2021 Virtual Connection Event (aka Champagne Luncheon)

Though we were not able to gather in person this year, we are grateful for the 400+ Alumni and emerging leaders from across the region, and country, who tuned in virtually to the Annual Alumni Connection Event.

The 2021 Annual Alumni Connection Event was held over zoom for the first time, featuring a welcome by Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. President and CEO Aradhna Oliphant, The Honorable Rich Fitzgerald, and The Honorable William Peduto. A New Year’s Toast supported by Maher Duessel invited attendees to raise a glass – of coffee, tea, or water – in place of the event’s typical champagne flute.

With the new modality, attendees were able to participate in ‘Mystery Zoom Rooms,’ supported by the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Those dialed into the event were sent to random breakout rooms for informal conversation, and three of those groups were greeted by the Allegheny County Executive, City of Pittsburgh Mayor, or Former Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.

The Honorable Dan Onorato, current Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Highmark Health, then introduced the Briefnote Speaker Professor Rayid Ghani, a distinguished career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches in the Machine Learning Department and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Rayid’s remarks were centered around artificial intelligence and social good. Before joining Carnegie Mellon University, Rayid was the Founding Director of the Center for Data Science & Public Policy, Research Associate Professor in Computer Science, and a Senior Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Previously, Rayid was the Chief Scientist of the Obama 2012 Election Campaign where he focused on data, analytics, and technology to target and influence voters, donors, and volunteers.

To conclude the event, former and current Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. classmates were able to catch up in their own class breakout sessions.

The 50 member Host Committee was led by 2021 Champagne Lunch Event Chair Dolly Ellenberg, LP VII.

Click Here to see photos from the event.