Corporate Diversity at the Highest Levels by Investing in African American Executive Talent

PITTSBURGH -- In a historic effort to help dramatically improve and build the regional presence of African Americans in corporate and nonprofit leadership roles in the Pittsburgh region, corporate executives, city officials and Carnegie Mellon University representatives are joining forces to help create a more diverse, inclusive and prosperous community through the launch of The Advanced Leadership Initiative and the Executive Leadership Academy. The launch will take place on Thursday, May 10, 2018, at 10:30 AM, at the Posner Center located on Carnegie Mellon University's campus.

Home to leading hospitals, self-driving cars, world-renowned universities and six Fortune 500 companies, Pittsburgh is recognized as a growing market. But Pittsburgh trails top markets in a key area – leadership diversity. Creating a more diverse executive landscape is a key to the continued social and economic success for all sectors. African Americans represent 24% of the population of Pittsburgh and 13% in Allegheny County, yet African Americans represent less than 0.1% of Executive Leadership – significantly disproportionate to the population.

Evan Frazier, Founding Director of the Initiative and the Senior Vice President, Community Affairs, at Highmark Health says this Initiative will help to build a continuous pipeline of local executive leaders. "These leaders will be positioned to add significant value to their profession and to the community through their participation in world class leadership development uniquely designed to give African Americans the tools, exposure and training necessary to maximize success in the Greater Pittsburgh region."

"We're very proud of the work that we've done at the county to ensure that our employees, our leadership and our boards and authorities look like the residents of the county that they serve, but we have more to do," said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "The Advanced Leadership Initiative is exciting because it ensures that there is a pipeline and path for people of color to follow within local corporate structures, providing important mentoring and direction so that they can navigate the waters in those organizations, and strengthen our entire region in the process."

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto proudly supports this Initiative and believes that it will help to drive major corporations to the region. "The Advanced Leadership Initiative will not only help to encourage greater diversity in the executive leadership of the corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneurial communities in this region, but innovations like this will also help Pittsburgh continue to grow as a world class city with top notch diverse leadership at the helm. Because of this initiative we will continue to grow as one the most livable cities for all of our residents which is a major attraction for corporations interested in moving to this region."

Some of our region's major corporations are already investing in The Advanced Leadership Initiative as evidenced by Presenting Sponsors: EQT Foundation, Highmark Health, PNC, and UPMC. The Richard King Mellon Foundation is the Lead contributor, with other contributors including: The Pittsburgh Foundation, and BMe Community. Giant Eagle Foundation is the Gold Sponsor and the POISE Foundation serves as the Fiscal Agent for The Advanced Leadership Initiative.

Prominent executives and regional stakeholders will guide the direction of the Initiative ensuring it is focused on outcomes and is successfully addressing the needs of Pittsburgh's African Americans. "This is the bold solution needed to rebuild confidence among rising African American leaders that Pittsburgh is a city that supports them as high-impact contributors in business and civic leadership," says Greg Spencer, Advisory Board Co-Chair The Advanced Leadership Initiative and President and CEO of Randall Industries.

The Advanced Leadership Initiative's signature program in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University is the Executive Leadership Academy. The Academy will provide integrated development, including world-class academic instruction, personal executive coaching, plus the facilitation of structured sponsor relationships. Recruitment for the Executive Leadership Academy has already begun and classes for the inaugural cohort will begin January 2019 in the new state of the art CMU Tepper School facility on Forbes Avenue. "The Tepper School values a diverse and inclusive community, not only because it is ethically and morally right, but because it leads to greater creativity and innovation in our decision making," said Bob Dammon, Dean of the Tepper School of Business. "We are proud to partner with The Advanced Leadership Initiative to extend our commitment to diversity and inclusion to the greater Pittsburgh region."

Some of the region's top CEO's believe that businesses do better when they have diversity throughout the company and especially in key leadership areas. "Successful companies effectively recognize and leverage diverse talent to drive productivity and profits – and outperform the competition. The model of The Advanced Leadership Initiative integrates core skill building with executive mentorship to quickly elevate a participant's contribution within their organization," says Randy Dearth, Advisory Board Co-Chair The Advanced Leadership Initiative and President and CEO of Calgon Carbon Corporation.