Marteen Garay
Marteen Garay
Marteen Garay
Marteen Garay at the Energy Innovation Center. Photo by Timothy Sloan of TDS Productions.

As Director of Entrepreneurship Programming for Urban Innovation21, Marteen Garay implements a wide range of community-based support programs, including spearheading the creation of the newly formed Homewood-Brushton Business Association. Born and raised in the Bronx, Marteen moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 and lives in Highland Park. An alumna of Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership program, Marteen received Carnegie Mellon’s Otto A. Davis Award for race and social justice, and the 2016 ATHENA Young Professional award.

Monday, November 28

After receiving a notice that our 2017 Main Street Now Conference (taking place May 1-3 in downtown Pittsburgh) session proposal was accepted, I will debrief with fellow proposal writers: Demi Kolke at Operation Better Block, Henry Pyatt with the Mayor’s Office, and Vernard Alexander of the Homewood-Brushton Business Association and owner of the Minority Networking Exchange. The session will focus on how the Homewood Expo attracted new interest and investment into a distressed business district.

I’ll also be doing a final push for the two-day visit with Angela Benton, CEO and Founder of the NewME Accelerator. She will be in town starting tomorrow.

In the evening I’ll post up at Panera in Bakery Square to conference with Sarah Siplak of SLB Radio Productions to finalize the logistics for a recording session of prominent Pittsburgh and Homewood community members, as part of my husband Gregory Garay’s public art project with Buzzword Pittsburgh in conjunction with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Homewood branch.

Tuesday, November 29

Today is jam packed: in the morning we will host a breakfast for minority and women entrepreneurs with Angela Benton. Next we’ll take a tour of several accelerators and co-working spaces in Pittsburgh, including Bridgeway Capital’s Craft Accelerator, StartUptown, Riverside Center for Innovation and Alloy 26 on the Northside.

We will stay at Alloy 26 for an informal lunch and then prepare for the evening’s town hall event, Stand Up, Stand Out with Angela Benton. The event is open to the public and will be held at the August Wilson Center beginning with a networking hour from 6 to 7 p.m. and then a fireside chat moderated by financial advisor and television personality Rob Wilson.

Wednesday, November 30

Day two of Angela’s visit. She will meet with local elected officials, the Allegheny Conference, and Neighborhood Allies to discuss ways to engage minority and women entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh region.

After a day of meetings and discussions, I will attend a private dinner with Angela and the Urban Innovation21 team to strategize next steps from her visit.

Thursday, December 1

In the morning, I’ll attend a monthly meeting at the URA to get updates on community and economic development projects in Homewood. Next, I will attend a meeting with Neighborhood Allies to discuss implementation strategies for the Pittsburgh All-In Equitable Development Agenda, which was a focus of the recent p4 conference.

The Invest In Her Team at the 2016 Invest In Her Pitch Competition at Alloy 26. Photo by Stephanie Lewis of In A Reel.

In the evening, I am meeting with Michelle and Allison, owners of Savvy Chic Events. I met them at Chatham University’s Women’s Business Center‘s summer program, Concept to Launch, hosted in Homewood. I’m glad to be working with them to plan logistics for the 50th Anniversary of the Harambee Ujima Black Arts Festival, to be held in the summer of 2017.

Friday, December 2

I work remotely on Fridays. In the morning, I will meet with Kilolo Luckett for coffee at Everyday Café in Homewood to craft a grant proposal for the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program for the 2017 Harambee Festival. I’ll likely stay at the café to do some email correspondence and make a few calls.

After work, I will check in with my fellow Invest In Her co-founders Samantha Bute Hartzman and Aster Teclay during happy hour at The Commoner at Hotel Monaco downtown. Just coming down from our second annual all-female pitch competition, we’ll discuss fundraising strategies and programming for 2017.

Artistree Live Band performing at the 2016 Harambee Black Arts Festival in Homewood. Photo by Knowledge Hudson.

Saturday, December 3

This morning I will attend a half-day planning retreat with the Harambee Ujima Black Arts and Cultural Association. I started working with the organization in 2013. This year the all-volunteer board named me the 2016-2017 executive director, charged with increasing their organizational capacity and to coordinate the 50th Anniversary Harambee Black Arts Festival, which will be held in August 2017.

I’ll end the day with dinner and a movie with #husbae, Greg, and finally go see Marvel’s Doctor Strange and enjoy a Burnt Almond Torte Heavenly Shake from Burgatory.

Sunday, December 4

After a long week, I’ll go to the Yoga Factory in Lawrenceville for their 90-minute Bikram class. Then I’ll pick up some salmon and snapper from Wholey’s in the Strip District. In the afternoon, I’ll give my mom a call to wish her an early happy birthday. I’ll likely do some chores around the house and binge watch the new Celia Cruz series on Netflix and catch the season finale of Insecure on HBO Go.

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Jennifer Baron

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...