Each year we are given the opportunity to take stock and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives – family, friendships, good health and good fortune. At Luminari, we are especially grateful for all of the positive, talented and valuable colleagues (both past and present) who have shared their gifts over these last eight years to help us grow our small, Pittsburgh-based non-profit.
It is with this spirit of Thanksgiving, that we welcome the newest member to the Luminari Team, Ilene Hurwitz Schwartz, as Director of Operations. With Ilene’s wealth of knowledge in marketing and executive experience working in the corporate environment, we are set to move into the next phase of our growth. Her dedication to improving and building more dynamic relationships with partners, parents and organizations will drive Luminari’s long-term planning and community outreach efforts.
While she is new to the position, Ilene is certainly no stranger to Luminari, having served on the board since our founding in 2009. Ilene is passionate about working with organizations that are invested in providing meaningful experiences that have a tangible impact on the individuals they serve. Ilene’s enthusiasm for inspiring young people to embrace different perspectives and value the characteristics of kindness, civility and respect coincide with our mission.
“I am very excited to join Luminari as director of operations and look forward to working with everyone on the team. When I became a board member, I knew we were positioned to accomplish something important and unique for students throughout western Pennsylvania. Nine years later the results show we have accomplished that and so much more. We are now ready to build upon a solid foundation and reach even more young people,” Ilene said.
“Her experience as a marketing specialist will help us focus on developing and implementing multiple strategies that will expand both Luminari’s reach and impact,” said Hilda Pang Fu, Luminari Founder and President. “We are very fortunate for the skill set that Ilene will bring to the position. With her creativity, drive and commitment to our shared values, I look forward to working with her to broaden minds and to spread our message of dignity and respect. I know she will be up to the challenge.”
In her new role, Ilene hopes to “encourage more students to participate in our programs in 2018 and beyond. I will soon be visiting many schools throughout our area, speaking directly with students, their teachers, advisors, and parents about our amazing summer camps. My goal is to help encourage a next generation to become leaders in the private, nonprofit and public sectors. What makes me most proud is serving as a mentor to young people. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping someone develop as a leader in their field.”
Ilene has earned two masters degrees, one from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School (now Heinz College) and the other from Duquesne University. Ilene has also served as managing director of marketing for BPU Investment Management, Inc, since 2011. Having worked most of her career in the private sector, Ilene decided now was the perfect time to make the leap to nonprofit work. She has taken a keen interest in meaningful causes, including women’s health, energy and the environment, and financial literacy.
Ilene is the mother of a son – now a young professional living in Washington, D.C. – and her spouse is an attorney. She and her husband enjoy living in Squirrel Hill and partaking in the many great amenities the City of Pittsburgh offers, from the arts and sports to a range of eclectic restaurants. She explained that “growing up in a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania had its benefits, but deep down I will always be an urban dweller.” In fact, in her spare time she enjoys long walks – sometimes up to seven miles (she calls them “urban hikes”) – around Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and East Liberty. She is also an avid knitter (her “meditation”). “Some people can’t miss their yoga class but knitting is my true zen – extremely relaxing,” she said.
Ilene is eager to talk to you about Luminari and its programs. You can contact her at Luminari@luminari.org.