Meet our Staff
We’re small but nimble and extremely dedicated. And that’s a good thing considering how quickly the world changes. Chances are, if you reach out on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be talking to one of the folks below.
President & CEO
Melanie Harrington serves as the first President and CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh, a nonprofit economic development organization that was established to build a more diverse and inclusive Pittsburgh region by spearheading initiatives to attract, retain, and elevate a diverse workforce.
From 2001 to 2010 Melanie served as the president of the American Institute for Managing Diversity, Inc. (AIMD), a national nonprofit diversity think tank founded by Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. and based in Atlanta, Georgia. As president, Melanie directed a broad range of initiatives.
From 1995 to 2001 Melanie served as general counsel for D.J. Miller & Associates, Inc. (DJMA), a national management consulting firm that specializes in serving federal, state and local government agencies. Melanie served as a senior associate at the Ewing Group Law Firm specializing in employment litigation from 1992 to 1995.
She currently serves on the Boards of Sustainable Pittsburgh; the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership; the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh; and the Diversity Collegium (an international think tank of diversity practitioners). She is an expert panelist for the 2016 Edition of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks and a graduate of both Leadership Pittsburgh and Leadership Atlanta. Melanie is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of International and Public Affairs.
Melanie received her Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Psychology.
Patricia (Patti) Bucek
National Director of Marketing and Talent Attraction
Before coming to Vibrant Pittsburgh, Patti was the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for the Harrisburg (PA) Regional Chamber & Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC). In this role, she was responsible for the creation, administration and implementation of programs, organizational structure, operational procedures, budgeting and financial performance, community development and support of membership services, membership growth and staffing. She also oversees the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, communications, public relations and events.
Prior to that, Patti was the Executive Director for the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania, a regional non-profit organization serving 28 counties in the mid-state. Before that, she was a Director of Business Development for Senior Health Management and as a Program Director for Pinnacle Health System in Harrisburg.
Patti attended Clarion State University and Elizabethtown College, where she earned a B.A. in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. She is a graduate of the Leadership Harrisburg Area Executive Services. Originally from Pittsburgh, Patti is a huge Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins fan. She lives in Pittsburgh and Mechanicsburg where she volunteers for several community-based organizations including the United Way of the Capital Region and Open Stage of Harrisburg.
Director of Program Operations
Lora McKnight serves as the Director of Program Operations for Vibrant Pittsburgh, responsible for team management and development, program delivery and evalution of program operations for the organization. Though not a native Pittsburgher, Lora has lived in the city for 10 years and calls Pittsburgh home. Lora received her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Illinois State University.
Member Services Program Associate
Silvia has lived in Pittsburgh for the past 9 years, but she is originally from Peru. Before coming to Vibrant Pittsburgh she worked as a volunteer at the Hillman Cancer Center as a research assistant for the Biobehavioral program. She went to college while living in the UK and has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Southampton, UK. She speaks Spanish, English and French as she also lived in France for 4 years.
Connections Accelerator Coordinator
Jaraya Johnson serves as the connection accelerator coordinator for Vibrant Pittsburgh. Jaraya joined Vibrant Pittsburgh in 2016 and finishing her bachelor’s degree in Global communications at Kent State University. Jaraya has worked for different non-profits throughout both Pennsylvania and Ohio for about 6 years, she is currently in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Public and Non-profit management at the University of Pittsburgh.
Samantha Chilton serves as the Administrative Coordinator for Vibrant Pittsburgh, responsible for the planning and implementation of internal and external meetings and events and for overseeing the day-to-day administration of the Vibrant Pittsburgh office. Samantha has worked in the non-profit arena for 20 years, the past 17 in the Pittsburgh area. She is a native Pittsburgher and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her BA in Communication, with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Media.