The outgoing and dynamic Maris Bondi of UPMC Health Plan has appeared on “Good Morning America,” published work in the Journal of the American Medical Association and is an accomplished public speaker. This week, the Shadyside resident shares why she will “never move away from Pittsburgh again,” and how we can all join her in celebrating International Women’s Day.

What upcoming work events are you excited to attend?

I’m on the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council’s (WLC) Executive Committee, and we have several upcoming events I am excited about. We are launching our first-ever She Inspires Me campaign tomorrow in honor of International Women’s Day. We hope to rally the community to celebrate women and raise funds for the WLC’s signature initiative, United for Women, which supports local women faced with a short-term crisis, such as losing a job, escaping a domestic violence situation or meeting basic needs. You can give in honor of a woman in your life — your mom, a co-worker, friend, neighbor — and they will receive an e-card with a special note. Helping women in my community is a passion of mine, and I’m excited to join United Way in this effort.

Also coming up is the WLC’s annual Wine Tasting on March 22. It’ll be at Heinz Hall and there are exciting activities planned! It’s always a fun event and great for networking with other women in the community.

Write three words to describe Pittsburgh:

Just three? I would have to say resilient, compassionate and innovative. If I could add a fourth, it would be culturally historic. You can see so much of our populations’ heritages alive and thriving every day. There are a lot of cities of comparable size that lack the authenticity that Pittsburgh has.

Best part of your job?

Working at UPMC Health Plan is always motivating and challenging. I love the people I get to work with every day. I was recently promoted into a broader role, and I now have the opportunity to engage with different areas in the company — it’s been an amazing experience. My role also still includes oversight of UPMC Health Plan’s community outreach, which has always been a passion of mine. I’m extremely fortunate to be a part of the UPMC family.

Maris Bondi

Maris Bondi with Robert Dauer, Patti Dodge and Howie Schulberg at the National Aviary’s Wings & Wildlife event. Maris is a member of the Aviary’s board and Chair for their 2018 Night in the Tropics event in July. Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

Your wish for Pittsburgh?

I hope that Amazon chooses Pittsburgh for its HQ2. New jobs, new people, a new company — all making Pittsburgh even better than it already is. There would be challenges, but nothing our city and its residents couldn’t overcome.

How does Pittsburgh inspire and inform your work?

Pittsburgh is one of the most generous and philanthropic cities. Working within a city that understands the importance of addressing community needs really helps guide what we do and how we do it.

If you could expand the T to one neighborhood, where would it go?

I’m an East Ender, so selfishly, I would say Oakland and Shadyside.

Best thing about Pittsburgh or Western PA?

From its culture, arts and restaurants, to our beautiful parks in the city and throughout the nine Allegheny County Parks, we have so much to offer everyone at every age. I was born and raised here; after leaving for seven years, I came back and will never move away again for just those reasons.

Maris Bondi

Maris attending United Way’s Campaign Celebration with Diane Holder (President & CEO, UPMC Health Plan and Executive Vice President, UPMC) and Scott Lammie (Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, UPMC Insurance Services Division). Photo by Ted Wiegand.

Favorite Pittsburgh view?

I grew up in Squirrel Hill and we went to the hill in Schenley Park to get a magnificent view of Downtown. It is a great place to watch fireworks, too!

Best PGH brunch spot?

Park Bruges in Highland Park. It’s a great, cozy bistro with amazing food. Park Bruges’ sister restaurant in Point Breeze, Point Brugge, is also great for brunch. Both are on my favorite lists for lunch and dinner, too — the food, the staff and the atmosphere make you want to be a regular.

What Pittsburgh museum do you visit the most?

I am a regular at the Aviary … and Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Museum of Art. We are so fortunate to have these wonderful institutions here. I just had the opportunity to tour the CMNH with Director Eric Dorfman, and he’s made great changes with many exciting things to come.

At what Pittsburgh restaurant do you always order dessert?

Butterjoint in Oakland. They have delicious desserts!

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