Carnegie Mellon University hosts Executive Leadership Academy Graduation; The Advanced Leadership Institute continues to provide opportunities for the advancement of Black leaders.

Isabella Moreland

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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.”


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.”


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.

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