Member Spotlight: Lissa Brennan

I had the chance of sitting down with USBG member Lissa Brennan the other week and talking to her about her charity project, TIP the Scales.  It appears to have created a life of its own from her original idea, and I was even fortunate enough to donate $255 from my Cinco de Mayo shift because of her influence.  TIP the Scales has broadened past the city of Pittsburgh and raised $25,000 in January for social causes on Inauguration Day 2017.


LA: Can you explain to us what Tip the Scales is all about and what made you start it?
LB: I have been donating tips from specific shifts as a way of fundraising for variety of organizations for a really long time. It seems like every time I announced that I was doing it, some fellow service industry workers wanted to jump on board and participate and donate their money as well. So it’s just a way of getting other people involved in something I was already doing.
LA: Do you think there are other ways we can use our position as bartenders for social change?
LB:  As bartenders rather than bar owners we aren’t always in an environment where we’re able to speak our minds politically. Some of us are lucky enough to have employers who are okay with us being open about where we stand in front of customers. Some employers prefer that we keep our leanings to ourselves, and that’s fine- our business is hospitality.  But I feel like the same tools that make us good bartenders- focus, organization, multi-tasking, self-direction- also make us good at volunteer efforts.
LA: What are your goals for the program?
LB: To raise more money for more causes.
LA: When you’re not working on this project or bartending, what else do you do?
LB: When I am not bartending I am with dogs, running, watching baseball, running with dogs, writing plays (reading in NYC in June), writing plays about baseball, dogs, traveling, traveling to see baseball. I also watch baseball while bartending and discuss it with patrons whenever possible, and announce dogs passing by to all patrons while behind the bar.
You can find Lissa behind the bar at Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, hanging out with her dog in the Southside, or at PNC Park watching the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Member Spotlight: Lissa Brennan

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