Sue and her husband Bud on vacation in Sunset Beach, NC.
Sue and her husband Bud on vacation in Sunset Beach, NC.
Sue and her husband Bud on vacation in Sunset Beach, NC.

A lifelong Pittsburgher, Sue Sloan is executive director of PPG Foundation and Corporate Global Social Responsibility, where she administers more than $7 million dollars of “impactful global grants that support education, community sustainability and employee engagement,” and runs PPG’s new Colorful Communities initiative.

Monday, August 1:

Instead of drinking coffee, I prefer to get my daily jolt from my morning dog walks. I have three German Shorthaired Pointers—Roxy, Zoey and Izzy—two of whom are rescue dogs. I’m an early riser and like to be in the office before 8 a.m. I take advantage of our Port Authority system and can easily get into town on the Wilkinsburg busway.

Sue with a black panther at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

My morning will kick off with meetings with colleagues to discuss this year’s Pittsburgh Colorful Communities projects. We’re in the initiative’s second year and have expanded the program’s impact in Pittsburgh by collaborating with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and transforming spaces with colorful paint and more in four locations. This year, we’re working with a local muralist, Lynne Mack, who is creating unique and inspiring “paint by number” murals that our volunteers can paint. A lot of resources and coordination go into beautifying these spaces—and a lot of joy! We’re excited that PPG employees have a chance to give back to the communities they love.

I’ll be joining Lois Mufuka Martin from United Way to visit two of the sites, including the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center in the Hill District where a multi-purpose room will be transformed into a creative reading lounge inspired by the students. This year’s sites all have after-school programming—we think it’s important to give students a bright and cheerful environment in which to learn and grow.

Lunch will be at the Heinz Hall Garden Cafe with Annie Kaucic, a talented young woman that PPG was fortunate enough to have as an intern last year. I love the atmosphere there, and the fact that the restaurant helps to support Heinz Hall’s operations.

In the afternoon I’ll spend time reviewing applications from nonprofit organizations seeking funding. The primary focus of our grantmaking is to develop tomorrow’s leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. We’re committed to supporting educational programs that help young people across our communities to develop an interest in—and passion for—science-related fields and also help advance their academic and career activities.

I’ll take the bus back home and enjoy dinner on our patio with my husband, Bud. We’ll be grilling filets from McGinnis Sisters, along with homegrown zucchini from a friend and baked potatoes.

Tuesday, August 2:

I’ll start my morning off with a global conference call with colleagues in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We anticipate that more than 1,600 enthusiastic PPG employee volunteers will take part in Colorful Communities projects in our U.S. and overseas locations this year, and they will be joined by hundreds of additional volunteers from the community.  We find that many of our employees deeply value having a sense of purpose in the workplace. They prefer a collaborative work culture to a competitive one—and that outlook on life suits our goals to give back.

Map showing worldwide PPG Colorful Communities Projects.

I’ll likely eat a packed lunch; I’m trying to stick to a Weight Watchers program and have to face the weekly weigh-ins (it’s not easy)! Then I’ll go for a lunchtime walk along the river. I love walking to The Point. We’re lucky to have so many great public spaces in our city—like the fountain in PPG Plaza that I get to walk past every day (my granddaughter loves it, too!).

The afternoon will bring about more project and grant reviews, including those that support our employee engagement efforts. We offer a range of programs that encourage PPG employees to support their communities and give back to causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Through special matching gift and volunteer grant programs, we are able to provide funding to eligible organizations where employees make donations or volunteer their time.

In the evening I’ll meet with fellow board members of the German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue (GSP Rescue) at the Double Wide Grill in the South Side. GSP Rescue volunteers shelter these dogs in our own homes, evaluate them, get them necessary veterinary care, and provide a warm and loving home as they await their new family. We also participate in dog events around the city providing awareness of the breed and collecting funds to support veterinary costs.

If there’s time after dinner, my husband and I will ride our bikes along the trails. He bought me a new bike for my birthday and we enjoy cruising the Mon River Trails to close out the evening.

Wednesday, August 3:

In the morning, I am meeting with colleagues at the Carnegie Science Center. This fall, we plan to launch a new PPG/Carnegie Science Center “Science On the Road” program that engages children in aerospace technology. Our PPG Aerospace portfolio offers unique products and services; we’re cutting-edge with our research and development in this industry. And we hope to pass along to young people the passion for innovation—something that’s key to the aviation industry.

If the weather is nice, I’ll walk by the river after lunch again. I’ve missed a few walks lately with the high heat and humidity!

Sue’s granddaughter at the PPG sponsored Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood exhibit at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Sue’s granddaughter at the PPG sponsored Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood exhibit at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

I love hot dogs and root beer—everyone deserves to indulge, right? So, I’ll probably stop by Franktuary—my favorite hot dog spot. I take Heinz ketchup on my dog; no mustard. And the root beer, it has to be Dad’s.

Thursday, August 4:

In the morning I have another conference call with international colleagues. We’ll be finalizing paint specifications and volunteer activities for 20 of our 30 global project sites. In particular, our site in Denmark will be quite expansive with plans to have PPG employee volunteers revitalize the area surrounding the housing at Høje-Gladsaxe, located near a company facility, which will include the creation of a large mural with the help of local artists. PPG has been in Soborg since 2012, when Dyrup became part of our Architectural Coatings EMEA business.

In the evening I need to return some books to the Carnegie Library branch in Plum. I love taking my three-year-old granddaughter, Adalyn, to the library. It’s so important to encourage kids to learn to read, even at a young age. And between the two of us, we rack up the books!

Friday, August 5:

Friday morning and afternoon I have meetings with corporate leaders to discuss employee engagement in volunteer activities, and how to continue to encourage their community service and spirit. Our 47,000 employees donate thousands of hours annually across 70-plus countries, really showing how as a global company we are making meaningful impacts at a local level.

For lunch, I’ll invite my hardworking colleagues to join me at Nola on the Square. I’m a huge fan of their Oyster Stew.

After lunch, I’ll attend Weight Watchers at PPG with PPG friends. Sometimes I worry about the weigh-in—all those hot dogs, you know!—but it keeps me accountable and usually gives me satisfaction that I’m on goal, so in a strange way I also look forward to it. I also enjoy the support that I get (and hopefully give as well) from fellow participants from PPG and other downtown firms. I’m proud to report that I’ve lost approximately 18 pounds since November but who knows what my weigh-in will be after summer vacation!

Saturday, August 6:

I’ll take my granddaughter to the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which PPG sponsored. She loves to sing and play pretend, so the exhibit is a perfect place to make some memories together.

Sue’s rescue girl, Roxy.
Sue’s rescue girl, Roxy.

Then I’ll work alongside the 25 PPG Women’s Leadership Council volunteers who will kick off our Colorful Communities project at the YWCA Homewood-Brushton Child Development and Education Center. We’re painting four classrooms for preschoolers, so they’ll be excited to return and learn. The bright colors do more than welcome them—they encourage creativity!

Saturday evening is PPG Employee Night at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. We’ll recognize and celebrate our employees’ hard work and contributions—and we’ll have a little fun together. We know that acknowledging our employees’ achievements is important.

Sunday, August 7:

Sunday is a day of rest and family time. I’ll take my girls for an extended walk in the morning and maybe dive into a few books I have half-read!  I’ll attend Plum Unity Community Church with my family. Maybe some gardening. And often a family dinner at home (cooked by my husband—who does all of the cooking) with my daughter, Rachel, my son and his wife, Ryan and Lauren and granddaughter, Adalyn. Six people and seven dogs—my son and family have three dogs, my daughter has one and our three!

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...