2019 Onyx Woman Leadership Award Honoree, Joy Sato, is Evolving with Style


I have evolved over the years through my relationships with people from every walk of life. Some of my greatest, most memorable life experiences have come through my event clients. I have evolved in every area of my life by faith, in giving, and with unconditional love. 

Name:Joy Sato
Title:Director of Special Events
Company:Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Years in this Industry:20 years 

1. Why did you choose this profession?
As a little girl, I liked to clean house with my grandmother, polishing furniture, changing doilies, cleaning silver and copper. Friends and family would ask me to decorate their houses and apartments. I would decorate where I worked. Then I moved into the entertainment industry where I got involved with concerts, Green Rooms, and different aspects of hospitality. I realized I loved serving people. I also had good planning and coordinating skills. Whenever I decorated a place, I always liked adding a level of creativity that made space memorable, even a surprise! I still do! 

2. What role has the support of other women played in your success?
I have built my reputation on the backs of other women who have come before me in terms of faith, values, and a strong work ethic. I’ve always developed friendships with women who were a vital source of information, funding resources, contacts, and comfort. Over the years, I have given many young women who wanted to come into the events industry the opportunity to work at my facility to get the experience, training, and hours they needed to obtain their certification. 

3. What does receiving this award mean to you?
What it means to receive this award is more than I can express. However, it is a testimony on many levels that I have conquered so many limitations, restrictions, and seemingly impossible barriers, and still I rise! This award allows me to stand in a place of honor and unspeakable joy! The times, the culture, and the presence of Black Women today are commanding and incomparable! Someone has felt my heart, seen my touch, and realized that I have poured out an offering that gives me chosen access to an ONYX Woman Leadership Award. For this, I am so grateful! 

4. What advice would you give to other women who want to go into your field? Simply this: If you wish to have a career or a business in Special Events, Event Planning, and the Hospitality Industry, please be advised that this field is not about decorating. 

5. What would you tell other women about overcoming obstacles? Working in Special Events, Event Planning, and the Hospitality Industry is hard work. What you need to sustain yourself in this capacity and work zone must come from within. Credentials, experience, and excellent staff only go so far. 

I reference the OWN theme: “I Can Do It.” You cannot do this work alone!
I say the following with the deepest sincerity: Get it in your spirit that “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Apart from him, you can do nothing.” 

6. What was the bravest thing that you have ever done that got you where you are today?
Learning to play the game and having self-control in the face of the enemy who wants to destroy you, and remembering that some things are better left unsaid. 

7.How have you evolved over the years?
I have evolved over the years through my relationships with people from every walk of life. Some of my greatest, most memorable life experiences have come through my event clients. I have evolved in every area of my life by faith, in giving, and with unconditional love. 

On May 4, 2019, we will be honoring Ms. Sato along with 18 other women who have been selected for their contributions to other women. For early registration, go to https://onyxwoman.com/vip-onyx-woman-leadership-award


WHEREAS, Joy Sato has followed a path in the arts and entertainment realm, in the 1970sshe began her career at Motown Records/Jobete Publishing which gave her the opportunity to work with musical giants including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and many more; and

WHEREAS, for almost 20 years, Joy has been the Director of Special Events for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, organizing events for the Pittsburgh Biennial, Pittsburgh Artist Guilds, The Artist of the Year Celebration, Fiber Arts International, Women of Visions, and the Cultural Awards Gala; and 

WHEREAS, Joy Sato’s event planning skills have raised funds for many of Pittsburgh’s nonprofits such as the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and the Tree Rivers Film Festival; and

WHEREAS, mentoring young artists and students of other disciplines has been Joy’s lifelong passion and her spiritual compassion is always judgment-free and she embraces all who know her, as demonstrated by the welcoming atmosphere at the events she creates, with the diversity she has consistently fought for in the arts; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of her lifelong efforts to create positive change in Pittsburgh, we honor Joy Sato in celebrating both her 80th birthday and her love for the arts, which she has passed on to her talented grandchildren James and Sarah Gilmer.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED  that I, William Peduto, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, do hereby declare May 26, 2018,  “JOY SATO DAY”  here in our most livable City of Pittsburgh.

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