Staff Members

Michelle Fanzo
Executive Director

Best way to overcome a creative block: Get out of your head. Stop trying to make your brain do something and instead move your body. Yoga, cross-country skiing or kayaking tend to work for me. Another way is to cut myself off from all distractions and let my thinking be less cluttered and more expansive for a number of hours – like when walking in the woods or on a long-haul flight.  Most significant lesson learned: a. Be ready for what comes up. b. Work with it. c. Be ready to let it go. Favorite food: Oysters (followed by ice cream) Summer reading list: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain (fascinating), Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson, United by Corey Booker, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Mantra? “Less is more!” 

Rachael E. Kelley
Assistant Director, Programming & Development

Best way to overcome a creative block: Step away. Go on a walk. Take a shower. Favorite Pittsburgh space: I don’t know that I have a favorite space. My favorite place is my home. However, I do like the energy of the space under the Convention Center as it leads to the river from the city. Most Significant lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong. Own it, don’t dwell on it, and move forward. Favorite food: Where do I begin? I can tell you what I don’t like. It’s a short list: blood sausage. It’s really the only food that I truly hate, and I’m an adventurous eater! Summer reading list: Pinterest. I don’t have time to read books. I’m renovating a house and I just had a baby.  Mantra: “Manage expectations.” 

Natalie Grandinetti
Membership Marketing & Communications Associate

Best way to overcome a creative block: Either get comfy with a hot cup of tea, sharp ebony pencil, and a sketchbook or start knitting and make up a pattern as you go. Summer reading list: I’m happy if I find the time to open the BBC World News app on my phone. Favorite Pittsburgh space:  The riverwalk and walking back and forth across the three sister bridges. Favorite dessert: Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Maya Henry
Editor, Columns Magazine

Best way to overcome a creative block: Take a walk, ride a bike, get moving and away from the computer. Time is valuable, why AIA?  I’ve worked with architects in different capacities for over 16 years.  It’s satisfying to help communicate the value they add to society. Favorite Pittsburgh space:  Enginehouse No. 25 Favorite food: Summer corn, potato, tomato salad: Summer reading list: Nordic mysteries/the new Louise Penny Mantra: Don’t sweat the small stuff.