The Advanced Leadership Institute and Carnegie Mellon University Graduate the Inaugural Cohort of the National Executive Leadership Academy

Isabella Moreland

The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are proud to announce the inaugural graduating cohort of the National Executive Leadership Academy. Since 2019, TALI has engaged CMU Tepper Executive Education to help develop and deliver content that educates and develops professionals from Pittsburgh through TALI’s signature program — the Executive Leadership Academy. However, this year marks a significant milestone with the expansion of the program to a national level, positively impacting professionals, organizations, and corporations throughout the country.

TALI’s National Executive Leadership Academy is a competitive program administered in partnership with CMU’s Tepper School of Business to prepare Black leaders from across the country for national and global executive advancement. TALI’s national cohort includes leaders with at least 10 years of work experience in the corporate, nonprofit, government, or entrepreneurial sectors in any US market. The National Academy is delivered in a hybrid format including three months of online instruction, plus two, in-person one-week sessions at CMU in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Throughout TALI’s national program, participants benefitted from academic instruction specifically geared to the unique challenges Black professionals face where various topics, such as “Resilience for Executives of Color,” “Asset Framing,” and “Global Strategy and Management” were covered. Additionally, participants benefitted from executive coaching, peer networking, and mentor identification support.

“Congratulations to all the graduates of the National Executive Leadership Academy! This has been a phenomenal year, and the cohort was exceptionally talented and engaged throughout the program,” says Evan Frazier, President and CEO, The Advanced Leadership Institute. “This is just the beginning of the great things that we anticipate happening through TALI as we begin to expand our impact nationally. We are grateful to our academic partner CMU Tepper School of Business along with our sponsors, boards, faculty, speakers, coaches, staff, and other members of the TALI Community who helped to make this inaugural National Cohort year a success.”

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean, Richard P. Simmons Professor of Finance, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business expressed her thoughts about the graduating cohort: “We are so pleased with our continued partnership with TALI during its national expansion. We are equally excited about the impact this inaugural national cohort will make within their organizations and communities, contributing shared expertise and experience.”

The graduation ceremony will take place on December 8, 2023, at Carnegie Mellon University. Kevin Walker, President and CEO, Duquesne Light Holdings and TALI Board Member will deliver the keynote address, while members from the TALI and CMU families will celebrate this milestone alongside the cohort.

Congratulations to the outstanding 16 graduates:

Douglas Blanchard – Former Assistant Dean, AB Freeman School of Business, Tulane University (LA)

Alina Butler – Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Wabtec Corporation (TX)

Stephan Coleman – Market Managing Director, Assets, PNC (CA)

Faith Cooper – Regional Director, Southern Border, International Rescue Committee (VA)

Jean Denis – Vice President, IT – Services & Customer Experience, Wabtec Corporation (PA)

Adaora Emembolu – Human Resources Director, Benefits, Giant Eagle (FL)

Darrell Farewell – Executive Director, Finance & Administration, Wake Forest University School of Business (NC)

Juliet Igboanusi – Innovation Alliance Manager (Energy Efficiency), North America, Covestro LLC (TX)

Melonie Jackson – VP, Human Resources, UPMC (PA)

Michael Keeler – District Managing Director, FedEx Ground (TX)

Zak Koné – Capital Investment Portfolio Management, Director, North America, Covestro LLC (TX)

Chymeka Olfonse – Managing Director, Adults & Household Supports, Robin Hood Foundation (NY)

Oluwatosin (Tosin) Otulana – Head of Procurement, New Programs, BAE Systems (TX)

Darren Pagan – Managing Director, FedEx Ground (NJ)

Raquel Ettrick Thompson – Managing Director, Divisional Global Head of Technology, Cyber Risk Management & Third Party Governance, BNY Mellon (GA)

Derek Williams – Vice President, Key Accounts Serving Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Wabtec Corporation (TX)

About The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI)

The mission of The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) is to cultivate Black executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities.

TALI is supported by major corporations and foundations 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: American Eagle Outfitters, Bank of America, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, CNX, Covestro, Dollar Bank, Duquesne Light Company, FedEx Ground, FHLBank Pittsburgh, Golub Capital, Koppers, PPG, and Wabtec Corporation; Silver Sponsors: Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition; and Bronze Sponsors, which can be found here.

To learn more about The Advanced Leadership Institute, visit