Julius BOATWRIGHT

Founding CEO of Steel Smiling

Julius serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer with Steel Smiling. They bridge the gap between Black people and mental health support through education, advocacy, and awareness. They're currently in a fiscal sponsor partnership with Neighborhood Allies. This strategic collaboration directly strengthens their financial management practices, board governance procedures, and program delivery framework. 

 

Their Mental Health Workforce Development Program (Beams to Bridges) equips Black adults with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to serve as Community Mental Health Workers. While completing the programmatic experience, cohort members receive the following: weekly workforce stipends, emergency financial assistance, mental health training, behavioral health treatment, and social service support. 

 

He's a Licensed Master Social Worker who completed a Trauma-Informed Community Practice Workshop with Duquesne University through their Department of Psychology and Rita McGinley Clinic. He obtained his Master of Social Work degree with a Certificate in Human Services Management from the University of Pittsburgh. Julius also earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Pitt. Lastly, Mr. Boatwright completed a 1-year professional development program for nonprofit executives with Leadership Pittsburgh and the California-based Rockwood Leadership Institute. 

 

On behalf of their organization, he's accepted the following acknowledgements: Mental Health America Social Work Award, Black Enterprise Modern Man of Distinction, Coro MLK, Jr. Distinguished Individual Leader [Nominee], NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Dick Jevon Advocacy Award, NAACP [Pittsburgh Branch] Young Person of the Year, Allegheny County Council Proclamation, Pittsburgh City Council Proclamation, Pittsburgh Magazine/PUMP 40 Under 40, University of Pittsburgh

COVID-19 Hero, BMe Community Genius, and Pitt's School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Rising Star Award.

 

Julius and his team have consulted with and trained these partner clients: CCBHO, AHCI, Robert Morris University, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education, The Staunton Clinic, Mon Yough Community Services, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Coro Pittsburgh, PA Department of Labor & Industry, and the Department of Human Services.

 

Their service efforts have been featured on media platforms such as The Today Show, NPR, The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, CBS Pittsburgh, KDKA Newsradio 1020, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show, PublicSource, TEDxPittsburgh, PCTV, and Pittsburgh's CW.

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
Khalif Ali Board Member Picture.jpg

Khalif ALI, MSW

Board Member

Khalif Ali is a Hazelwood resident with an extensive background in community organizing/engagement and public policy. He has been working closely with community-based organizations, local government, foundations and individual activists to craft and advance a progressive policy and advocacy agenda. Vulnerable populations are at the center of his work.

 

Most recently he was the Director of Public Policy & Advocacy for the Pittsburgh Foundation where he advanced the policy agenda of the foundation. During his 3 1/2 years with the foundation, Khalif was able to play a role in the passing of 2 major pieces of legislation at the state level and a change in the state's congressional redistricting laws.

Khalif is a graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. In 2008, he earned his MSW in community organizing/social administration from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Khalif also received an executive education certificate in Behavioral Insights & Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.

Khalif is currently developing a consulting firm that will assist individuals, organizations and government entities to design and practice democracy in a way that is culturally responsive.

Aaron ALDRICH

Board Member

Aaron Aldrich has 14 years of experience in the banking and finance industry.  His journey started in retail banking where he had various roles within the bank, most notably as a Branch Manager. He developed staff, promoted a customer centric environment and grew deposit and loan balances while maintaining operational soundness.

 

He was recognized for multiple awards during his banking career including a PNC Achievement Award and two Champion Awards from National City Bank.  In 2012, he joined Bridgeway Capital as an Entrepreneur Loan Officer.  In 2014, he became Business Education Director.  As Business Education Director, he led a team of consultants that worked one-on-one with entrepreneurs, assisting them with accounting, marketing and legal services. 

 

In November 2017, he became a certified Growth Wheel Business Advisor.  With this certification he helped entrepreneurs set goals, create action plans and monitor their success through the Growth Wheel online platform.  In October 2019 he transitioned into a Growth Loan Officer role.  In this role he provides funding to businesses that are growing and creating jobs. 

Aaron enjoys community service and has instructed financial literacy courses at area high schools and churches. He currently serves as President of the North Side Christian Health Center Board of Directors.  He also serves on the Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship Finance Committee, Chatham Women Business Center Advisory Committee and Kiva Pittsburgh Advisory Committee.  Aaron was honored by The New Pittsburgh Courier as a 2019 Men of Excellence Awardee.  He received his BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh and his MBA in Business Administration from Point Park University.

Lovie J. JACKSON FOSTER, PhD, MSW

Board Member

When all the children in the world see themselves as GREAT, I will rest easy and breathe freely. My name is Lovie Jewell Jackson Foster and children’s wellness is my passion. To that end, I strive to empower my twin boys, Magnus Daimian and Justus Jackson Foster, and to ensure the health of myself and my marriage to my wonderful husband Daimian E. Foster. I currently work as a Prevention Specialist for Allegheny County Department of Human Services. I have also worked as an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, a Master of Social Work, and PhD in Social Work. My research, teaching, and community-based social work, writing ventures, and yoga practice focus on African American and other marginalized groups learning about and healing from traumatic experiences; interrupting intergenerational trauma; and using technology to improve mental health prevention and empower young people.

Tiffany MROTEK, MSW

Board Member

Tiffany Mrotek, MSW, is the Director of Workforce Development at Landforce. Landforce is a nonprofit whose mission is supported by two pillars: to provide high quality, professional land stewardship services while simultaneously contributing to the personal and professional development of adults who have struggled to secure and maintain employment. Tiffany developed the unique and dynamic workforce development program and served as our first Workforce Development Manager in 2016. She designed the training curriculum and created key partnerships with employers and other workforce development organizations to successfully support and prepare Crew Members for the workforce.

Tiffany received her Master’s in Social Work degree focusing on Community, Organization, and Social Action from the University of Pittsburgh in May 2016. During her graduate program, she had the opportunity to work for the YMCA, Hill Community Development Corporation, and The Heinz Endowments.

 

Tiffany is originally from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas and spent over four years working on training development in suicide prevention. She organized and facilitated large-scale webinars with key researchers and developed and revised suicide prevention curricula for various audiences. Tiffany also spent a year in a remote part of Ghana working on a dry season sustainable farming initiative, teaching at an education center, and coordinating bicycle deliveries and workshops.

 

When Tiffany isn’t at Landforce, she is with her husband Andrew, son Porter, and pup Moxie taking long walks around the city or spending quality time at home. She also teaches and practices yoga and tries to incorporate mindfulness into everything she does.

Tiffany Mrotek Board Member Picture.png

Lawrence GURRERA

Board Member

My family and friends know me as “Guido”.  I am an attorney with the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates, LLC. My practice focuses on representing people who have been injured through no fault of their own.

 

I graduated from the University of Pittsburg with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and later earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. During my time in law school, I received the Robert Berkley Harper Scholarship, the W. Edward Sell and Cordelia F. Sell Scholarship, and the William Frederick Schulz, Jr. Legal History Award. I also served as a judicial extern in the office of the Honorable Ralph J. Cappy, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

I am licensed to practice law in all Pennsylvania, and Ohio, as well as the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. I am a National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) trained trial attorney.

 

I routinely present on different legal topics to fellow attorneys through the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. I have guest lectured at California University of Pennsylvania, Westminster College, and local schools as well.  I am an active participant with the Allegheny County Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Center, volunteering with the Criminal Record Expungement Project and the Divorce Law Project. These projects help individuals that would not otherwise be able to afford legal representation obtain the relief that they need. I also volunteer with the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers’ Association Wills Project, which helps needy individuals obtain important life-planning documents, such as Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills.

I am a co-director of the Pitt Celebrity Golf Tournament, an annual non-profit event that raises scholarship proceeds for student-athletes at the University of Pittsburgh. I volunteer to serve a monitor at polling places during elections in Allegheny County. I am an active marathon runner, completing the Pittsburgh Marathon each of the past 9 years. I enjoy traveling, reading, and meeting new people. I am conversational in Spanish and am learning to speak French. I love Pittsburgh and cheer on all of its sports teams.

 

Professional Honors and Memberships:

Selected for inclusion in the 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars®, a distinction given to the best up-and-coming attorneys under 40 in Pennsylvania as voted on by their peers.

Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, formerly a member of the Board of Governors

Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly a member of the Board of Governors

Allegheny County Bar Association, formerly a member of the Committee on Law and Disability

Pennsylvania Bar Association

University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association, Board of Directors, Treasurer, Director of the Young Alumni Advisory Team(YAAT)

 

Amber FARR

Board Member

Amber Farr has been involved with The Buhl Foundation’s One Northside initiative since the very beginning, working on community development, project management and recruitment. One Northside is Buhl’s 20-year commitment to improving the lives of all North Side residents. “By working hand-in-hand, North Side residents shape Buhl’s grantmaking agenda and guide its leveraging of assets and resources,” Farr said.

 

Driven to give back to the community, Farr previously worked at the Girl Scouts of Western PA and at the Steeltown Entertainment Project, where she helped students learn life skills through the art of filmmaking. Prior to those roles, she worked as a producer at Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation. Even outside of her day job, community service is key for her, as she volunteers for numerous organizations including: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, The Best of the Batch Foundation, Temple University Alumni Association, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and United Way’s “Be There.”

 

A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Farr earned a bachelor’s degree at Temple University and a master’s degree at Point Park University. She lives in Penn Hills. 

AMBER FARR.jpg

Harry JOHNSON

Board Member

Harry Johnson, II is a highly experienced fundraiser and social entrepreneur. He previously served as Pittsburgh Manager for the award-winning national network BMe Community.

BMe is the nation’s largest fellowship program for social entrepreneur Black men, and has been recognized by the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, The Aspen Institute, and many others for its asset-framed approach to community building. Harry has formerly worked for United States Congress and Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle.

 

He further serves throughout Pittsburgh in his role as Founder of Harry Ventures, LLC., and as Board Director of PUMP and The Jeron X. Grayson Foundation. Harry is a proud resident of the Hill District, where he lives with his wife Shinora Grayson Johnson. Harry is a Remake Learning Ambassador.

Natalie BULGER

Board Member

Natalie Bulger is the Compliance and Business Integrity Officer, Integrated Ethics Point of Contact and FOIA Officer for VA Healthcare VISN 4, where she provides program oversight for the nine medical facilities in the service network and supports national program implementation. Prior to joining the VA she was the Director of Compliance, Risk and Regulatory for The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, acting as Compliance and Privacy Officer as well as Risk Manager. She started her career as Research Assistant with the University of Pittsburgh investigating Quality of Life for residents in long term care.

Natalie has been a member of The American College of Healthcare Executives since 2010, obtained her Fellow credential in 2017, is previous Board member of ACHE of Western PA, past chair of ACHE’s National Early Careerist Committee.  She is a founding member of the Western PA Healthcare Summit where she still serves on the executive planning committee. Natalie has been recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP as one of Pittsburgh’s 40 under 40 in 2017 and is a recipient of the ACHE Regent’s Award for Early Career Healthcare Executive.

Natalie has a bachelor’s in social work and a master’s in health administration, both from the University of Pittsburgh where she currently serves as President of the Health Policy and Management Alumni Association and is a member of the MHA Board of Advisors at the Graduate School of Public Health.  She also holds a certification in Public Leadership from the University of Maryland, is certified in Healthcare Compliance and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.  In her free time, she can be found traveling with her pets in tow or hiking around the western PA region.

 

Natalie Bulger Board Member Picture.jpg

Daniel BERKOWITZ

Board Member

I’m a serial entrepreneur, team leader and strategist with over 17 years’ experience developing concepts into plans, and executing those plans into successful realities. I’m adept at fundraising, business development, strategy and motivating teams to success.

Currently, as the Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Development Co., I am working to change the brick and mortar face of the fastest growing Millennial population in the U.S.: Pittsburgh. . 

Over the course of my career, I've done it all... strategy, business development, sales, fundraising, marketing, branding, deal structuring, financing... and when success demanded it, I have happily been the proverbial chief, cook and bottle washer. As a result I have unique abilities managing multi-faceted projects and navigating complex challenges. 

Specialties: identifying trends, strategy, business development, sales, deal structure, communications, management, marketing, branding

I am constantly looking to expand my network, reach out: Daniel@AtlasDevelopment.Co

Dashawna FUSSELL-WARE

Doctoral Student Fellow

Dashawna Fussell-Ware is a proud native of Miami, Fl. She received her Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in Psychology with minors in English and Human and Social Development from the University of Miami in May 2013 and her Masters of Social Work, with a Certificate in Non-Profit Management, from the University of Georgia in May 2018.

During her undergraduate career, Fussell-Ware accumulated a plethora of research experience with diverse populations including children in Head Start/Early Head Start programs, children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, and youth living with mood and anxiety disorders. After her time as an undergrad, she joined the fight for social justice through education as a 2013 Teach for America Miami-Dade corps member, teaching 11th and 12th grade students at her alma mater in the Miami neighborhood of Liberty City for two years. While earning her MSW, Fussell-Ware served as a Clinical Services Liaison for a transitional housing non-profit as well as a therapist and community support worker for a mental health service provider.

Fussell-Ware's research interests include mental health disparities among and treatment of racial/ethnic minority children, adolescents, and transition-aged youth in addition to community empowerment and service provision for racial/ethnic minorities living in urban, underserved neighborhoods. Her career goals are to conduct groundbreaking research that positively influences social work practice as well as serve communities of color through partnerships with resource-rich academic institutions.

Selected Awards and Fellowships

  • Minority Fellowship Program – Youth (MFP-Y) Fellow (2017-2018), Council for Social Work Education

  • MSW Foundation Student of the Year (2017), University of Georgia School of Social Work

  • Wilbur P. Jones Scholarship Recipient (2017), University of Georgia School of Social Work

  • Psychology Research Initiative Mentorship Research Experience (PRIME) Fellow (2012), University of Miami

Selected Conference and Poster Presentations

  • Fussell-Ware, D.J., Ehrenreich-May, J. (2012, July). The relationship between anxious and depressive symptomatology and demographic characteristics in an adolescent clinical sample. Poster session presented at the University of Miami Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum, Coral Gables, FL.

Keisha HOLT

Executive Assistant

RICK BIGELOW HILLTOP COHORT LEADER .png

Rick Bigelow

Hilltop Cohort Leader

RACHEL HOPKINS UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT FEL

Rachel HOPKINS

Undergraduate Student Fellow

Majors: Psychology & Sociology; Minor: Social Work

Hometown: Bucks County, PA

Civic Engagement Passion: Rachel is passionate about addressing mental health and education disparities in the Black community.

Support and give what makes you happy. 

Engage in our community story

Steel Smiling bridges the gap between community members and mental health support through education, advocacy and awareness. 

© 2016 by Steel Smiling. Proudly created with Wix.com

Pittsburgh, PA

(412) 532-9458