An Interview with Abi Gildea, Lawrenceville Corporation’s Business District Manager
There are a lot of new faces at the Lawrenceville Corporation! So we took the time to sit down with our Business District Manager, Abi Gildea, to learn more about her role with LC, what she loves about our neighborhood, and what she likes to do when she isn’t out supporting our local businesses!
What is your role in LC (Lawrenceville Corporation)?
I’m the Business District Manager – which means a lot of different things. Resource navigator/connector, relationship builder, event planner, social media/website manager. Overall, I’m here to help tell the world about Lawrenceville and especially our business community, while also making sure the businesses are supported and well connected.
What is a favorite quote of yours?
“I write poetry not because I’m a poet but to exercise my soul, it’s man’s most profound exercise. In general what comes out is incongruous, and it rarely has a theme: it’s more like research into how to think.”
What’s a project you are currently working on that you are excited about?
The summer Sidewalk Sale event has been a good time so far. The business community and myself are excited to see the business district programming brought back to life after the last couple of years.
If you could add something to the Lawrenceville community, what would that be?
More diversity. Pittsburgh has the least amount of Black-owned businesses in the country, so there are a lot of neighborhoods that have a lot of work to do around creating more inclusive environments. But, I think there’s a real opportunity in Lawrenceville since this is one of the most sought after and looked to areas and because of how much success the neighborhood has had in its revitalization; we need to prioritize supporting LV’s existing BIPOC owned businesses and work to create opportunities for BIPOC owned businesses to open and succeed in a place that’s full of resources. We have one of the best business districts in Southwest Pennsylvania, in terms of density and vacancy rates. There’s a lot of work for us to do around welcoming back the groups of people who have been pushed out due to the transition that has been going on for a couple of decades now.
What is something new that you are learning right now?
We’re hosting our Annual Meeting next Monday and the entire board election process has been something I’ve had to learn. How our board is elected, how folks are nominated, etc. The way Boards work has always been something I’ve liked to learn about since entering this type of work.
What was your first job?
The Snack Bar at Ice Castle!
What led you to community development work?
My first job after college was running the Bloomfield Saturday Market, which is a program of Bloomfield Development Corporation. That job introduced me to community development. I’ve always been interested in dedicating my work to benefiting the greater good & serving the overall region of Pittsburgh. I’m from Pittsburgh and really love this city and want to support the people who make it that way.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Outside of work, I spend a lot of time with family and friends. I have a bearded dragon named Skizzy that my fiancé and I spend a lot of time with (he loves figs and apples!). I’m also usually at a local show on the weekend and cooking a new dinner recipe during the week while finishing off the night with an old slasher movie or latest tv show.