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avatar for Leigh Solomon Pugliano

Leigh Solomon Pugliano

Director of Opportunity, New Sun Rising
Founder/Executive Director, Barrels to Beethoven

Leigh Solomon Pugliano is originally from Guyana, South America. In 1984, her family migrated to the United States and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she grew up. After attending the University of Pittsburgh, studying Communications and Urban Studies, Leigh began her professional career working for a luxury retailer managing markets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Her success in this role was guided by her focus on people, service, community, operations, training, and leadership development. 

In 2012, Leigh launched Straightforward Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that specialized in talent management and business development services for startups, small businesses, creatives, and small nonprofit organizations. Leigh’s work at Straightforward Consulting primarily focused on, community engagement, process improvement, and strategic planning. With a greater goal of helping to develop successful organizations that are not only great places to work, but have a positive impact on the community. 

In 2014, Leigh founded Barrels to Beethoven, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the steelpan, an Afro-Caribbean instrument. Leigh is the daughter of a steelpan builder and grew up playing the steelpan and educating communities about the instrument. The organization provides engaging interactive opportunities for the community, primarily youth, to learn about the instruments history, playing technique, and building methodology. Barrels to Beethoven offers steelpan education programs throughout the Pittsburgh area and supports the growth and development of the global steelpan community. 

In 2018, Leigh joined New Sun Rising as the Director of Opportunity. In this role Leigh’s primary responsibility is to help scale established social businesses, creative entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations. Leigh provides business development support through consulting and programs designed to help individuals, community projects, and organizations increase their impact and move towards sustainability. Additionally, Leigh leads the implementation of Vibrant Communities, New Sun Rising’s framework for regenerative community development built upon equity, entrepreneurship, and place. Core Vibrant Community strategies include culture, sustainability, and opportunity, created through planning, resources, and connectivity, in order to create an authentic community identity that directs comprehensive strategies for change. 

In addition to her professional work, Leigh is invested in supporting under-resourced communities in Pittsburgh. She lends her time to volunteering, mentoring, and community building and believes we can all achieve by understanding and utilizing our own strengths while recognizing and building the strengths of others. Leigh lives in Wilkinsburg with her husband David and three daughters Sofia, Stella, and Cecelia.