WHIRL Magazine’s Couples Who Make a Difference 2015

Introducing 10 Pittsburgh couples who are making significant strides within the city’s business and cultural landscape, all while aiding the pulse of local philanthropies

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Produced & Written by Andrea Bosco. Photographs by Michael Fornataro. Art Direction by Samantha Casale & Jason Solak. Makeup by Amanda Badini Hildabrand & Shannon Morrissey of Mina Rose Beauty, LLC. Hair by Sam Canavan, Daneen Cline, & Heather Laceyrae of Philip Pelusi. Shot on location at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Special thanks to Sarah Shriber & Bob Page.

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Our chosen couples escaped the blustery weather to warm up with us (coffees in hand!) inside the regal Omni William Penn Hotel for an impressive two-day shoot. We prepped lighting, hair, and makeup on location, and awaited each couple’s arrival — many of whom were breaking from work and/or family, and later, heading to an event, or multiple. We chose these peerless pairs for their robust charitable dedication, profound community involvement, and business expertise — all in the name of Pittsburgh’s rich future. Aside from inspiring résumés and impassioned support, these power couples are leading by example. In their presence, it was nearly impossible to feel anything but positive and energized. Read on to see what they have in store for 2015!

Susie & Gregg Perelman

Susie and Gregg Perelman, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

“We want to show our daughters that it is our job to minimize our global footprint and maximize ways that we can live in a healthy, positive environment together in a tightly knit community. From Gregg’s active revitalization of fringe neighborhoods in the East End and creation of Pittsburgh’s first green street at Bakery 2.0, to my desire to help U.S. communities rebuild after environmental catastrophe, we want to empower the next generation and make them believe that they can achieve greatness and do good at the same time. We are especially proud of how Pittsburgh has evolved in the past decade to become a vibrant, brainy, cultured, and environmentally sensitive city.”

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Susie owns Mosaic, Inc., a national linen rental company for events, weddings, mitzvah celebrations, and more. Gregg is the CEO of Walnut Capital Partners, a real estate management and development company.

The couple supports Bike Pittsburgh, where Gregg is vice president; Shadyside Academy, where Gregg is a board member; Event Pros Take Action, where Susie is founder and president; Greater Pittsburgh’s International Special Events Society, where Susie is vice president of communications and a founding board member; and Bakery Square’s Thrival Innovation + Music Festival. For years, Susie has worked on the Hillman Cancer Center Gala, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation’s Skates & Plates Charity Gala, the Steelers Style Fashion Show, Pittsburgh Opera’s Maecenas Gala, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s A Pointe in Time Ball, and countless others.

On February 21-22, Gregg is involved with Steel City Codefest at the Carnegie Library. This summer, Event Pros Take Action celebrates a special milestone — its five-year anniversary and the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Susie will lead her annual trip to New Orleans with her team of close to 100 colleagues, the Design Angels, to build homes and assist in the rebuilding of the NOLA community, complete with a celebrity chef. Slated for Spring 2016, Gregg will launch the opening of the Bakery 2.0 Google building, the sister building to Google’s headquarters.

Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier & Evan Frazier


Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier and Evan Frazier, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Holly is an educator and TV personality on “Dance Moms.” Evan is senior vice president of community affairs for Highmark Health.

Holly supports the Afro American Music Institute, Jack and Jill of America, Inc.’s Pittsburgh chapter, and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.

Evan supports Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Jefferson Regional Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics — all of which he serves as a trustee/board member.

In 2015 and 2016, the couple and their children are serving as honorary co-chairs for Junior Achievement’s “Campaign to Build the Future through JA BizTown and JA Finance Park.” On February 12-15, Evan is involved with the 26th National Conference of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, a national student-run organization he co-founded at Cornell University in 1990. On May 17, he’ll serve as honorary co-chair of the Three Rivers Youth Nellie Leadership Awards Gala.

Q: “What is your wedding song?”
A: “‘There’s Nothing Better Than Love’ by Luther Vandross & Gregory Hines.”

Karen Warrick Gnagey & David J. Krency

Karen Warrick Gnagey and David J. Krency, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

“My late husband, Craig Gnagey, Sr., and I were involved in the first dinner dance 19 years ago, where we raised $1,200. The event is now held in his memory. When David and I started dating, he knew how important this event was to me and my four children, and he’s always been very involved with set-up, teardown, and last-minute projects. I have served on the committee since the event’s inception, and I am proud to say that we raised $67,000 last year! We hope to make this year’s event even more successful!”

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Karen is a special project coordinator of Chapman Corporation. David is the bakery and catering manager of Krency’s Bakery in Washington.

The couple supports American Cancer Society Dinner Dance Washington Unit, American Cancer Society Making Strides for Breast Cancer Washington Unit, American Cancer Society Daffodil Days Washington Unit, Washington Christian Outreach, Washington City Mission, Washington Salvation Army, and The Puppy Connection.

On February 7, Karen and David are involved with the American Cancer Society Dinner Dance at the Hilton Garden Inn — Southpointe.

Debbie & Jon Burnett


Debbie and Jon Burnett, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Debbie is a first-grade elementary educator in the Fox Chapel Area School District. Jon is a weather anchor on KDKA-TV and co-host of KDKA’s “Pittsburgh Today Live” with Kristine Sorensen.

The couple supports March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Special Olympics, ALS Association, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Boy Scouts of America, Crisis Center North, and Belle Voci, a community-based, intergenerational women’s choir dedicated to excellence in choral singing.

Q: “What song resonates most with memories you share as a couple?”
A: “‘Friends’ by Elton John, from the 1971 movie of the same title.”

Susie & Neal Shipley


Susie and Neal Shipley, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Susie is president of Huntington Bank Western Pennsylvania & Ohio Valley. Neal is senior vice president of Huntington Bank.

The couple supports Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Little Sisters of the Poor, McGuire Memorial, Pelotonia, St. Thomas More Parish, Mt. Lebanon Blue Devil Club events, and Legatus Pittsburgh Chapter.

Susie supports The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, UPMC Health Plan, Pittsburgh Opera, The Andy Warhol Museum, Carlow University, Auberle, The Duquesne Club, Legatus Pittsburgh Chapter, and the International Women’s Forum Pittsburgh Chapter. She also serves as co-chair of the Major Gifts Committee of the Pittsburgh Promise and is chair of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.

Neal supports Catholic Charities, Crossroads, St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, ACHIEVA Family Trust, Debbie Shipley Family Trust, Denis Theatre Foundation, Gathering of Catholic Men, and Small Seeds.

Susie and Neal are involved with the Junior Achievement Bowl-a-Thon on February 10, the Red CARpet Gala on February 12, the Pittsburgh Technology Council — Huntington Breakfast Briefing on February 13, the Mardi Gras Gala on February 17, and the McGuire Memorial Special Auction for Special People on February 28.

Q: “What is your favorite song to dance to as a couple?”
A: “We enjoy music and are very inclined to dance when we are at great events, such as the Pittsburgh Opera galas and the Crossroads Beatle Mania. Another favorite of ours is The Pauline Auberle Foundation’s Voices Carry. If Donnie Iris is playing, we’re dancing!”

Maria Angelica Caruso & Dr. Alan J. Russell

Maria Caruso and Dr. Alan J. Russell, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Maria is the founding director of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet and chair of La Roche College’s Performing Arts Department. Alan is the Highmark distinguished career professor at Carnegie Mellon University and chief innovation officer of Allegheny Health Network.

The couple supports Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Highmark Caring Place, Lending Hearts, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, and La Roche College.

On February 20-21, Maria will perform her solo work, “My Journey,” with the company, in addition to premiering her new rock ballet set to the music of Coldplay, at the Byham Theater. A meet-and-greet will follow at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel.

Q: “What is your wedding song?”
A: “‘Groovy Kind of Love’ by Phil Collins. It’s our favorite song to dance together to, and it holds a special place in both of our hearts.”

Jennifer & Philip Pelusi

Jennifer and Philip Pelusi, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

“We dream together, love together, work, and play together. We love making Pittsburgh our home!”

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Jennifer is director of sales and marketing for Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi. Philip is founder and CEO of Philip Pelusi Salons & Professional Products.

The couple supports Susan G. Komen.

Q: “What is your wedding song?”
A: “‘Chapel of Love’ by The Dixie Cups.”

Q: “What song resonates most with memories you share as a couple?”
A: “‘All the Way’ and ‘I Thought About You’ by Frank Sinatra.”

Jennifer Ferris-Glick & Chad Glick


Jennifer Ferris-Glick and Chad Glick, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Jennifer owns Agnistoka, a yoga and wellness consultancy, where she is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT). Chad is the co-owner of Sole Phonics, an online sneaker boutique launching this spring. Together, they own The Dog Stop in Sewickley.

The couple supports Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery, Integrative Oncology at UPMC Cancer Center, Yoga Service Council, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Adoption Exchange Association, AdoptUSKids, Bike Pittsburgh, Animal Friends, Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center, Biggies Bullies Rescue, and Cane Corso Rescue.

The couple is involved with Breathing Room — Integrative Oncology at UPMC CancerCenter on February 20 and the Fearless Warrior Conference this fall.

Q: “What song resonates most with memories you share as a couple?”
A: “The theme from A Summer Place by Percy Faith and His Orchestra.”

Suzanne & John Graf


Suzanne and John Graf, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Suzanne is the vice president of the Priory Hospitality Group, which owns the Priory Hotel and Grand Hall at the Priory, among other ventures. John is the president and CEO of the Priory Hospitality Group.

The couple supports Team Tassy, where they are both board members and Suzanne is secretary/treasurer; the National Aviary; Dwarf Athletic Association; Little People of America (Suzanne is vice president for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter); Homeless Children’s Education Fund; WQED Multimedia; Three Rivers Rowing Association; Ancient Order of Hibernians; North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce; and Avonworth Community Park.

This year, Suzanne and John are involved with the Homeless Children’s Education Fund’s Champions for Children on March 2 and the National Aviary’s Night in the Tropics on July 18, as John is a board member for both organizations. They are also chairing Oktoberfest in Avonworth Community Park on September 12, the Team Tassy Blackjack Spectacular on October 23, and the Little People of America Christmas Brunch and Auction on December 13.

Q: “What is your wedding song?”
A: “‘Never My Love’ by The Association.”

Erica & Dr. Stephen M. Miller

Erica and Dr. Stephen M. Miller, WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

“We are excited to be living in a city that is so old and so new — evolving, progressing, revitalizing so much so that we are encouraged by younger people, maybe even our own children, moving back to Pittsburgh to live and be part of its future.”

WHIRL Magazine Couples Who Make a Difference 2015, Pittsburgh

Erica owns One Brilliant in Aspinwall. Stephen owns The Oakland Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. He’s been in private dental practice since 1981 and is the dentist for the Pittsburgh Opera residents.

The couple supports Adat Shalom, Autism Speaks, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (the Give Back a Smile program for women of domestic abuse), Women in Need Foundation, Rebuilding America’s Warriors, Academy of General Dentistry Outreach, Bethlehem Haven, Animal Friends, American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society.

On February 22, the couple is supporting the Pittsburgh Film Office’s Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Presents Lights! Glamour! Action!

Q: “What is your wedding song?”
A: “‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder.”

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