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!”


Kira Kellner
Manager, Programming and Development

Best way to overcome a creative block: Stand up, clear your head, take a walk.  Focus on something else for a minute and it will come back to you when your brain is ready.  Favorite Pittsburgh Space: PPG Wintergarden during the holidays, I love seeing the city all decorated and lit up for Light Up Night.  Close second is the strip district on a Saturday morning.  There’s really nothing more “Pittsburgh” than all the sights, smells, and black & gold. Favorite food: Anything grilled over a fire.  Once the weather clears, I make it a point to cook outside as much as possible. Mantra: “Trust your crazy ideas!” and “Your energy introduces you before you even speak.”


Marissa Dello Russo
Membership Marketing & Communications Associate

Best way to overcome a creative block: Drink some coffee and take a walk. Caffeine is my best friend, and a walk helps clear my mind. It’s the perfect way for me to refresh. Favorite Pittsburgh Space: Mt. Washington at sunrise. It’s the best way to start any day. Favorite food: An Italian hero, followed by my own peach pie. Mantra: Try everything once.


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 17 years.  It’s satisfying to help communicate the value they add to society. Favorite Pittsburgh space:  Enginehouse No. 25/Roberto Clemente Museum Favorite food: Summer corn, potato, tomato salad: Summer reading list: Nordic mysteries/the new Louise Penny Mantra? Don’t sweat the small stuff.