politicians or advocacy groups that have a progressive and thoughtful policy on hunger and poverty issues. Jeannette works in the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate. Her community involvements include the Civic Leadership Academy-City of Pittsburgh, PUMP-Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, National Leaders Council-Pgh Chapter, and being a member of the Allegheny County Green Team, which supports sustainability efforts within the County workplace.
Carl is the owner of Carl’s Cafe, a local convenience store and American style bistro, as well as The Red Door Store, a mobile convenience store. Carl’s business is a Fresh Corners store as well as a participant in the Food Bucks Program. Carl has been a volunteer with Just Harvest initiatives, including the fight for fair and equitable transit. Prior to opening his business in 2011, Carl earned a degree from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts before returning to Kent State University and obtaining a teaching certificate from the state of Ohio. Later, Carl was twice elected to Borough Council in Wilkinsburg, where he also held a seat on the Board of Directors of the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority for 11 years. Carl also served as a board member for W.I.N. (Wilkinsburg Inter-Community Network) and E.D.G.E (Economic Development Group East). Community service and community organizing are very important to Carl and he has served in many official and volunteer capacities, including Block Club Coordinator, community liaison, and others.
Gabriel is Vice President for Quality and Risk Revenue at Gateway Health. A former mentor of children in elementary and middle school, he is seeking to make a positive impact on the underserved community, particularly those in need of help to get back on their feet. His diverse background includes being a troubled teenager, service in the Military, and success in the private sector managing healthcare and community outreach programs. “I feel that my experience working with sensitive and difficult problems will translate into effective volunteer service that will enable lasting impacts to the challenges facing our communities.”
Theresa Orlando is retired from a 15-year career in social work as director of Miryam’s Program for Homeless Women; prior to that she served 23 years as a director of Christian Formation for the Catholic Diocese. She has a degree from LaRoche College and a graduate degree from Duquesne University. She served as a preceptor for University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Interns and as an adjunct professor for the School of Pharmacy. Theresa is a founding member of the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition, and also for Call to Action PA. She volunteers for the Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program and for AJAPO, a resettlement program for African and Caribbean immigrants to Pittsburgh. Theresa has been an active member of a multicultural church for more than 20 years, a member of Thomas Merton Center, and active in social justice and peace movements. She also belongs to the Pittsburgh Ceili Club for Irish Culture and dance.
Samantha is a payroll and benefits assistant at ACTION-Housing in downtown Pittsburgh. She is a new resident of Allegheny County and her experience ranges from Human Resources to small business management. Just Harvest is an organization that she has been wanting to work with since she began her move to the Pittsburgh area and she is committed to helping with the changing of public policies and availability of resources.
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 excited by the prospect of serving alongside the Just Harvest board members, staff, and volunteers to ‘feed’ Pittsburgh’s vibrant and diverse future.
Since 2009, Deborah has been employed by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, where she is now the community outreach coordinator. She held various positions in her 13 years at Mon Valley Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), a non-profit employment and training center for low-income and displaced homemakers. She also worked for nearly 15 years in the health care industry doing marketing, community relations, and community development. For many years, Deborah has been an active member of Covenant Church East in Greensburg, and is also on the Trustee and Usher Board of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh.
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.