NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™
NEW Leadership 2021 will be held virtually this June!
The National Education for Women's (NEW) Leadership Pennsylvania is an intensive, five-day, leadership and public policy institute designed to educate and empower young women for future political participation and leadership. The program addresses the under–representation of women in the political arena by focusing on the role of women in politics and policy making in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each year approximately 35 students from colleges and universities across Pennsylvania are selected to attend. NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ is a part of a national network of NEW Leadership programs developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.
During the NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ summer institute students will:
- Meet with successful women leaders to discuss politics, public policy and the importance of women’s leadership.
- Participate in skills–building workshops on networking, public speaking and strategic communication.
- Network with a diverse group of women who share a commitment to shaping the public agenda and making a difference in their communities.
- Practice leadership through action.
Secretary of Transportation
Yassmin Gramian, PE, serves as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a position that she assumed in May 2020. She manages PennDOT's annual budget of $9.5 billion and oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. Under her leadership, the department is directly responsible for Pennsylvania's vast system of state and local highways and bridges, as well as oversees the state's vehicle registration, driver's licenses and ID operations. Prior to joining PennDOT, Gramian worked for over 30 years in operations, design, and management of transportation infrastructure systems, including highway, tolling, bridge, and railroad projects. Gramian earned master's and bachelor's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and completed the Tuck Management Training Program at Dartmouth College. She is a professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Florida.
New Leadership Photo Gallery
+ 2018 Practitioners–in–Residence
Recently, elected as the 10th Mayor of Wilkinsburg, PA. Marita Garrett served on Wilkinsburg Borough Council from 2014-2018.
During her term on Council, Marita Garrett started "Wilkinsburg Community Conversations", an initiative to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement, co-founded the Free Store Wilkinsburg - where donations of new and slightly used material goods are available to residents and families; and was elected Vice-President of Council, where she served as Chair of the Borough's Social Media & Promotions Committee and sat on the Capital Planning & Public Safety Committees.
Ms. Garrett is the co-owner and managing partner of Admintrinsic, which provides a wide range of outreach and engagement services to small businesses, non-profits, and mid-level corporations. She has successfully coordinated small business educational events, 2016 Vacant Home Tour with the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC), consulted on a research study at Carnegie Mellon University among other outreach programming. Currently, she also serves as the Program Trainer for Coro Pittsburgh's Women in Leadership, 2017-2018 Cohort.
Building on her mission of promoting women empowerment, Marita is also the co-host of Shattered Glass Podcast, where stories of extraordinary women shattering the glass ceiling are highlighted.
Ms. Garrett received a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh where she was employed as outreach coordinator for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center for 7 years - starting there as a senior intern. She continued in Psychology receiving a Master's from Chatham University and has been a panel speaker on several occasions for the Center for Women and Politics. She has been recognized for her diligence in civic and community engagement by numerous organizations and media outlets such as the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council, Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 Under 40, City Paper, The Incline's "Who’s Next in Politics", NAACP - Greater Pittsburgh chapter, and most recently named, "Young Democrat of the Year" from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.
Currently, she serves as Chair of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) as well as on the advisory boards for Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) Advisory Board, National Leaders Council - Pittsburgh chapter, and Emerge Pennsylvania.
Councilmember Natalia Rudiak represents Pittsburgh's fourth district on City Council District 4 is the area covering the neighborhoods of Beechview, Bon Air, Brookline, Carrick, Overbrook, a portion of Mount Washington. On November 3, 2009, Natalia was elected to City Council with more than 98% of the vote after winning the Democratic Primary the previous May. She was re-elected on November 5, 2013 and was sworn in for a second term on January 6, 2014.
Natalia's professional experience is in management and technology. She previously worked at Deloitte Consulting, where she implemented a state-wide information technology system. She has also done press work for the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. and worked for a public health organization in New York promoting safe and healthy motherhood.
Natalia earned her bachelor's degree from George Washington University through scholarships from the Pennsylvania and national AFL-CIO. During her undergraduate career, she studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as the Jagiellonian University in Poland. Born and raised in South Pittsburgh, she graduated from Carrick High School and Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management.
Natalia was named one of the 40 Under 40 by PUMP and Pittsburgh Magazine in 2009, and was voted Young Democrat of the Year in 2011 by the Young Democrats of Allegheny County. She was then named a 2012 Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman by the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women. In April of 2013, Natalia was named Pennsylvania State Director of the Young Elected Officials Network.
Natalia is currently a Board Member of both the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as well as the Pittsburgh Economic & Industrial Development Corporation. The Young Elected Officials Network in 2014 awarded Natalia the prestigious Leadership Award for her work engaging young elected officials in the State of Pennsylvania.
+ 2017 Practitioner–in–Residence
Representative Mauree Gingrich
Mauree Gingrich was elected to represent Lebanon County’s 101st District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 2002. Throughout her career in the state legislature, she has earned a reputation as an intelligent, hardworking lawmaker, focused on the needs of her constituents and the citizens of Pennsylvania.
Citing her strong leadership experience and interest in economic and business development, Gingrich was selected by House Leadership to serve as chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee for the 2015-16 legislative session. The committee addresses often controversial legislation that helps shape and sustain Pennsylvania’s business climate and workforce.
Gingrich’s attention to business development, job creation and advancing the role of women has been a common thread throughout her lengthy career in public service. The recipient of the National Federation of Independent Business’s Guardian of Small Business Award for 14 consecutive years, Gingrich recognizes the need to attract and retain businesses to the Commonwealth that will bring family-sustaining jobs and have a positive impact on the state’s economy and the lives of Pennsylvania’s citizens.
During her 14 years in the House, Gingrich has held leadership positions on the Appropriations, Aging and Older Adult Services Committees. Gingrich was appointed to the House Rules committee and the Bipartisan Local Government Commission. She has focused significant attention on protecting the interests of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly and victims of domestic abuse – and on ensuring that taxpayer dollars set aside for welfare programs go to the citizens in greatest need. She is the recipient of the Children’s Hero Award from both the Lebanon County Sexual Assault Resource Counseling Center (SARCC) and the Joe Allegrini Children Hero Board of which she is now a member.
Gingrich is a founding member of the Lebanon County Commission for Women and an enthusiastic supporter and mentor of women, both individually and through numerous bipartisan leadership excellence programs. She is frequently called upon to speak to women’s groups, including entrepreneurs and business leaders.
I am grateful for the extraordinary women who came before me and paved the way. I will continue to mentor and encourage women to consider public service roles. A legislative body or business team functions best when it includes a variety of perspectives and differing points of view that make it truly representative. For that reason, women are an essential part of any leadership team.
Before her election to statewide office, Gingrich was the owner of Mature Market Concepts, a qualitative market research company focusing on the older adult consumer. Prior to opening her own market research company, she was the Director of Marketing at Cornwall Manor in Cornwall, Pennsylvania.
In addition to serving 14 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Gingrich served 12 years on the Palmyra Borough Council, including nine years as council president. She also previously served as a member of the Borough Planning commission. Gingrich served on the Board of Trustees of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce, was past chairman of the Leadership Lebanon Valley Board and is a recipient of the prestigious Athena Award, given annually in recognition of women in leadership roles who encourage other women to achieve their potential.
Currently, former State Representative Gingrich has been nominated to serve on the Harrisburg Area Community College Board of Trustees and the Dauphin County ARC Board of Trustees.
Gingrich lives in Hershey Pennsylvania with her husband. They have four children and seven grandchildren.
+ 2016 Practitioner–in–Residence
Commissioner Barbara Cross
The Honorable Barbara Bechtol Cross was appointed to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners by the Ninth Judicial District, Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas on May 5, 2008, to fill an unexpired term. She was then elected to the Board of Commissioners in November, 2011 and served as the Chairman of the Board.
Born and raised in McKeesport, PA. Barbara is a 1975 graduate of Chatham College for Women, Chatham University where she serves as member of the Alumni Board.
Upon graduation she was commissioned an officer in the US. Marine Corps where she would continue her 25 year career, retiring in 1999 with the rank of Lt Col. LtCol Cross was re-called to Active Duty from 2004-2006 to support the Global War on Terrorism.
Lt. Col. Cross's extensive military background includes Logistics, Finance/Budgeting and Intelligence. In addition to various military schools and programs she received a Master of Science degree in Organizational Development and Leadership, from Shippensburg University.
Barbara's community service includes membership on the Carlisle Regional Medical Center's Bio-Medical Ethics Committee, Board member of Leadership Cumberland, Lay Ministry at St John's Episcopal Church, and past Board member of the United Way of the Capitol Region. Governor Tom Corbett appointed Barbara to serve on the PA Commission for Women.
In her role as a County Commissioner, Barb served as a member of the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension Board, Cumberland County Conservation District, Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission, and Victim Witness Policy Board. She was an active member of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), serving as Chair of the Governance Committee, a member of the Election Reform Committee, and also serving on the Military Family & Veterans Committee.
Barbara and her husband reside on a small farm near Carlisle where she served her township as a member of the Planning Commission and as Vice-Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board.
+ 2015 Practitioners–in–Residence
Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin
Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin has indeed enjoyed a prestigious career. Justice Baldwin dedicated eighteen years of her life to the Pennsylvania judiciary where she served with distinction. She was nominated by Governor Edward G. Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve an interim term in December 2005 and was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate on February 15, 2006. She retired from the Court January, 2008. On March 3, 2008 she became a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the trial practice group.
Prior to her nomination to the Supreme Court, she served on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for over 16 years in the Civil, Family and Juvenile Divisions. On February 15, 2010, she became the Vice President and General Counsel for the Pennsylvania State University, a public state-affiliated university with an annual budget at that time of $3.8 billion, 25 campuses throughout Pennsylvania, a medical school, a law school, a total enrollment of more than 90,000 students and 39,000 employees. Baldwin served as the university's first in-house legal counsel, where she launched and developed a legal counsel's office at Penn State before retiring in July, 2012. Currently she utilizes her considerable legal experience to do mediations and arbitrations.
Hon. Erin C. Molchany
Erin C. Molchany was appointed in 2015 to serve as Director of the Southwest Office of Governor Tom Wolf. In this capacity, Ms. Molchany assists communities and stakeholders by representing the Governor and serving as his liason in 16 Counties within Southwestern PA.
Prior to working in the Wolf Administration, Ms. Molchany was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where she served from 2013-2014. During her tenure in the PA House, Rep. Molchany represented the 22nd legislative district in Allegheny County prior to redistricting. She was a member of several standing committees of the House including; the Education Committee, Consumer Affairs Committee and Human Services Committee. Rep. Molchany also served on the PA House's bi-partisan and bi-cameral Equality Caucus, Women's Health Caucus and co-chaired the Life Sciences Caucus.
Rep. Molchany's path to public service started in the non-profit sector. From 2005 through 2012, Ms. Molchany served as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP). During her 7-year tenure as Executive Director, PUMP's annual operating budget more than doubled, an additional staff member was added for the first time in a decade to accommodate the high demand for programming, and the organization became 90 percent sustainable thanks to its successful social enterprise, the Pittsburgh Sports League (PSL). Her tireless commitment to the organization helped to connect young people in the Pittsburgh region to their communities, an effort that inspired many to stay and invest in its growth and prosperity.
+ 2014 Practitioner–in–Residence
A native and life-long resident of Pittsburgh, Valerie is married to Theodore Roberts, Jr., has four adult children, a son-in-law and ten grandchildren.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and Master of Science degree in Forensic Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, both summa cum laude.
Valerie brings 24 years of diverse governmental experience having served as appointed Allegheny County Manager of the Department of Real Estate, elected Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds, City of Pittsburgh Council Member, and Pittsburgh School Board Member.
She has served on over 30 non-profit boards and organizations, and has received over 25 awards for her public service including the Pittsburgh Business Times Women in Business, YWCA Tribute to Women Leadership Award, Carlow College Woman of Spirit, and the New Pittsburgh Courier Woman of Excellence.
She has been a children’s Christian educator for 30 years and had served as Girl Scout leader for 8 years.
As Chief Urban Affairs Officer, Valerie oversees all housing, non-profit and faith-based initiatives of city government, with responsibilities over the Housing Authority, the Commission on Human Relations, and with a particular focus on underserved neighborhoods.
+ 2013 Practitioner–in–Residence
Nancy Bocskor is a sought-after speaker and internationally renowned expert in applied democracy. She is a trainer and consultant whose client list includes citizen activists and organizations in the U.S. and abroad who desire to communicate with passion to affect change in their communities. In a report on the global influence of Nancy’s work as a political educator, a major German newspaper described her as a “democracy coach.” She is equally recognized as a passionate and inspirational advocate for women’s participation in leadership, politics and government.
The author of Go Fish: How to Catch (and Keep) Contributors: A Practical Guide to Fundraising, Nancy is a professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management where she teaches courses in strategic communication and fundraising.
Nancy serves on the board of Running Start, an organization that encourages young women to enter public service. She served as a faculty member of The 2012 Project, a program sponsored by the Rutger’s University Center for American Women and Politics to encourage women to run for political office. A past Vice President of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, she chaired the school’s Curriculum Committee for five years. Nancy recently joined the Board of Advisors for the Center for Second Service, an organization dedicated to getting veterans elected to Congress and sponsored by George Washington University.
+ 2012 Practitioner–in–Residence
In 2012, the Practitioner-in-Residence was former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.
Marjorie is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a CBS News Foundation Fellow at Columbia University. She began her career as a television journalist at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. In 1992, Marjorie was the first woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania in her own right and she was the first Democrat since 1916 elected from Pennsylvania’s 13th District. In 1995, Marjorie served as the Director of the United States delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Today she is the President of Women’s Campaign International (WCI), a group that provides advocacy training for women throughout the world and a member of the Vietnam Education Fund, a Presidential Commission that focuses on scientific education and exchange between the United States and Vietnam. She also teaches" “Women Leaders in Emerging Democracies” and “Dealing with the Media” at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania and has lectured at universities throughout the country.
+ 2011 Practitioner–in–Residence
NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ 2011
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper served as a Practitioner-in-Residence during NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ 2011.
Click HERE to hear Congresswoman Dahlkemper talk about NEW Leadership and her mission to empower women.