Hagir Elsheikh
Hagir Elsheikh is an entrepreneur, an electrical engineer, a registered nurse, the owner/CEO of HSE Staffing Agency, and Tomorrow’s Smile Inc, Talk show host, Producer, Author & philanthropist. She is best known for her Human Rights, Women's Rights activism, domestic violence, and immigration advocacy. She was recognized in 2017 by the Central Penn Business Journal (CPBJ) as a “Women of Influence," was the recipient of the health care hero award in 2017, and was also inducted into the GCU Hall of Fame, representing the College of Nursing 2019. In August 2019 she was named Simply the best community activist as the winner of the “Simply the Best People Award in Central PA.” Hagir published her memoir Through Tragedy and Triumph: A Life Well Traveled and it is available at Amazon. Hagir’s company HSE Staffing is a top nominee for the 2021 Best Place to work
Heather MacDonald
Vice Chair of the Board
Heather grew up in Cumberland County, and credits becoming a parent at the age of 17 as a defining moment in her life. She navigated the systems including WIC, CHIP, LIHEAP to survive. She attended HACC for more than a decade - slowly taking one class per semester to earn her degree. Only 2% of teen parents earn a college degree. Heather has spent the last decade working in real estate and has watched our area grow and change on the street level. She was forever changed by these experiences and works tirelessly to use these real world experiences to help others. She believes our lives could be incredibly improved if we had leaders who understood these struggles and in her spare time works in the community to fill some of those gaps.
Sarah Yerger
Sarah is a busy mother of 3, residing in Hampden Township. With nearly two decades of administrative experience in the field of Home Care for Seniors, Sarah is currently employed by HSE Staffing Agency as a Project Manager. She also does scheduling and post-production work for The Hagir Show, which airs every Monday on Facebook and seeks to plug listeners into local politics, activism,and community building. Sarah considers herself fortunate to have flexible employers who allow her to be an active volunteer and advocate in the community. She has been instrumental in starting a number of local political committees and volunteer groups, including the Stitchers Corps of Central Pennsylvania, a group of nearly 900 volunteers who came together at the beginning of COVID19 and handcrafted, donated, and distributed nearly 50,000 cloth masks to those in need. Sarah has also had the immense privilege of volunteering on a number of political campaigns and is currently serving as the Campaign Manager and/or Treasurer for several Candidates and Elected Officials.
Jill Beck
Attorney Jill Beck has dedicated her career to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice. Raised in Pittsburgh, Jill knew from a young age that she wanted to be an advocate for the underserved, and it was her passion for protecting those without a voice that drew her to the practice of law. Before graduating at the top of her class from Duquesne University School of Law, she served as a counselor at a residential facility for adjudicated delinquent girls, as an assistant forensic interviewer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Child Advocacy Center, and as an AmeriCorps Fellow working with adolescents on probation. Following law school, Jill chose to work for the nonprofit organization KidsVoice, where she represented abused and neglected children in court proceedings and beyond. Jill’s service at KidsVoice involved not only ensuring that the legal rights of her young clients were protected, but that their basic human needs were met — food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, education, and a safe and loving family. Jill represented up to 225 children at a given time before magisterial district judges, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court. KidsVoice honored her for her advocacy in 2008. In 2010, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Allegheny County gave her their Children’s Voice Award. Jill’s experience advocating for children led her to want to serve from the other side of the bench in Pennsylvania’s appellate courts. She spent the next 10 years in public service as a law clerk under the Honorable Christine Donohue on the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Jill drafted decisions for criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and orphans’ court cases that were grounded in the law and achieved substantial justice for individuals, families, and businesses across the Commonwealth. In the fall of 2019 Jill became a civil litigator at Blank Rome, a law firm she selected because of its commitment to providing free legal services to those who cannot afford them. While in private practice, she continued to help the underserved in Pennsylvania’s legal system, representing victims of domestic violence, assisting those experiencing housing insecurity, supporting low-income criminal defendants seeking to secure the same constitutional protections as those with means, providing guidance for low-income civil litigants who represent themselves in court, and volunteering to aid in voter protection efforts. Jill has been a member of Blank Rome’s Pro Bono Coordinating Committee and has been involved in the firm’s work to address systemic criminal justice reforms, civil rights, and voter protection issues. She was selected to co-chair a pro bono group aimed at protecting an individual’s right to protest. She also served two terms on the board of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Allegheny County Bar Association. Jill graduated college with honors with a degree in criminal justice from The George Washington University. She currently resides with her husband and two children in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where she is an active volunteer in her children’s classrooms and in her community. Her local civic efforts have included heading a drive to provide holiday gifts to children living in homeless shelters, organizing a program to furnish food-insecure children with backpacks filled with school supplies, and as a board member for the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition – a neighborhood-based organization that supports area residents, institutions, and visitors. Jill also managed sue’s run4kids, a charity event she founded to honor the life of her mother and to raise money for Pennsylvania teens in the foster care system. Jill knows firsthand that justice is served only when every person – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or income – has fair and equal access to the courts. She is committed to ensuring that justice in Pennsylvania truly is for ALL.
Ellen Corbett
Board Member
Ellen Corbett was born one of 7 children and grew up in the Harrisburg area. She is a graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School and West Chester University. She currently resides in the Colonial Park area with her husband, Dan, of 23 years and her children Delia and Mitchell. She is currently the Director of RFP & Client Messaging at United Concordia Dental, a Highmark company. She has a total of 13 years working for Highmark Health and has also worked for Astra Zeneca and Novartis in sales roles. Ellen has been involved in several non-profit and volunteer organizations such as The Junior League of Harrisburg, United Cerebral Palsy of Central PA, the Hogar Miguel Orphanage in Guatemala and the schools and church that her family has been part of for many years.
ElShafei Dafalla
Board Member
ElShafei is a sculptor, photographer, painter, and installation artist with a special interest in sound. His work is noted for its political engagement with different world cultures and has been celebrated for its capacity to create solidarity among communities and peoples across political, cultural, and racial differences. ElShafei's journey with art began at age thirteen, when he was recognized as a videographer. At age nineteen, he had his first solo exhibit which included sculpture, drawing, and calligraphy. At age twenty-four, he was elected a member of the Sudanese Artists Association Executive Committee. His work also includes documentation of the lives and cultures of the Umbororo, a nomadic group in Sudan that hosted him for two years. In addition, he documented the life histories of more than fifty Sudanese artists through photographs and biographies for the African Studies Center at Cornell University. In 2001, Elshafei moved to the United States, arriving just in time to participate in a major exhibition of Sufi and Muslim artists in New York City in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In 2004, he was awarded a Visiting Artist Residency at the Center for Afro-American and African Studies and the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a fellowship to pursue his Master of Fine Arts in 2005. In 2007, he was awarded the University of Michigan's Martin Luther King Spirit Award, and his experiences traveling with the Umbororo in Sudan led to a public sculpture installation, called “Umbororo Crossing,” which won him the Golden Paintbrush Award from the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2008. That same year he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts, and his installation “Delirium” was selected for exhibition at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. Elshafei has participated in more than fifty exhibits worldwide, and his work is part of public and private collections in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He continues to lecture and to exhibit his work, holding artist residencies, participating in community building activities, and creating performative installation events around the U.S. and internationally.