Ebony McQueen-Harris

From overseeing the Ignite Northside program to enjoying her favorite farmer’s market and winery—not to mention testing out new recipes for her vegan daughter—it’s a highly productive week for Ebony McQueen-Harris. As principal consultant and founder of LEVELS Creative Empowerment and Consulting Group, Ebony is passionate and intentional about collaborating, connecting and developing leaders and diversity within small businesses and organizations. Ebony lives in Observatory Hill with her husband and two of their nine children.

Monday, July 24

I rise between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. Yuppers, I’m an early bird. Faith, family and work are the basis of my core values. I awake, give thanks, pray and then ask God what outfit He wants me to slay for the day, lol.

After breakfast it’s drop-offs for the kids: Sarah Heinz House for my son and Hill Dance Academy Theatre for my daughter.

I’ll meet up for a team huddle with New Sun Rising (NSR). My company, Levels, manages NSR’s Ignite Northside (INS) program in partnership with One Northside and The Buhl Foundation. The huddles are “lit”—which means pretty awesome sauce!

I’ll arrive at Union Fitness for some cardio before heading to my dentist, who will finish work on a root canal! Afterward, I’ll check emails and pick up my little blessings (kiddos).

It’s midget league football season! From now until October my evenings are dedicated to this activity. At 6 p.m. the fam and I will make our way to my son’s practice.

Afterward, it’s home, dinner and bath time. Hubby and I will recap our day over a glass of wine from Narcisi Winery—one of the best wineries in Western PA.

Ebony (R) with Jamie Johnson. Photo by Peter Leeman for The Sprout Fund.

Tuesday, June 25

I’ll head into Levels’ home base at Alloy 26, where I’ll say “what’s up?!” to folks in our coworking space and put the final touches on the agenda for Wednesday’s Ignite Northside Leadership Development Workshop. I’m super excited about this workshop because we’ve incorporated improvisation! If you don’t know already, improvisation is extremely beneficial to entrepreneurs, startups and the like. If you’re looking to connect with great folks in our city and communities while grabbing a few tools to place in your entrepreneurial tool box, join us HERE.

The other part of my day will consist of phone calls and research. Jamie Johnson and I are working on connecting more deeply with minority businesses and community project leaders within the North Side. Last week we facilitated a focus group discussion and survey. Our research hones in on specific core areas that affect resiliency and outcomes for minority small business owners.

I’ll pop over to Ascender in East Liberty for their Builders Series workshop and then beeline it back to the North Side for my son’s football practice—albeit late, oh wally.

Wednesday, July 26

Today I’ll meet with clients for individual consultations. This is always an exciting time for me because it’s where we focus on actionable steps and accountability.

I’ll break for lunch at Arnold’s Tea—a cool place to have a meeting and meet new people. The almond croissant is dy-no-mite!

This evening I’ll co-facilitate the Ignite Northside workshop.

Thursday, July 27

I’ll link up with a few dynamic souls to celebrate another awesome sauce woman, Ashley Pinamonti, NSR’s AmeriCorp Vista intern. We’ll visit the Mattress Factory and then do lunch to celebrate Ashley’s service. She has been such a dynamic resource and asset to communities throughout our city!

I’ll meet up with the On the Ground planning committee to put the final touches on our event which will occur in Pittsburgh this September. This year’s theme is “Resident Power: Leading Neighborhood Change.” You can register HERE.

FriYay, July 28

I have a Google Hangout call with a potential client mid-morning. We’ll discuss diversity and inclusion and strategize a plan of intentionality and restructuring throughout their organization.

I’ll visit the North Side Farmer’s Market. I enjoy visiting this market as it reminds me of my mom.

Ebony with her husband Juan Harris, son Christian Harris and daughter Faith Harris.

Around 3 p.m. I’ll meet with my brain trust partner, Jamie, to review our week. Our time together consists of identifying upcoming community/city events to attend, follow-up with clients/collaborators, updates on individual consultations, a look at what resources/supports we need to bring in that are outside of our wheelhouse, and an accountability check between ourselves.

This evening I’ll dive back into my current reads: Theatre for Community, Conflict & Dialogue by Michael Rohd and The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin Johnson.

Saturday, July 29

I’ll get a few loads of laundry done, house cleaning and reading before my pretty dope family awakes. Usually my daughter is up and has multiple—and I mean MULTIPLE—conversations with me about any and everything.

Family is the heartbeat of my work and I incorporate them in much of what I do. Today, my daughter will join me during a meeting at noon. Afterward, we’ll head to her dance performance.

Our son will be at work with my husband. Around 5 p.m., we’ll take the kids to Riverview Park to ride their bikes and then head home to light the fire pit and roast Smore’s.

Sunday, July 30

Sunday is family day for #teamharrisstrong. It’s worship time at Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in East Liberty! Afterward, we’ll swing by East Liberty Presbyterian Church to say hello to my father-in-law.

We’ll grab a bite at one of our fave places for brunch, Roman Bistro in Forest Hills. Their customer service is superb! After brunch, we’ll head home to take in a power nap, play a board game, watch a movie and listen to music. Most of our family resides on the North Side so it’s not unusual for us to pop up at a family member’s house or have family at our home.

Our evening will end with washing my daughter’s hair and styling it for the week.

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Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.