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NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER Government/Business CONNIE PORTIS


Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity


Department of the Auditor General and Co-Publisher


Of the Greater Pittsburgh Black Business Directory


As a state employee and founder of her


own publication, Connie Portis works to provide equal opportunities through her day job and her business. Serving as as- sistant director of equal opportunity for the Department of the Auditor General under the leadership of Auditor General JackWagner, Portis is responsible for the department’s statewide employee equal opportunity programs. She is also founder of Renaissance Publications, where she publishes “Renaissance News” and the “Women’s Yellow Pages”; and created the Black Extravaganza Trail- blazer Awards and the Womanpower Seminar for African American Women. She and her brother, Richard Portis, now publish the “Greater Pittsburgh Black Business Directory and Resource Guide”. In addition to other services, Portis is a past boardmember of the Society of Human Resources Professionals and Toast- masters in Harrisburg, Just Harvest, and Pittsburgh Regional Minority Purchasing Council; and is a board member of the Greater Pittsburgh Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. She has re- ceived more than 100 awards for her work in the greater Pittsburgh community. She is most proud of hermentorship of the women who have worked with her over the years and of the Young Achiev- ers recognition at the Black Extravaganzawhere over 200 youths andmore than 300 trailblazerswere recognized. She is themother of two sons, has four granddaughters and three great grand children.


GRACE ROBINSON, LUTC,MBA Owner


Grace Robinson Insurance Agency The first Black female State FarmAgent in


Pennsylvania, Grace Robinson shattered barriers no one saw falling and went on to start businesses that would inspire others to do the same. After years of working with State Farm she founded the Grace Robin- son Insurance Agency to continue selling State Farm as an independent business owner. Seeking solutions to aid young peo- ple in need, she founded Tomorrow’s Fu- ture Inc. in 1992. The mentoring, en- trepreneurial and job training program has helped more than 370 students over the years, many of whom have moved on to college and professional careers. The pro- gram includes a visit to the Cleveland Fed- eral Reserve Bank and closes with an essay contest where winners receive scholar- ships, other certificates and cash rewards. Additional community involvements in- clude membership with The Women and Girls Foundation and The African American Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the boards of the Technology Leadership Institute, the University of Pittsburgh and is a sponsor of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Robinson has received several honors, including the Jefferson Community Champion award, the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA Racial Justice Award, the National Association of Women Business Owners Pittsburgh Founder’s Award and the Volunteer of the Year State FarmInsurance for the North East Zone, among many others. She is a mother of two girls.


WOMEN OF EXCELLENCE 2011 Business


AUGUST 10-16, 2011 25


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