Café Momentum PIttsburgh

Board of Directors

Julie Strickland- Gilliard is a community-focused change agent with over a decade of cross-functional organizational development experience within the social impact sector through planning, targeted communication, partnerships, and resource optimization. Julie identified her passion for supporting Pittsburgh-based non-profits and strengthening their ties to the local community while working in the office of Institutional Advancement at the University of Pittsburgh as a student.  Early in her career, she worked for the Allegheny Link under the Office of Community Relations at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services where she was the first point of contact, providing counseling, resources, and referrals to individuals in need. Julie went on to become the Program Manager of the Community Partner’s Program at Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit dedicated to improving health in communities in need by sharing and distributing surplus supplies rescued from the US healthcare system.  These items included durable medical equipment, incontinence supplies, formula/diapers, personal hygiene, and nebulizers. Scrubs, clinical supplies, furnishings, and latex gloves distributed through the program went to healthcare workers in smaller clinics to increase their capacity to serve more patients. Within the first year of Julie running the program, 30 partnerships with nonprofits and health centers were established to directly distribute supplies to the community or use supplies to increase their capacity to serve patients and clients throughout Western PA. She later became the Director of Domestic Medical Aid which included management of the Community Partner’s Program, working with government officials, healthcare professionals, community organizations and community leaders to develop projects that support public health goals by improving access to quality healthcare and needed materials, internationally and domestically. 

Julie was appointed to serve as Western Pennsylvania Director for Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in January of 2019.  She managed the 26 western counties in the Commonwealth for his Office, interacting with elected officials and their offices as well as constituents, businesses, and advocacy groups to address their concerns.  Julie worked closely with Pennsylvania’s Second Lady, Gisele Fetterman, on her initiatives to make Pennsylvania a kinder, healthier, and safer place. During COVID-19, she worked collaboratively with the PA Department of Health, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and the Allegheny Department of Health to assist with the pandemic response.  Additionally, she served as Pardons Liaison for the Lt. Governor’s Office working with Board of Pardons applicants, the community, elected officials, and briefing the Lt. Governor on cases and applicants scheduled to appear before the board requesting a pardon or commutation. Julie served on several task forces during her time in her position including the nation’s first City-Wide Task Force on Employee Ownership (Pittsburgh), The Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force on Health Disparities, and The Governor’s Task Force on Dismantling Systemic Racism. 

Julie is a proud lifelong Pittsburgher and resides on Pittsburgh’s Northside with her family. 

Current Leadership & Service 

Julie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Café Momentum. Café Momentum includes a restaurant and culinary arts training center for justice-involved youth ages 15-19.  The Café is not only a training facility but provides the holistic support youth in the program need to thrive. Julie is also a member of the Board of Directors at the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation which focuses on improving the health of the HIV+ and LGBTQ+ communities. She will be entering the next board cycle at The Midwife Center of Greater Pittsburgh in the Fall of 2022.  

Kirk is a Senior Vice President – Senior Portfolio Manager with Merrill in Pittsburgh and has been in the financial services business since 2000.  He is a graduate of Purdue University, holds CFP® and CRPC® designations and co-manages a 10-person, $1B+ financial advisory practice in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

He was born and raised in California, graduated from Lake Forest High School in Illinois, college in Indiana and then moved to Pittsburgh.  He currently lives with his husband in Pittsburgh’s historic Highland Park area.

Kirk’s other charitable activities begin with being a trustee for The Pittsburgh Promise (which provides four-year scholarships to qualifying graduates of the City of Pittsburgh schools) and a Trustee of the Frick Art & Historical Center.

Rachael Heisler is the Deputy Controller for the City of Pittsburgh where she oversees the daily operation of the City Controller’s office. She spent seven years as a senior advisor at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the country’s leading federal fiscal policy think-tank, running the organization’s external affairs efforts.  She served on the staff of Congressman Jason Altmire for six years and worked on the inaugural Senate campaign for U.S. Senator Bob Casey.  

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree from Penn State University.  Rachael is also on the board of the Northside Food Pantry Advisors, the Allegheny YMCA, and the Allegheny City Central Association.  She serves as the Pennsylvania representative with the United States Navy’s Community Ambassador Program and is the chair of the City of Pittsburgh’s 22nd Ward Democratic Committee.