Meet the storytellers and emcee for this year's Evening of Oakland Storytelling

Join us on Friday, June 8 for OPDC's annual fundraising event, An Evening of Oakland Storytelling. Meet this year's emcee, Geovette Washington, and our featured storytellers, Brian Burley, Ralph Falbo, and Tara Sherry-Torres.


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Geovette Washington serves as Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Legal Officer of the University of Pittsburgh and is an Oakland resident. She provides legal advice, counsel, and support for University faculty and issues, including athletics compliance, commercial contracts, environmental regulation, and much more. Prior to joining Pitt in August 2015, Geovette served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the White House and as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce. She began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. and special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Walter E. Dellinger III. Geovette also spent 14 years working in the District of Columbia litigation firm, Baach Robinson and Lewis PLLC (now Lewis Baach Kaufman Middlemiss). Geovette was raised by two public school educators in Greenville, Georgia and was a summa cum laude graduate of Wesleyan College prior to receiving her JD degree from the Duke University School of Law.


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Brian Burley is the bestselling author of YNGBLKPGH, CEO of Burley + Company Enterprises, a proud alumnus of Schenley High School, Morehead State University, and an MBA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. A Pittsburgh change agent and leader in diversity and inclusion advocacy, he was named a 2015 BMe Community Leader for creating and promoting positive imagery for the next generations of Black Pittsburgh. He was also recognized by the New Pittsburgh Courier as one of 2016’s and 2017’s 40 Under 40, and was a 2017 Men of Excellence Awardee. Brian’s work has been featured by WHIRL Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Courier, WPXI, and WQED. His book, YNGBLKPGH, has been adopted as required reading for multiple college courses and high school and elementary school curriculums around the region. Brian owns several local businesses and is currently building out a foundation with his wife to consistently push representation into the forefront of our most valuable asset, our children. Brian lives in Stanton Heights, where he is happily married to his wife, Brittini, and is a proud father to his son, Jackson Ross.

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Ralph A. Falbo is the founder and current President of Ralph A. Falbo, Inc. The firm has been in existence for thirty-nine years and has been involved in the production of over four thousand dwelling units valued at close to one billion dollars. Ralph has extensive experience in developing housing for elderly and limited income communities and helped pioneer campus-style elderly housing, a newer market in the field of social-service related real estate. He also continues to work with clients whose mission is to address the physical, mental, and emotional needs of individuals through housing.  Recently completed projects in the Pittsburgh area include Doughboy Apartments in Lawrenceville, the 3030 Water Street Apartments on the South Side, and 151 First Side Condominiums Downtown. In addition to Ralph’s real estate development work, he also served as a board and committee member for numerous organizations, including UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation, Angel’s Place, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Southwest Region, the Riverlife Task Force, and the Urban League of Pittsburgh. After graduating from Schenley High School, Ralph studied Business Administration at Duquesne University. He currently lives with his wife in downtown Pittsburgh and is the proud father of two children and grandfather of three grandchildren. 

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Tara Sherry-Torres is a social worker, community organizer, and passionate advocate for people. For over 15 years, Tara has worked in neighborhood-based organizations focusing on nonprofit management, social service delivery, and economic and community development in both New York City and Pittsburgh. While working as a community organizer for OPDC, Tara led a two-year community process involving over 400 people to create the Oakland 2025 Master Plan. Tara received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Puerto Rican and Latino studies from Brooklyn College and a Master of Social Work from The University of Pittsburgh. She has been featured as a panelist on NPR’s “Going There With Michele Martin” and named one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40, Post Gazette’s People to Meet, and Creator of the Year by Pittsburgh’s Technology Council. Tara loves ice cream, the beach, and cats.

For more information, visit our event page