Press Release: Empowered in Pittsburgh Book Launch

Please check out this press release for Empowered in Pittsburgh – the book of which I am a co-author.

It discusses the launch event last week.

Stay tuned for details on how to order a copy of the book from me.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    

CONTACT:  David Slusarick

724-550-4493 Ext. 9

September 6, 2012

                  It can be difficult for young adults to learn the ropes when attempting to become engaged in their communities and advance their professional careers.  Lessons are learned through trial and error, and through advice passed down from individuals with more seniority and experience. However, through the collective efforts of eleven standout community activists, a new resource exists for emerging leaders.

An event Thursday evening in Pittsburgh’s North Hills neighborhood celebrated the launch of a book of collected wisdom from young leaders across the region.  Co-authors and a group of about 40 rising community leaders gathered at the Fox and Hound Pittsburgh for the official release of Empowered in Pittsburgh, a book that intends to engage area college students, graduate students, young professionals, and lifelong learners.

Empowered is the third book released by Tom Baker, who is an author, publisher, speaker, and founder/Chief Program Officer of Get Involved! Inc.  Through deeply personal, and often emotional stories from Baker’s network of co-authors, the book encourages individuals to extend their handprint into the community, and become connected to others who hold similar goals. Each story encourages individuals to have the courage to pursue their goals and get involved in projects that are meaningful to them.

“Ask yourself, ‘Why not me?’” Baker said to the event attendees.

One co-author in attendance at the book release, Ashley Boynes-Shuck, said she is a true believer in taking advantage of every opportunity, and building networks to expand social and professional circles.  Boynes-Shuck has overcome several obstacles, including a recent brain surgery, and wages an ongoing battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“I have these conditions but they don’t have me,” Boynes-Shuck said.

Boynes-Shuck’s personal challenges have prompted her to be a health advocate who has been recognized by the Dr. Oz website, ShareCare Now, as a Top 10 Online Rheumatoid Arthritis Expert.  She addresses her journey in the chapter, entitled “The Power of Putting Yourself Out There.”

Also represented at the event were Emmai Alaquiva and Jamar Thrasher, co-authors of the chapter “The Stakes are High.” Alaquiva rose above homelessness to become an Emmy-award winning music producer and founder of Hip Hop on L.O.C.K., which immerses disadvantaged youth in every aspect of the music business.

Thrasher, a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University and a partner at Kennedy Blue Communications, chose that Alaquiva’s inspirational story inspired him to become Communications Director of Hip Hop on L.O.C.K.

“Hip hop is a driving force in the world,” Thrasher said. “Hip Hop on L.O.C.K. utilizes skills students have, and uses hip-hop to empower them.”

“It will be nice to get so many perspectives and outlooks on leadership and getting involved,” said event attendee Chris Driscoll, who said he planned to purchase a copy of the book that evening.

The perspectives represented in Empowered in Pittsburgh include individuals who live and work outside of the City of Pittsburgh, but who still represent leadership in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Uniontown native Matthew Dowling, a rising executive with the Boy Scouts of America, and founder of a community improvement fund and charity holiday gala within his county of Fayette, authored the chapter “Getting Involved: Many Methods, Many Motivations.” Dowling praised the diverse backgrounds and talents of his co-authors.

“There’s something for everyone in this book,” Dowling said. “You will identify with each of these individuals, and you’ll be touched by their stories. You can use their practical advice as a blueprint for creating your personal and professional future.”

Carlow University has, in fact, adopted Empowered in Pittsburgh as a guidebook, of sorts, for its students.  Baker gave a preview of the book to students who attended a university event on August 26.

“The eleven co-authors have woven terrific best practices and strategies within their personal stories,” Baker said. “Readers will be inspired by the unique ways they have made a difference and are making our area a better place to live and work. The co-authors have experienced tremendous success in the business, non-profit, government, and arts sectors.”

Baker has spoken with over 30,000 students and civic leaders about getting involved in their communities, finding a passion to lead and serve, and making a lasting impact. He serves on the North Hills School Board, is the current President of National Speakers Association Pittsburgh, and holds the position of Chief Community Affairs Officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.

Chaz Kellem, Vice President of Get Involved!, Inc., of which Baker is the founder, and Manager of Diversity Initiatives for the Pittsburgh Pirates, said the book’s message is consistent with the mission of the “Get Involved!” Movement: “It’s very important for young professionals to be engaged, stay engaged, and have an impact on their community. Tom has captured the essence of getting involved… and how a person can use the power of networking to take their career to the next level.  There’s no better way to [succeed] than to find your passion and put it into action.”

“Tom Baker’s books have influenced me,” said RJ Thompson of Zola Design, who is a Professor of Design at Youngstown State University. “This project has a tremendous value.”

A Fayette County release party for Empowered in Pittsburgh is being planned for December 8, at a location to be announced.

The book can be found at a number of venues in each author’s local community, and at several online distributors.

-# # # #-


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s