Barbara Grandinetti has spear-headed The Challenge Program, Inc.’s outreach and recruited talented development and support personnel. Grandinetti opens doors to fundraising opportunities and develops lasting relationships with business partners, foundations and individual donors all with a single mindedness to spread the word about the program. She has a unique ability to discover and tap into people’s special talents needed to grow and expand the program. She is passionate about the program, just ask her!
Grandinetti was integral in creating The Challenge Program, Inc.’s now signature fundraising event – The Crystal Owl Gala held each spring. She helps businesses supporting high schools apply for Educational Improvement Tax Credits in Pennsylvania. Through her efforts, The Challenge Program, Inc. obtained their Non-Profit Organization 50l(c)(3) status of the Internal Revenue Code with contributions to the program being deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Grandinetti was Vice President of Real Estate with Crown American Real Estate Trust. In 1999, she was recognized by Shopping Center Business Magazine as one of the top women executives in the shopping mall industry.
In 2003, Crown American was purchased by PREIT, a real estate investment trust in Philadelphia, PA. PREIT, acquired 26 retail assets from the Johnstown based company. Grandinetti was asked by PREIT to head up the transition team. She accepted and was named Vice President of Special Projects. As the transition began to wind down in the spring of 2004, Grandinetti made her next great career move; joining Dan Perkins in creating, The Challenge Program, Inc.
Grandinetti’s business acumen from her time as Vice President at Crown American and PREIT is why she has been able to lead The Challenge Program, Inc. from a small, local program to one that consistently serves over 100 high schools in three states. Grandinetti is passionate about giving back to communities, through The Challenge Program, Inc. She is often heard saying to students, “You can’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.” Equal to her sense of community and business acumen, is her determination to see students firmly rooted in good habits required for success.
A Johnstown, PA native, Grandinetti attended Mount Aloysius College and Cambria Rowe Business School.
Director of Finance and Operations
Karen Robatin has earned the respect of every employee of The Challenge Program, Inc. for her ability to look ahead financially while learning the lessons of the past. This talent has kept The Challenge Program, Inc. financially sound regardless of the economic climate. Her talents have helped the Program move forward breaking ground in new territories as well as with new ideas.
Calm and objective, Robatin is at the forefront of operations for the organization. She manages staff, benefits administration, background checks and human resources policies. Robatin oversees all TCP event registrations and has a leadership role in the spring signature fundraising event – Crystal Owl Gala – assuring the success of the event’s auction and outcome.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Robatin gained important experience with Beckwith Machinery Company and became the Controller after 12 years of service. A Johnstown, PA native, Robatin attended Robert Morris University earning a earning a Master’s of Business Administration and Indiana University of Pennsylvania earning a bachelor degree in accounting.
Director of Program Development
Sara Jones is responsible for the successful building and expansion of The Challenge Program, Inc. in targeted territories. Jones has successfully added new schools, businesses and counties since she joined The Challenge Program, Inc. in 2015. Among the businesses she cultivated, two have become Major Corporate Partners.
In her expanded role as Director, Jones will continue to direct and mentor the development team, as well as oversee the communications, marketing and operations in the company’s growth and expansion efforts. Jones will assure the professional development of her team and coordinate the hiring of and training of new employees.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Jones gained experience in marketing, sales and event planning in Somerset and with the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. A Windber, PA native, Jones attended The Pittsburgh University at Johnstown earning a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in creative writing.
Program Development Manager
Maria Campieri is responsible for building and expanding our southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia regions. Campieri’s territories include Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland, PA counties as well as Marion, WV.
As a former program supervisor, educator and sales manager, Campieri is extremely passionate about life-long learning and the value of investing in communities. She is determined in playing a pivotal role in establishing The Challenge Program, Inc. in schools and businesses throughout her territory. She values and believes that building strong community relationships and motivating students to define their own success stories will result in positive impacts.
Prior to The Challenge Program Inc. Campieri launched a national, federally funded program engaging senior citizens in volunteer service supporting children in educational settings throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. She worked as a high school social studies educator in a Pittsburgh charter school where she designed and created interactive lessons to bring curriculum alive in her classroom.
Campieri attended Southeastern Louisiana University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education.
Workforce Development Manager
Myra Bernhart coordinates workforce development initiatives between business and education for The Challenge Program, Inc. The responsibilities of workforce management include implementing a client-centered service approach to workforce development among high school students. Bernhart is responsible for ensuring meaningful connections between the schools and businesses as well as new business support for the organization.
Bernhart will focus in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties with career and technology education and grow from this starting point.
Bernhart has a long career history with job training and development having designed and implemented a variety of workforce related projects and programs including youth summer placement.
Bernhart attended California University of PA and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.
Program Development Manager
Dawn Hobson is responsible for building and expanding our central and northereastern Pennsylvania regions. Hobson’s territories include Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Lackawanna, Somerset and Susquehanna, PA counties.
Part of Dawn’s career path was spent raising funds for education throughout central and southwestern Pennsylvania, bringing valuable fundraising experience to The Challenge Program, Inc. She recently spent the past few years as a substitute teacher in Bedford County, PA.
Dawn is a Bedford County native and attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in management.
Program Development Manager, Allegheny County
Faith Collins is positioned in The Challenge Program, Inc.’s newly opened office in downtown Pittsburgh. Collins, along with the Director of Business Development, is responsible for expanding The Challenge Program into the more than 60 high schools in Allegheny County.
Collins’ brings experience in program management and development at nonprofit organizations. This coupled with experience in Pittsburgh education, made her a great candidate to implement The Challenge Program’s mission to build business and education relationships and motivate students to succeed in Allegheny County,
“I’m excited to be a part of the growth taking place in Allegheny County for The Challenge Program.”
Collins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Social Work, from the University of Pittsburgh.
Program Operations Manager
As Program Operations Manager, Anna Gibbs is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of various processes that contribute to The Challenge Program, Inc. mission. Among her responsibilities is the data management of the company’s fundraising software, DonorPerfect, and foundation management, including grant writing.
Gibbs is responsible for all the organization’s marketing and business communications along with coordination of Challenge Program assemblies and award ceremonies. Gibbs contributes to new school development, policies and procedures, program information and staff training.
Prior to The Challenge Program, Inc., Gibbs worked in sales, marketing, event planning and staffing in Johnstown and Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City and has been a freelance writer for Johnstown Magazine. A New York City native, Anna attended the State University of New York at Binghamton earning a bachelor’s degree in literature and creative writing.
Melanie Muha joined The Challenge Program, Inc. in the spring of 2017 as a Marketing/Communications Intern. Her talents for writing, video design and intuitiveness for social media became obvious early on in her internship. In January of 2018, she accepted a permanent position as Marketing Assistant.
In her role as Marketing Assistant, Muha will continue to update social media and create videos and special marketing pieces. She is instrumental in creating a blog where business representatives, educators and students can contribute content. The blog is called “An Inside Look” because Muha started the blog with her own contributions expressing her perspective of The Challenge Program, Inc.
Muha recently received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Communications with a minor in Writing.