Wednesday, October 29, 2014

VOLUNTEER PROFILE: Diversity of International Activities Helps Cathy Shader Broaden Her Horizons

By Elizabeth Furiga

Cathy Shader learned about GlobalPittsburgh while reading the morning paper three years ago. She saw a letter to the editor from a man who volunteered as a driver for visiting dignitaries hosted by GlobalPittsburgh. He spoke highly of the organization and explained the many ways it had enriched his life. Cathy became curious and looked on the GlobalPittsburgh website. She found she could volunteer in the office, which she has done one day a week ever since.

Volunteer Cathy Shader (front
left) with interns Mariana Centeno,
Vase Mitev and Elizabeth
Furiga (author of  this article).
"I am a caregiver for my elderly mother and I was getting very isolated doing that," she said. "I needed to broaden my scope and this has given me the exposure that I wanted."

GlobalPittsburgh relies on a network of volunteers to help carry out programming and activities. Volunteer opportunities include driving distinguished visitors to meetings, hosting visitors for dinner, and assisting the staff in the GlobalPittsburgh office, which is where Cathy spends her time.

Volunteering for GlobalPittsburgh not only broadened her scope, but it also taught Cathy about the city where she lives. Through her work on preparing itineraries for international visitors, she has learned how vibrant Pittsburgh is, both through the people as well as business, research, and the ongoing cultural exchanges. She often finds herself wanting to share what she has learned with her friends.   

As an office volunteer, Cathy has many duties which vary from week to week. Typically, she arranges appointments through phone calls and email, helps organize information, and searches for restaurants in the area for visitors' itineraries. 

In her time at GlobalPittsburgh, she has also seen many interns come and go. One of her favorite parts of the job has been serving as an example and showing interns how to follow procedures and answer the phones to help the organization run smoothly.

After three years as a volunteer, Cathy has many stories about helping to make cultural and global connections. One of her favorites involves a group of MBA students at Duquesne who were invited to participate in an economics competition. 

"Their assignment was to come up with an economic plan for an energy company in Canada, Suncor Energy," she recalled. "Shortly after that, there was a group of Canadian professionals coming to Pittsburgh. Gail Shrott, [Director, International Leaders Program at GlobalPittsburgh] knew about the students participating in the competition. One of the Canadian visitors participating in that program worked for Suncor Energy."

Cathy made a phone call to the students' professor, arranging for the Canadian visitors and the students to meet. A connection was made, and for Cathy, that's the most exciting part about GlobalPittsburgh, "Connections that you had no clue were out there to be made, somehow Gail and the organization makes them happen," she said.

When she is not volunteering, Cathy enjoys cooking and reading as well as biking and cross country skiing with her husband. She also recently welcomed her first grandchild.

When asked why she has continued to volunteer, Cathy was ready with her response, “There’s always something different going on. Even though it’s the same procedure, there’s always a new group of people coming in, there’s always a new topic, and it’s certainly been interesting."

(Elizabeth Furiga is an intern with GlobalPittsburgh. She is majoring in Slavic Studies and Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh.)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

GlobalPittsburgh All-Stars Re-Uniting for Play for a Purpose Soccer Tournament Nov. 15 - Support the Cause!

The GlobalPittsburgh All-Stars soccer team is coming back together to defend their championship title in the Cameroon Football Development Program's Play for a Purpose tournament on Nov. 15 at the University of Pittsburgh's indoor Cost Center.

Composed of international players now living in Pittsburgh, as well as some local talent, the team won the tournament in November 2013. This year, the team is also helping raise funds for CFDP's programs. (You can learn more about their efforts working with youth soccer programs to provide opportunities for growth and advancement in Pittsburgh and Cameroon at

GlobalPittsburgh is asking for your support of this year's team. All money raised will go to CFDP. Please make your secure donation with a credit or debit card by CLICKING HERE or on the Donate button below.

Players also are being recruited for this playing/fundraising effort. If you or anyone you know would like to participate, please contact Thomas Buell, Jr., GlobalPittsburgh's Director of Development & Marketing (and team manager) at 412-392-4513 or

Support the team and the CFDP cause!

Thanks to Emeka Carter and E Properties & Development for their generous support.