Steel Smiling | Connections 4 Success

Steel Smiling


Steel Smiling is the primary organization in Allegheny County dedicated solely to bridging the gap between black community members and mental health support through education, advocacy, and awareness. It is their purpose to identify the early signs and symptoms of mental health growth opportunities among black people while promptly connecting them to accessible support. Through productive partnerships within deserving communities, Steel Smiling’s signature program, Beams to Bridges, engages those in need of mental health support on a variety of levels through a village-like network of support. Beams to Bridges offers a unique, intensive curriculum and partnerships with certified mental health professionals to equip black people with knowledge and skills about topics such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD while preparing them to become Community Mental Health Workers in their neighborhoods.


Steel Smiling was fiscally funded in 2019 to launch their signature program, Beams to Bridges. Operationally, Steel Smiling was a team of one personnel with only a program curriculum, strategic mental health partners, and community relationships. Their CEO needed to create and implement operational processes and standard operating procedures quickly to create organizational sustainability, build personnel capacity, establish operational efficiency, and measure overall accountability.


Connections 4 Success conducted an operational analysis and desk review of the Steel Smiling’s drafted organizational plans, logic models, and strategic plan to establish the immediate operational need. Connections 4 Success is currently acting as Steel Smiling’s Chief Operations Officer. We are creating operational roles and standard operating procedures. To date, Connections 4 Success has created 3 personnel job descriptions and roles/responsibilities, 1 organizational responsibility and accountability chart, 2 operational documents, 6 standard operating procedures and organizational processes, and 1 fiscal accountability process.


  • Operational Analysis and Desk Review Assessment
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Process Development Services
  • Onboarding Documentation & Personal Responsibilities


Steel Smiling has integrated two stipend positions—a Community fellow and a University fellow. They have successfully completed the 8-month Beams to Bridges (BTB) program with 20 participants and have received funding to operationally expand the BTB program to an additional 12 week intensive with certification option due to being operationally sustainable. The Executive Director reported a 100% rate of improvement from Connections 4 Success’s services.


Vanessa is one of the most thorough, structured, and decisive professionals that we’ve ever partnered with at Steel Smiling. Without her strategic guidance, our operational infrastructure wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is today. If you’re looking to build processes and procedures that will take your organization to the next level, hire Connections 4 Success right now. Julius Boatwright, Executive Director, Steel Smiling