by Nicole Barley | Photographs by Rob Larson | Art direction by Jason Solak + Allie Wist

 

——— We are thrilled to present these 10 outstanding couples, whose energy and enthusiasm embody everything that makes Pittsburgh a wonderful place to live and visit. We think these photos not only capture their personalities, but also their positivity and passion. The organizations and nonprofits the pairs support are varied, and the businesses they head up are diverse, as are their hopes for the city’s future in 2013. What connects them, though, is a collective optimism, and we can’t think of a better sentiment to share in the coming year.

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

[toggle title=”YONKA + RYAN CLARK” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

She is a full-time mom and charitable supporter. He is a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The couple supportsRyan Clark’s Cure League: Tackling Sickle Cell — Cleats for a Cure, Dairy Management’s Fuel Up to Play 60, Play 60 Super School, Central Blood Bank, Salvation Army’s Project Bundle-Up, Cancer Caring Center, American Heart Association, Women’s Center and Shelter, Steelers Style Fashion Show, and many events hosted by Clark’s teammates.

In 2013, Ryan and Yonka will continue to advance the mission of Ryan Clark’s Cure League, an organization formed in association with the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, spurred on, in part, after Clark suffered sickle cell-related damage to his spleen and kidney during a 2007 game in Denver, Colo. Clark was named the Steelers 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year for both his achievements on the field and his off-the-field community service.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013: “I’m looking forward to being more involved in the city’s charitable efforts in an effort to make Pittsburgh a hub for the country in terms of sickle cell research.” — Ryan Clark
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[toggle title=”LYNN + JOE SMITH” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

She is an artist and owner of Interior Artistry. He is Senior Vice President — Marketing for Dollar Bank.

The couple supports: St. Clair Hospital Foundation, Outreach Teen and Family Services, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Denis Theatre Foundation, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Since 2011, Lynn has served as a board member for the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, and will continue to participate in the Color Marketing Group and the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. Joe serves on the boards of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and St. Clair Hospital, and will continue to participate on the marketing committees for the Civic Light Opera and Allegheny Conference.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013“Pittsburgh is being discovered by the world and by America. This summer, the Americans for the Arts national convention will be here, permitting us to showcase our extraordinary visual and performing arts organizations, as well as our home for the arts, the Cultural District, to people from all over America. Pittsburgh’s unique combination of foundations, corporations, and educational institutions make for an exciting, constant stream of diverse entertainment for all our residents.”
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[toggle title=”DEBBIE + MIKE BARBARITA” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

She is a homemaker and avid fundraiser. He is Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for First National Insurance Agency, LLC.

The couple supports: Magee-Womens Hospital, Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation, 25 Club of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and Robert Morris University.

In 2013, Debbie will serve on the Board of Directors for Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, the 25 Club of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She formerly served as the president of the 25 Club. Michael will participate in the Robert Morris University Board of Trustees and serve as a board member with the Laurel Valley Golf Club.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013“For us personally, we are so looking forward to all the advances in medicine that Pittsburgh is making with its wonderful institutes and researchers. Pittsburgh is being put on the map with talented and devoted doctors who are making a difference in people’s lives.”

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[toggle title=”SUSAN KOEPPEN + DR. JIM O’TOOLE” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

Susan wears a platinum, emerald, and diamond ring from Henne Jewelers, $24,650.

She is an anchor with KDKA-TV. He is a plastic surgeon, part of a private practice in Shadyside, with a focus on cosmetic approaches to breast cancer care.

The couple supports: American Heart Association, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, YMCA, Bike Pittsburgh, People for Bikes, and Breast Cancer Awareness.

In 2013, Susan will co-emcee the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball with Bob Pompeani. She will also serve as a national spokesperson for Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, and a team leader for the YMCA Pittsburgh Marathon Team. Jim will co-chair the Breast Cancer Reconstruction Symposium this spring.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013:

“In a perfect world, I would love for all Pittsburghers to learn CPR. I look forward to running the half-marathon in 2013, so I can finish what I started. I look forward to more blockbuster movies being shot in Pittsburgh.” — Susan Koeppen

“I’m an avid cyclist, and I look forward to Pittsburgh being an even more bike-friendly town. I also look forward to continued improvement in the care of the breast cancer survivor, my primary practice focus.” — Jim O’Toole

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[toggle title=”JULIE + MIKE MCMULLEN” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

Mike wears an Omega SeaMaster Watch from Henne Jewelers, $6,200. | Julie wears 18K white gold and yellow diamond teardrop earrings, $13,500, and a sterling silver and 18K yellow gold fancy diamond cuff, $15,500, from Henne Jewelers.

She is a stay-at-home mom. He is the owner of CompuGroup Technologies, Penn Waste Systems, and Andora Restaurants.

The couple supports: Magee-Womens Research Institute, Animal Friends, The Backpack Initiative, and Pressley Ridge.

In 2013, the couple will co-chair Teal Ribbon Comedy, an event supporting ovarian cancer research at Magee-Womens Research Institute. They will also serve on the board of Pressley Ridge School.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013“We are very excited about the growth and research being done this year at Magee-Womens Research Institute. We feel very lucky to have one of the top research institutes in the country right here in our city. The research being done at Magee will change the lives of many women for years to come.”

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[toggle title=”MARY BETH + JON ALLEGRETTI” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

Mary Beth wears an 18K white gold diamond bezel chain from Henne Jewelers, $34,000.

She is a full-time volunteer and mother. He is President of ANH Refractories Company.

The couple supports: JDRF, Family Hospice and Palliative Care, Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, ACHIEVA, and Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In 2013, Jon will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors at Family Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as on the Development Committee for JDRF. Mary Beth will continue her role as a member of the JDRF Board of Directors and as JDRF’s vice president of public relations.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013“We are looking forward to seeing how the incredibly caring people of Pittsburgh share their time, talent, and treasures with the many worthy charitable causes. We truly receive more than we give.”

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[toggle title=”JOANNA + MICHAEL HUSS” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

Joanna wears an 18K white gold diamond flower necklace, $7,000, and an 18K white gold onyx, and diamond ring, $6,550, Henne Jewelers.

She is Press Secretary for the City of Pittsburgh, Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. He is Public Safety Director for the City of Pittsburgh.

In 2013, Joanna will serve as a board member for Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families Advisory Board, and will participate in Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Ninth Grade Nation Speaker. Michael will chair the City of Pittsburgh’s Municipal Pension Board and will serve as an executive board member with Region 13 Anti-Terrorism Taskforce.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013:

“Having the job of overseeing the City’s Bureaus of Police, Fire, and EMS, safety is always my No. 1 priority. In 2013, my hope for Pittsburgh and its residents is an even safer city. Last year marked the sixth straight year that our crime dropped to historic 40-year lows. We can and will be doing more to drive down crime even lower. Another mark of a ‘safe city’ is measured by the number of its people who can provide life-saving cardiac resuscitation. I have an aggressive goal of having Pittsburgh lead the nation in cardiac resuscitation rates and am looking forward to launching an initiative to support this in 2013.” — Michael Huss

“Pittsburgh is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Downtown is on the move, and it seems that every day, there is a new business opening shop. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Ravenstahl and the investment from so many stakeholders, downtown’s revitalization will be even more amazing in 2013. But what is most exciting is that this Renaissance is happening in neighborhoods throughout the city. With so much positive momentum, the sky is the limit for Pittsburgh’s economic potential in 2013 and beyond.” — Joanna Huss

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[toggle title=”GAIL + NORMAN CHILDS” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

Gail wears an 18K gold faceted amethyst and diamond ring from Henne Jewelers, $5,560.

She is a full-time volunteer. He is Founder and President of Eyetique, 3 Guys Optical, and Norman Childs Eyewear.

The couple supports: Through Eyetique’s Charity Partners Program, Norman works with American Heart Association Go Red for Women, Animal Friends, Delta Foundation, Entrepreneuring Youth, Family House, Homeless Children’s Education Fund, Junior Achievement, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and Shepherd Wellness Community. The couple also supports Gilda’s Club, Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

In March 2013, Gail will help produce Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh’s Campus Superstar event. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Hillel Jewish University Center and Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Norman is on the Advisory Board of S&T Bank and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013“I have lived through a number of renaissances that our city has experienced and continue to be a huge proponent of encouraging our college graduates to come back home to serve and work in our town! My wish is that our city and county leaders strive to go beyond putting Pittsburgh on the world’s stage through innovative and creative approaches through community development and strong infrastructural planning. Our proudest accomplishments are our two sons, Jeremy and Daniel, who’ve grown up to be tremendous young men.” — Gail Childs

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[toggle title=”VERONICA + DENNIS YABLONSKY” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

She is a retired licensed social worker. He is the CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Affiliates.

The couple supports: Pittsburgh Public Theater and Senator John Heinz History Center.

In 2013, the couple will be among the co-chairs for Pittsburgh Public Theater’s annual event. Dennis will continue to serve on the boards of the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Heinz History Center, and the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. In recent years, Veronica has supported Family Resources, a child abuse prevention organization, by serving as a host committee co-chair for its annual Child Abuse Prevention Awards dinner.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013

“This year marks the anniversary of 30 years of transformation from the time the region’s economy hit rock bottom in 1983. Through decades of vision and collaboration, we’ve transformed ourselves into a knowledge-driven, balanced and diversified economy. Our region has not only been re-imagined, but it’s been remade. I’m looking forward to having Pittsburgh back in the global spotlight in 2013 when the iconic Point State Park Fountain returns to the Pittsburgh skyline and the Great Allegheny Passage is completed, both in June. Pittsburgh is a solid destination both for business investment and talented individuals looking to build careers and lives in one of the most livable places anywhere.” — Dennis Yablonsky

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[toggle title=”ANNE + SAM ZACHARIAS” state=”closed”]

WHIRL's 2013 Couples Who Make a Difference

She is a self-employed sales consultant and writer. He is a principal of Gateway Financial Group.

The couple supports: Center for Theater Arts, Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In 2013, Anne will serve as board chair at the Center for Theater Arts. Sam will continue to serve as a board member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a board trustee at the University of Pittsburgh, State Chair of EconomicsPA, co-chair of 37th Annual Andy Russell Celebrity Golf Tournament, and advisory board co-chair of the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy.

What they’re most looking forward to for Pittsburgh in 2013:

“I’m excited about the new vitality in Downtown Pittsburgh. With more people living there, there’s so much more energy. Add this to our fantastic cultural tradition, and there’s a whole new vibrancy downtown. Pittsburgh is an exciting place to live right now.” — Anne Zacharias

“I’m looking forward to the continuing investments being made by PNC and Jack Piatt of Millcraft Investments in transforming downtown, and to the enhancement of Pittsburgh as an international destination.” — Sam Zacharias

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This article is featured in the February 2013 issue of WHIRL Magazine.
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