The Three Rivers Business Alliance My Business My Pride Leadership Awards Gala

Equality Careers


The Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) held its My Business My Pride Leadership Awards Gala this past weekend. Presented by UPMC, this celebration recognized and honored outstanding achievements within the Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ business community. The event showcased the innovation and commitment of individuals and businesses dedicated to advancing equality and inclusion. Let’s congratulate recipients and the awards they worked so hard to achieve.


Nicolette Rafalski Spirit of Pride Award:

Winner: Mike Testa, Testa Consulting

Mike Testa received the Nicolette Rafalski Spirit of Pride Award, an award sponsored and presented by 3RBA board member Chris Rafalski. This award is in memory of his mother, Nicolette, who showed unconditional love, acceptance, and support to her son. Testa stands as a beacon of excellence, showcasing resilience, leadership and a commitment to making a positive impact in both the business and LGBTQIA+ communities. He exemplifies compassion and uncompromising dedication which continues to embody the legacy left by Nicolette.


PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ Small Business of the Year Award:

Winner: Brewers Bar

Recognizing commitment in the face of obstacles, Brewers Bar stood out as the PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ Small Business of the Year, showcasing entrepreneurial spirit, vision, and notable success in their field. Brewers Bar & Hotel is the oldest standing Gay Bar in Pittsburgh and pride themselves as a bar for welcoming everyone. A unique place for friends to socialize over drinks, catch up with friends, unwind, and create unforgettable memories.


PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ Large Business of the Year Award:

Winner: Steven Chupkina, Academy of Real Estate Careers

Steven Chupkina, of the Academy of Real Estate Careers, earned the PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ Large Business of the Year Award, exemplifying leadership, commitment, and success in the business world. Their real estate classes will provide you with the education you need for getting your first license, as well as broker and continuing education sessions.


PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ New Small Business Rising Star:

Winner: Alex Robba Cakes

Alex Robba Cake, recipient of the PNC Bank LGBTQIA+ New Small Business Rising Star Award, demonstrated high commitment and leadership as a rising star in the LGBTQIA+ business community. Alex Robba Cake specializes in elegant, luxury wedding cakes. Every wedding cake is a uniquely curated work of art made by hand from inside outward. Utilizing farm fresh ingredients in a scratch kitchen sets Alex Robba Cake apart from any other cake artist.


National Fuel LGBTQIA+ Leader of the Year Award:

Winner: Richard Parsakian, EONS Fashion

Recognizing significant professional and community success, Richard Parsakian of EONS Fashions received the National Fuel LGBTQIA+ Leader of the Year Award for his long-term commitment and leadership in the LGBTQIA+ community. Richard has been involved in the Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ community for over 50 years donating his time producing events and benefits for many of the cities LGBTQIA+ nonprofits. EONS Fashion, located in the heart of Pittsburgh buys and sells vintage clothing & accessories for men & women from the 1880’s through the 1980’s and creates a safe space for the community to explore their individuality free of judgement.


Essential Utilities Excellence in Creative Arts Award:

Winner: Duane Binion, True T Studios

Duane Binion, of True T Studio, was honored with the Excellence in Creative Arts Award for supporting and employing LGBTQIA+ artists and creatives, adding vibrant colors to the world. True T Studios is a community arts and wellness center that provides meaningful resources to improve the quality of life for LGBTQIA+ people of color.


Testa Consulting Technological Innovation Award:

Winner: Jessica Eberley, Equality Careers

Jessica Eberley, founder of Equality Careers, earned the Testa Consulting Technological Innovation Award for harnessing technology to advance the LGBTQIA+ community and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Equality Careers is a welcoming and inclusive job board that connects the LGBTQIA+ community & allies with progressive employers that are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Covestro  Chamber Member of the Year Award:

Winner: Micah Caporali, Endo Pharmaceuticals

Micah Caporali, of Endo Pharmaceuticals, was recognized as the Covestro Chamber Member of the Year for exemplifying the values of 3RBA and making significant contributions to its leadership and success. Throughout his entire professional career Caporali has worked in procurement and supplier diversity with the goal to advocate for underrepresented business owners including those who are LGBTQIA+ owned. Caporali helped launch LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Groups across three different companies and served as the inaugural co-chair for each one.


Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Champion in DEI:

Winner: Virginia Culbreath, Allegheny County Airport

Virginia Culbreath received the Champion in DEI Award for actively demonstrating excellence in promoting and practicing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within Allegheny County Airport. Culbreath plays a pivotal role being the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Administrator. She plans, directs, and coordinates the organization of outreach programs as well as furthering their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Culbreath is a beacon of leadership and inspiration to everyone she meets.


Pittsburgh Penguins Inspiration in The Workplace Award:

Winner: Bradley Wilkins, Key Bank

Bradley Wilkins, of Key Bank, received the Pittsburgh Penguin Inspiration in The Workplace Award for actively contributing to economic development, job creation, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Wilkins assists clients in his local community to succeed in achieving financial wellness. He also spends time mentoring his peers, friends, and employees to ensure they thrive. Wilkins is a positive influence on those he interacts with inspiring passion in them and to be more present and involved. He is always willing to provide a helping hand to anyone in need.


Enterprise Equitable Health Institute  LGBTQIA+ Ally Business Award:

Winner: Jessica McConnell, Goodwill Industries

Jessica McConnell of Goodwill Industries was honored with the LGBTQIA+ Ally Business Award for actively promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and community. Jessica is actively engaged in the Pittsburgh community and serves on the board of Metamorphosis Begins, an LGBTQIA2+ nonprofit that is working to provide sober living facilities in Westmoreland County.


UPMC  LGBTQIA+ Community Champion Award:

Winner: Shawn “Spike” Smith, Smith Construction Management

Shawn “Spike” Smith received the UPMC LGBTQIA+ Community Champion Award for outstanding volunteer support in advancing the mission of 3RBA and other LGBTQIA+ organizations. Smith played a pivotal role in creating the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee for the Pennsylvania Kiwanis district where he currently serves as chair. In response to a Kiwanis clubs’ refusal to admit and LGBTQIA+ student he created the groundbreaking workshop “LGBTQ and YOU”. The first in Kiwanis history that address LGBTQIA+ topics and inclusivity. This led to the creation of its first non-discrimination policy. Smith emphasizes the importance of selfless giving and profound love and is an inspiration for the future generations.


Nelson Mullins   LGBTQIA+ Emerging Leader Award:

Winner: Jordan Botta, Duquesne Light , Political Candidate

Jordan Botta, a political candidate and member of the GIS team at Duquesne Light, received the LGBTQIA+ Emerging Leader Award for achieving success and demonstrating leadership in advancing LGBTQIA+ equity and inclusion. Jordans community outreach spans over several LGBTQIA+ nonprofits and community organizations. He is also involved in local Democratic politics and works to support candidates who support LGBTQIA+ policies.


YWCA  Enterprising Woman of the Year:

Winner: Maria Montaño, City of Pittsburgh Mayoral Spokesperson

Maria Montaño, Mayoral Spokesperson for the City of Pittsburgh, received the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award for her outstanding and innovative leadership in advancing marginalized women entrepreneurs and community members. She is the first ever transgender person to serve as press secretary, communications director, and as the formal spokeswoman for the city. She also currently serves as a commissioner on LGBTQIA+ affairs with Governor, Josh Shapiro and is a member of the Pittsburgh LBTQIA+ Commission.


EnterChange Group Gender Expansive Leadership Award:

Winner: Kristian-Lamar Robinson, Owner: KI Heavy Construction

Kristian-Lamar Robinson, owner of KI Heavy Construction, received the Gender Expansive Leadership Award for distinguished leadership and advocacy for gender and LGBTQIA+ equity. Kristian has engaged in many business programs pursuing further education and secured DBE and LGBT certifications for his construction company. Beyond his profession Kristian actively mentors and volunteers in his childhood community.




The Three Rivers Business Alliance 2023 My Business My Pride Awards Gala was a resounding success, celebrating individuals and businesses that have made significant contributions to the LGBTQIA+ community. The award recipients, each in their unique way, embody the spirit of diversity, equity, inclusion, and inspiring others. On behalf of Equality Careers, Congratulations!


Three Rivers Business Alliance