Carnegie Mellon University Hosts Executive Leadership Academy Graduation; The Advanced Leadership Institute Continues to Provide Opportunities for the Advancement of Black Leaders

On Friday, July 22, 2022, twenty-five impressive Black leaders graduated from The Advanced Leadership Institute’s (TALI) Executive Leadership Academy. This seven-module program included over 100 hours of instruction from renowned academic and industry experts; professional coaching; and executive mentoring, which paired each participant with a distinguished executive for hands-on guidance throughout the academy. The Executive Leadership Academy, delivered by Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, is the flagship program of The Advanced Leadership Institute.

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean – Professor of Finance, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, opened the ceremony with a warm welcome. Among her comments, she stated: “Here at the Tepper School we have made a commitment to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in business. The Tepper School is honored to serve as the academic partner for The Advanced Leadership Institute; and we encourage this cohort to continue to make CMU a part of their journey.”

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The official ceremony to mark the accomplishments of these graduates included an inspiring keynote address by Dr. Aleta Richards, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Specialty Films, Covestro. Richards was introduced by her TALI mentee Ida Luchey-Ballard, Chemical Plant Manager, Koppers Performance Chemical Group. Traveling all the way from Dormagen, Germany, the Pittsburgh native inspired the graduates by sharing several leadership truths and words of encouragement: “This is a celebration of your journey to become even stronger wherever you choose to work…and how you are helping yourselves become even greater leaders – that’s what we are celebrating today.”

Cohort reflections were given by Michael Watson, Chief Compliance Officer/Chief Privacy Counsel, Wabtec Corporation: “I have very fond memories as a part of the ELA – we learned, we laughed, we elevated. We learned that even though there might be obstacles, those obstacles are not insurmountable. We learned that we cannot and should not work alone – we have each other and the TALI family.” Watson also added, “ELA is an exercise in self-actualization and affirmation.”

Other special remarks were offered by Jeff Broadhurst, President and CEO, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, who spoke on behalf of TALI’s Corporate CEO Council; ELA graduate Traci Jackson, Contact Center Director, Duquesne Light, who recognized the mentors, faculty, and executive coaches on behalf of the graduating cohort; Shelly Hammond, Vice President of Programs, The Advanced Leadership Institute, who welcomed the graduates into TALI’s alumni; and Dr. Susan Caplan, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, who welcomed the graduates into CMU’s alumni status.

“The 2022 graduates of the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) are shining examples of the abundant Black talent that we have available to our communities,” says Evan Frazier, President and CEO, The Advanced Leadership Institute. “As our fourth ELA cohort, these impressive leaders represent the continued growth of a strong TALI alumni network,” adds Frazier.

Lara Washington, President and CEO, Allegheny Housing Rehabilitation Corporation and Board Chair, TALI provided congratulations to the 2022 ELA group: “On behalf of the board, we are so appreciative of all you have done…In four short years TALI has demonstrated a successful model of how to increase corporate diversity at the executive level. Working together, we are uniquely positioned to be a catalyst for change in our region and become a national best practice.”

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This year’s graduates of the fourth Executive Leadership Academy Cohort include:

Alaine Allen – Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Distinguished Service Professor; Engineering and Public Policy; Carnegie Mellon University, College of Engineering
Caren Caldwell – Associate Vice President, Government Products, UPMC Health Plan
Holly Cundieff – Vice President Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, ARMADA
Clark Delanois – Managing Director, Head of Credit; Risk- Private Banking, BNY Mellon
Justin Denham – Director, Information Security & Business Resiliency, Highmark Wholecare
Tija Hilton-Phillips – Director, Regulatory Affairs, Highmark Inc.
Yarra Howze – Principal, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Traci Jackson – Contact Center Director, Duquesne Light Company
Darryl Jones – Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, City of Pittsburgh
Cynthia Lester-Moody – Director, Operations Delivery and Efficiency, United Concordia Dental, a Highmark, Inc. Company
Lee Lewis, Jr. – Director, Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, Highmark Health
Ida Luchey-Ballard – Chemical Plant Manager; Koppers Performance Chemical Group
Tammi McMillan Marshall – Assistant Professor / Program Director, Carlow University
Badel Mbanga – Senior Vice President, Data Science Group for the Treasury, Management, PNC Financial Services Group
Daillard Paris – Director of Supply & Trading, Sheetz, Inc.

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Renee’ Richardson – Senior Manager, Pharmacy Community Relations, Giant Eagle, Inc.
Ronelle Robinson – IT Director, Human Resources Business Partner, Giant Eagle, Inc.
Tenecia Ross – Director of Human Resources, Mt. Lebanon School District
Frank Tunstall IV – Senior Vice President, Internal Audit Director, PNC Financial Services Group
Chatón Turner – Senior Associate Counsel and Vice President Risk Management and Disabilities Services, UPMC | University of Pittsburgh, Medical Center
Melissa Wade – Director, Constituent Relations, County of Allegheny, Office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
Kuyba Washington – Director, Human Resources, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
Michael Watson – Chief Compliance Officer / Chief Privacy Counsel, Wabtec Corporation
Karen Weiss – Director, Technology Solutions, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
Angela Williams – Director, Call Center Strategy, Portal Administration, UPMC Health Plan

About The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI)

The mission of The Advanced Leadership Institute is to cultivate Black executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities. Its primary focus is to educate, develop, connect, and position Black leaders for executive advancement. TALI has a portfolio of leadership programs, which include the Executive Leadership Academy (a program for Black leaders with at least 10 years of work experience in corporate, nonprofit, government or entrepreneurial sectors); an Emerging Leaders Program (addressing the needs of Black leaders with a minimum of 3-5 years of professional work experience); and ongoing programming and support for TALI alumni.

The Advanced Leadership Institute is supported by major corporations and foundations in the Pittsburgh region, including Founding Underwriters: BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Highmark Foundation, and Richard King Mellon Foundation; Excellence Partners: Henry L. Hillman Foundation and Highmark; Lead Contributors: BNY Mellon, Eden Hall Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments. Presenting Sponsors: Giant Eagle, Highmark Health, PNC, and UPMC. Gold Sponsors: Bank of America, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Covestro, Duquesne Light Company, FHL Bank Pittsburgh, Highmark Wholecare, Koppers, and Sheetz; Silver Sponsor: Wabtec; and Bronze Sponsors: CS McKee, Dollar Bank, Eat’n Park, EY, and Northwestern Mutual.

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