Elizabeth Lewis, M.Ed. is the Director of STANDING FIRM. Beth brings to STANDING FIRM in-depth leadership experience in the non-profit sector including major organizational development and program direction at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and consulting roles with the Magee Women’s Research Institute and Foundation. After starting her career in victim advocacy and service delivery design for rape and child sexual abuse response systems, she joined the for-profit arena in the Employee Assistance field, implementing multinational corporate EAP’s and local employer programs across western PA. Beth is a member of the Ethics Committee as Children’s Hospital and has published articles and presented at national conferences on Patient and Family-centered Care.

You can reach Beth at: or 412-894-4571

Senior Account Executive

Mary Onufer, M.S. is the Senior Account Executive at STANDING FIRM. She is the point of contact for STANDING FIRM’s Members and is our primary trainer. Mary has worked in higher education for 24 years and comes to Standing Firm with deep experience in online education having designed and taught fully online undergraduate and graduate programs in business, technology and cybersecurity as well as hybrid and on-ground courses. In her role as Assistant Professor, she served in various leadership roles and as project manager for new program development. She was awarded the Excellence in Graduate teaching award and remains a member of the Atkins Center for Ethics at Carlow University. Mary nurtures a deep commitment to social justice and volunteers for the American Cancer Society and Conversations on Race-Detroit.  Her latest publication is a chapter titled The Role of Financial Institutions in Combating Human Trafficking in the textbook Human Trafficking, Interdisciplinary Perspectives by Mary Burke, 2021.

You can reach Mary at: or 412-894-4569

Program Associate

Karen Sellers is the Program Associate at STANDING FIRM.  Prior to joining STANDING FIRM, Karen worked for 35 years in the financial services industry with 26 years at the executive level. She brings compassion, empathy, leadership, compliance, coaching, policy, training and regulatory experience to her current role. Additionally, Karen is a Certified Master Life and Business Coach with a focus on Facilitation and Employee Engagement. Prior to moving into her current role, Karen was a volunteer at the Women’s Center and Shelter for eight years

You can reach Karen at or 412-894-4568

Meet our Founder!

Patricia Cluss, Ph.D., is the Founder of STANDING FIRM and continues to work with us as a Special Projects Consultant. Retired from her faculty position in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she works as a licensed psychologist and consultant for regional nonprofit and health-related organizations. At Pitt, she engaged in research and program development in partner violence, smoking cessation for special populations, and pediatric obesity and published a number of articles about partner violence in academic journals. Dr. Cluss has been an expert member of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Intimate Partner Violence Homicide Review Team and a consultant for a PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency-funded research project at the University of Pittsburgh that is describing the methodology and impact of batterer intervention programs in the region.