Women of Influence: Tracey Evans’ word cloud tells a lot about who she is
By Richard Cerilli – Special Projects Editor, Pittsburgh Business Times
Tracey Evans is a founding member of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. (WCDC) and became the organization’s first full-time executive director in 2010. In addition to her work at the WCDC, she chairs the Wilkinsburg Municipal Authority and Wilkinsburg Borough Commercial & Industrial Development Authority. Evans served two terms as an elected council person for the Borough of Wilkinsburg from 2006 to 2013.
If you could switch jobs with anyone for a week, who would you choose and why?
Terry Gross, host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, NPR. A tremendous opportunity to meet an eclectic cross-section of fascinating people, to listen and learn, and to have a lot of fun. I am certain that Terry would truly enjoy a week in Wilkinsburg and love to share our story with all of her listeners.
What three words best describe you?
Independent, determined, optimistic
What’s your top piece of advice to women starting out in the workforce?
Ask for help. My first job included securing properties for theatrical productions, which involved cold-calling businesses, asking for donated items, often unusual and obscure objects. I was 18, not from Pittsburgh, and armed with the yellow pages. I had to learn quickly. It takes practice and confidence to ask people to help, to volunteer, to share their work experience and their knowledge.
What’s the biggest challenge to maintaining work-life balance?
A few years ago Facebook created a word cloud based on your posts. My cloud was made up of the words Wilkinsburg, community, development, revitalization and restoration, with a sprinkling of tiny fonts for family — Graham, Emily and Lola our puppy dog. My work is my life and I love it, so balance is not a challenge.
Describe an ideal day off …
An ideal day off for me starts with an early morning hike in Frick Park with our dogs. Cooking a family breakfast of blueberry pancakes, tofu scramble for Graham, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Working in the yard, gardening for several hours. Practicing the piano for a couple of hours, trying to improve my skills. To finish the day, I enjoy cooking a delicious dinner to share with friends.
What college course would you most like to teach?
Long-term strategic planning and implementation. (AKA – How to create strategic plans that don’t sit on a shelf and get dusty.)
Education: B.S., business administration, Point Park College
First job: Properties coordinator, Pittsburgh Playhouse
Family: Son, Graham Evans; daughter, Emily Evans
Hobbies: Gardening, cooking, hiking, swimming and playing the piano
Community involvement: Leadership Portfolio Program, Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership; mentor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh; founding member, Wilkinsburg Community Art and Civic Design Commission; Wilkinsburg delegate, CONNECT (Congress of Neighboring Communities)