The members of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors serve three-year terms. Elections are held annually, usually in May. To vote in the next election become a Just Harvest member.
Paul Seif, President
Paul lives in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, with his wife and two children. Paul has observed that in Bloomfield fresh, quality food can be hard to affordably access – especially outside of farmer’s market season. Paul also has personal experience with fresh and quality food scarcity, having lived on state assistance for part of his childhood, and growing up in Portland Oregon, where stark divides persist between the quality and freshness of foods available across ethnic and socio-economic divides. Paul worked for 10+ years as a development officer in Portland. At that time Paul also served on two boards. Paul is glad to be serving alongside the Just Harvest board members, staff, and volunteers to “feed” Pittsburgh’s vibrant and diverse future.
Michelle Knoll, Vice President
Michelle works as a developmental therapist with Achieva. In 2019, she founded Progress Through Pages. This nonprofit aims to increase book ownership for children in underserved communities. Michelle also belongs to the Montour Trail Council, Airport Area Friends, DKG (an educational organization promoting education and those entering the field of education), PA League of Women Voters Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, and Ohio Township Democratic Committee. She has served as a board member for North Boros YMCA, and earned a Master Gardener degree through Phipps Conservatory. Michelle was a candidate for PA State House in District 44 in 2018. “As I prepare to run again, I want to make sure that those residents of Pennsylvania who are hungry, displaced, under-served, and underpaid have an advocate in the State Capital. Serving on the board will inform my decisions in Harrisburg about programs that serve those that need them the most.”
Colleen Young, Secretary
In 2021, Colleen became the Director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership at the Forbes Funds, where she supports regional nonprofit organizations, including Just Harvest, to unify their voices and leverage their collective power to access robust resources and to advocate for just policies that address critical issues facing our communities. Prior to that, she was the Director of Community Programs at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development where she served in multiple roles over 12.5 years. There, she supervised the Family Support Policy Board for five years, partnering with Just Harvest to promote advocacy to improve services and support for children and families. She has volunteered on multiple advisory committees for Allegheny County Departments of Human Services and Health, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Women for a Healthy Environment. Across her career, Colleen has partnered with multiple community-based organizations to support the co-design of solutions to complex issues. She is deeply committed to advancing the leadership of those with lived experiences to make decisions that directly impact their lives. She joined Just Harvest’s board in 2019 “to support the work to uproot the multiple forms of systemic injustice that keep families in poverty.”
I. Kristine Bergstrom
Kristine is a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services, providing direct representation to low-income clients in elder and consumer law programs. She came to Pittsburgh from Nevada, where she managed a law office that provided free legal services in programs covering housing, public benefits, bankruptcy, consumer rights, tax controversies, family law, economic development, and prisoner reentry. A graduate of Cornell Law School, she has also practiced disabilities rights law.
Tamika is the program supervisor at Pittsburgh Mercy, a part of the Trinity Health System. She has more than twenty years of experience in program administration, colleague development, colleague management, investigative, medication administration, policy and procedure development, and supportive services. Her emphasis is advocating for vulnerable persons, such as those who are diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and/or mental illness, by way of education, collaborating, self-centered plans, and training. She received a bachelor’s degree from LaRoche University in leadership and is currently enrolled in the Healthcare Administration Master’s program at Rasmussen University. She is a current Pittsburgh resident and is dedicated to serving as a quest to all persons to ensure all people are living rewarding, satisfying everyday lives by utilizing positive approaches, respect, and dignity for all of humanity.
Sr. Barbara Finch
Sister Barb has been a Sister of St. Joseph for more than 40 years. She remains committed to changing institutional structures that cause oppression, hunger, poverty, or the diminishment of human dignity. Formerly nurse at the Allegheny County Jail, Sister Barb is well known throughout the justice and peace community as well as the interfaith community. Her greatest gifts are consensus building and networking.
Just Harvest is an organization that Jeannette has admired over the years because “it’s a nonprofit that fights economic injustice issues in a holistic way. The clear vision that free income tax preparation is as important to eliminate poverty as access to a caseworker or the ability to go to a farmer’s market with food stamps for fresh produce is inspiring” and why she is glad to have the opportunity of rejoining the board. Her community involvements include the Civic Leadership Academy-City of Pittsburgh and being a member of the Allegheny County Green Team, which supports sustainability efforts within the County workplace. Her favorite quote, of Jane Addams, is on every email she sends out: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” It’s a sentiment that she wholeheartedly agrees with. Jeannette lives in Pittsburgh’s East End.
Suzanne has a PhD and taught in social work programs at the University of Northern Iowa and Edinboro University of PA following a number of roles at Allegheny County Children and Youth. Her research has focused for a number of years on food assistance, primarily SNAP and the operations of the informal food assistance network, particularly food pantries.
Samuel A. Sierra
Samuel was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a bilingual first-generation family that immigrated from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in search of work and advancement opportunities. In 1990, his family relocated to Washington, DC, and started inner-city outreach missions in DC’s poorest projects where he served and saw first-hand the need for programs that provided food security and expanded access to social services with dignity. Samuel attended the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences graduating in 2004 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Professionally, he has worked for several top-tier engineering and consulting firms including Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp, Booz Allen, Accenture, and Northrop Grumman in which he honed his strategic and tactical multi-disciplinary skills in business consulting, business analysis, and engineering. Currently, Samuel is a member of PNC Bank’s Diversity & Inclusion Marketplace Team within the Corporate Responsibility Group. He is applying his talents to drive the strategic growth of diverse customers in support of PNC’s commitment to providing expanded access to critical financial services to diverse populations in new and existing markets. He is also a DJ and music collector that plays events throughout the Pittsburgh area. Samuel relocated to Pittsburgh in 2011 with his wife, Lyndsey, and is the proud father of two children, Greta Cruz and Eloise Rose.