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Announcing the 2017 Lead Now: Pittsburgh Fellows

By December 12, 2017September 24th, 2019One Comment

Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. has launched a major new initiative to develop and cultivate the region’s ranks of transformational community leaders to help meet the social and economic opportunities and challenges arising from the region’s ongoing resurgence.

The program, known as Lead Now: Pittsburgh, will advance the leadership capacity of a diverse group nonprofit leaders in southwestern Pennsylvania who embody potential for even greater impact. Curated by Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. in partnership with the California-based Rockwood Leadership Institute, the program will engage participants in a yearlong fellowship designed to deepen their community impact and connect them with leaders facing similar challenges across the region and the country.

“Pittsburgh is at a critical stage in its development as a region of the future and as a community for all, and these high-stakes transformational times call for highly effective transformational leaders,” said Aradhna Oliphant, President and CEO with Leadership Pittsburgh. “Lead Now: Pittsburgh (LnP) will help equip a growing cadre of civic-sector leaders to become even more effective advocates for social change and equity at a time when those issues have never been more important.”

LnP will provide participants in the invitation-only program with leadership retreats, executive and peer coaching, evaluation and mentorship, and the creation of individual development plans. The program will also encourage participants to take opportunities to collaborate with others committed to the cause of establishing and strengthening an inclusive and equitable community, and provide guidance in deepening professional relationships, refining problem-solving skills, and creating partnerships with national counterparts that benefit their organizations and the region.

The program will launch in January 2018 with an initial cohort of 25 participating Lead Now: Pittsburgh Fellows. Participants in this inaugural group were chosen from more than 150 nominees recommended by regional foundation and community leaders.  Those selected represent a diverse array of community innovators, and demonstrate exemplary personal and organization leadership qualities.

“To grow and sustain robust communities, spaces must be created for social change leaders, organizations and movements to connect and pollinate across issues,” said  Darlene Nipper, Rockwood Leadership Institute’s CEO. “Rockwood Leadership Institute is excited to work with Leadership Pittsburgh in connecting some of Pittsburgh’s most promising civic sector leaders with their counterparts across the country.”

Funding for the initiative was provided with a $500,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments.  “Our nonprofit leaders carry immense responsibility for the health and success of Pittsburgh and the region, yet they are often challenged in advancing their work due to limited resources, guidance, and recognition,” said Janet Sarbaugh, the Endowments’ Vice President for Creativity. “The Endowments is proud to support this investment in the future of our region.”

For more than 30 years, Leadership Pittsburgh has cultivated a graduate network of more than 2,400 civic leaders who work to maximize the potential of the region. Rockwood Leadership Institute has produced leadership programs for over 6,000 social change makers worldwide during its 17-year history.

The Lead Now: Pittsburgh  concept was originally devised in Pittsburgh two years ago after the Endowments and several other area foundations identified the critical role of nonprofit sector leadership in Pittsburgh’s continued successful revitalization. The Endowments invited Leadership Pittsburgh to design a program that would fill the gap in advanced development opportunities for a new generation of established and emerging nonprofit leaders.

The 25 inaugural Lead Now Fellows and their affiliated organizations are:

  • Reverend Paul Abernathy, FOCUS Pittsburgh
  • James Brown, Homewood Brushton YMCA
  • Janis Burley Wilson, August Wilson Center
  • Jennifer Cairns, Sarah Heinz House
  • Veronica Coptis, Center for Coalfield Justice
  • Rosamaria Cristello, Latino Community Center
  • Hallie Donner, Alumni Theater Company
  • Silvia Duarte, City of Asylum
  • Kathi Elliott, Gwen’s Girls, Inc.
  • Trisha Gadson, Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center, Inc.
  • Matthew Galluzzo, Lawrenceville Corporation
  • Carey Harris, PA Early Learning Investment Commission
  • Zaheen Hussain, New Sun Rising
  • James Landis, No One Left Behind
  • Majestic Lane, City of Pittsburgh
  • Ayana Ledford, Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society
  • Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy, Pittsburgh United
  • Heather Sage, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Dr. Andre Samuel, Urban Innovation21
  • Mila Sanina, PublicSource
  • Jake Seltman, Grow Pittsburgh
  • Shannah Tharp-Gilliam, Homewood Children’s Village
  • Sonya Tilghman, Hazelwood Initiative, Inc.
  • Jeremy Waldrup, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
  • Laura Zinski, Mon Valley Initiative


Rockwood Community Call

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September 28 | 12 PT / 3 ET