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Wilson-Batch sets the standard

If you are looking for a definition of what it means to be a Women of Steel in Pittsburgh, there are a lot of amazing adjectives that could be tossed out for the ladies who represent Steelers Nation.

Hard-working, dedicated, devoted, passionate, business-minded, philanthropic, intelligent, kind and the list could go on and on.

But it might be easier to just keep it simple and limit it to just a few words.

Latasha Wilson-Batch.

Wilson-Batch, the wife of former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, epitomizes what the Steelers Women of Steel program is all about, bringing all of those qualities and so many more to the table with the work she does as the Executive Director of the Best of the Batch Foundation and beyond.

To introduce you to her, Wilson-Batch earned her undergraduate degree from Johnson C. Smith University, which included a BS in psychology and a BA in physical education with a concentration in sports management. She earned her Master of Science in human development and sports from the University of Tennessee and a second master's degree from Carlow University in counseling psychology.


Batch's resume is an impressive one, highlighted by being an adjunct professor at Duquesne University in the School of Business for six years. She teaches sports marketing and promotion and strategic business and sports, a capstone course.

"What I love about teaching these courses is there are so many different opportunities for the students," said Wilson-Batch. "I love engaging with different levels of young adults. I don't know everything. They teach me like I teach them. That's always the exciting part about certain things.

"There are so many different ways to make a career in sports. Like I always tell them, if you love socks, every athlete wear socks. There are different ways you could create a brand. You could create different techniques. You could create socks that stop you from sweating, any kind of sock. If you are passionate about it and stick with it, there's always something there.

"I always say there's something for everybody because a lot of times when you go into the sports industry, the first thing they put you in is ticket sales to get people in seats. I always say that isn't the beginning and the end. There are opportunities in everything that you love and you can make it into a passion within the field of sports.

"I told somebody this past semester was the best class I ever had, and I know you are never supposed to say that. But one of the things we do is have a debate topic and convince people of your point of view. It's supposed to be a seven-minute presentation the students give. But this class fell in love with it, to the point where the presentations turned into 22 minutes, 28 minutes because they got into it about their purpose, their stance on certain things in sports. For me it was amazing and touching because I already had every one of these students in my previous class. So, to watch them develop within a year, a year and a half time and to see the thought process and how they're thinking outside the box, it gave me hope for the future. These students were ones who were the pandemic graduating class in high school. It gave me hope that there is still a spark there. Things are still coming back. The creative thinking, the thought processes stuff is there. That actually gave me the additional drive and I'm already looking forward to the fall semester for my new group of kiddos I'll be having in my class."


Wilson-Batch proudly serves on multiple boards and is an active member with numerous organizations. She is on the Advisory Council for Robert Morris Sports Management, Advisory Council for the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, a Trustee at Carlow, a member of Leadership Pittsburgh, Family Advisor for the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, Executive Committee for Off The Field Players Wives Association, and Ladies Council Liaison for the NFLPA.

Oh, and just because it's worth sharing, in her free time, she makes the best mac and cheese you have ever tasted.

While she is passionate about all of the above and pours her heart and soul into everything she does, there is nothing that touches her the way her role as Executive Director of the Best of the Batch Foundation does, a role she has embraced since 2002.

The Best of the Batch Foundation was founded in 1999, fulfilling a promise Charlie Batch made after his younger sister, Danyl Settles, was shot and killed in 1996, in the crossfire between rival gangs in their Homestead neighborhood. Through the Best of the Batch Foundation, they have established themselves as true difference makers, people the community and region can depend on, to be there for the youth in particular to help give them a better future. The foundation has been serving the area now for 25 years and has been built into a force to serve others by the two.

The Foundation was originally housed in a 5,300 square foot building in the Homestead area. Earlier this year, they opened a new 'Clubhouse,' a building that was originally planned for 21,000 square feet, but through additional development is now a state-of-the-art educational facility that is 33,000 square feet. The foundation's mission is to provide children in grades K-12 in Western Pennsylvania free programs focused on education, health and wellness, outreach services and more, with the majority of the activities taking place in the 'Clubhouse,' a welcoming, safe place where kids can hang out with their friends and learn at the same time.

"Latasha did a great job steering the course and making sure that everything aligned to where everything needed to be," said Charlie Batch when the 'Clubhouse' opened. "She deserves more credit than I do with this particular project because she stayed on it. She was making sure whatever detail that needed to be handled, she was on it."

That she did. Much of the construction of the new headquarters took place during the pandemic, causing delays and issues they never could have imagined. But she kept things moving forward and always kept the focus on the kids they serve.

"When I first started, I never thought in a million years that we would have our first building that we were in because I used to do it out of my home," said Wilson-Batch. "Then we found the place in Homestead, a former doctor's office, and turned it into our headquarters. Again, never in a million years did I think we would go from 5,300 square feet to 33,000 square feet.

"Going through construction during the pandemic, when you get shutdown for 62 days and then you get hit with supply chain issues. And then stuff got stuck with the situation in the Suez Canal when a ship was stuck there. And there were price increases from the time we started until we finished on goods that were needed. I kept thinking, is this really going to happen."

It was her diligence, her never taking no for an answer, never letting a setback stop them, that got them to the finish line, while never missing a beat serving the kids in the community.

"A day after the ribbon cutting, when everything was cleaned up and back to normal, I went into the gym at six in the morning when I normally get to work," said Wilson-Batch. "It was still dark, and I went to the gym, and I laid in the middle of the floor on the logo, and I cried. And I still get emotional about it."

After a brief pause to get her thoughts together again, she continued, showing the passion she has for the foundation.

"I was just thinking, God, we did it," said Wilson-Batch. "I remember when I was standing right there, and it was just dirt. And to be able to take a moment to think about the laughter of the kids, the smiles and a safe place for them to be.

"(Charlie) and I used to say, if we don't do this, who will. And we did it."

That, they did. They were honored at the Ireland Funds Pittsburgh Gala this year, receiving the Patricia R. Rooney Community Impact Award, given to leaders who have produced successful organizational initiatives in response to a significant contemporary problem. The foundation focuses on so many issues, from education to mental health, physical education to nutritional needs. And they hit on everything in between.

And every minute of it, from basketball camps, to classes, to wrapping Christmas gifts, brings joy to Wilson-Batch.

"There is so much I enjoy, so much that brings me joy on a daily basis," said Wilson-Batch. "One thing that stands out happened recently. We ask the parents of the kids in our program to engage because all our programs are free, and we ask our parents to engage in order to keep programs free. We ask them to show up four times during the academic year for their child. We were hosting a dinner for our third and fourth grade kids, and we surprised one of the moms, honoring her for giving back to us and being an outstanding parent. She got introduced, and her son saw her and was so proud. He screamed, 'Mommy, you're the best, you're the best, mom.' He kept saying, 'that's my mom.' That moment for me, and of course my emotional self, I'm sitting there boo-hooing because he was so proud of his mom. In those moments, when kids are able to be fulfilled, when they're able to have that look on their face of just being a kid, those are the things that I live for.

"It's seeing kids accomplish things they didn't think they could accomplish, things they have never done, and they take it on. Those moments make me excited to keep moving forward.

"We're not just a one-off program. We create a tradition, a culture and environment for all to be accepted and welcome. And that's what I love."


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