Carnegie Mellon University
January 31, 2023

The Advanced Leadership Institute Announces the 2023 Cohort of the Executive Leadership Academy

The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) and the Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business are pleased to announce the 2023 cohort of the Executive Leadership Academy. TALI has selected 26 powerful leaders have been selected to participate in this seven-month, world-class executive education program that provides leadership development training and addresses the unique experiences Black professionals face in the workplace. As a part of the program, cohort members are also matched with a professional coach and an executive mentor to support them in creating a plan that helps them reach their personal and professional goals.

“As we launch the fifth year of our flagship program, I am excited and honored to see TALI grow with the addition of 26 talented Black executives and senior managers. The 2023 Executive Leadership Academy cohort furthers our mission and vision, and I look forward to watching some of Pittsburgh’s top talent develop and hone leadership skills that will prepare them for executive advancement,” said Evan Frazier, President and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute.

“Over the next seven months, these accomplished leaders will learn transformational strategies to impact their professional and personal development,” said Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean and Richard P. Simmons Professor of Finance at the Tepper School. “As TALI’s academic partner, we are excited to continue the work of creating greater equity in our corporations, organizations, and communities through the delivery of this unique programming.”

TALI and the Tepper School welcomed the new cohort at the 2023 Executive Leadership Academy Kick-Off program and reception on Jan. 27. Program participants were introduced to TALI alumni and constituents and greeted with a keynote address from TALI Executive Leadership Academy 2020 alumna Tracey McCants Lewis, Chief People Officer & General Counsel for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Congratulations to the 26 program participants selected for the 2023 Executive Leadership Academy cohort:

  • Dr. Julius E. Abia, Internal Audit Manager—Projects, Wabtec Corporation
  • Joel Acie, Senior DEI Strategy, Governance and Compliance Manager, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
  • Will Carpenter, Regional Security Manager, VP, BNY Mellon
  • Tricina Cash, Executive Vice President, Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council
  • Michael A. Cherry, Vice President of Human Resources, Dollar Bank, FSB
  • Samantha Custard, Senior Corporate Counsel, Giant Eagle, Inc.
  • Anthony (Tony) DaBreo, Regional Vice President, Northeast Region, Erie Insurance
  • Laura C. Duncan, MHA, MHI, Executive Administrator I, Division of Endocrinology and the Chair’s Office for the Department of Medicine, UPMC
  • Dr. Tinamarie Este, Washington, DNP, RN, PCCN- Director of Nursing, Equity Officer, Allegheny Health Network, Forbes Hospital
  • Samantha Hartzman, Sr. Manager, ESG & Corporate Giving, Duquesne Light Company
  • Della Hollins, SVP, Risk and Control Manager, Senior, PNC
  • Elizabeth L. Hughes, Senior Associate Counsel, UPMC
  • Russell Ivey, Senior Finance Manager, Architectural Coatings US
  • Calvin Jackson, Senior Technical Project Manager, B-Yond
  • Ardana Jefferson, Executive Director, Homeless Children’s Education Fund
  • Bobbie Jean Johnson, Senior Vice President / Director, Retail Technology Operations, PNC
  • Danitra Mason, Controller, The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Delvina L. Morrow, Senior Director, Strategic Community Initiatives and DEI, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Michelle Porter, Director, One Northside, Buhl Foundation
  • Angela Reid-James, Director, Workforce Operations, Highmark, Inc
  • Andrea Robinson, President, ARCLS Corp
  • M. Shernell Smith, Associate Dean & Executive Director for the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Patti Solomon, Sr. Human Resources Business Partner, Giant Eagle, Inc.
  • Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director, Hazelwood Initiative, Inc.
  • Wendy Walker-Graham, Director, Quality Assurance and Operational Integrity, UPMC Health Plan
  • Kellie Ware, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Allegheny County Bar Association

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: FHLBank Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle, Highmark Health, PNC, and UPMC. Gold Sponsors: American Eagle Outfitters, Bank of America, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, CNX, Covestro, Duquesne Light Company, Dollar Bank, Erie Insurance, Koppers, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins, PPG, and Wabtec Corporation; Silver Sponsor: Highmark Wholecare, Northwestern Mutual and Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition; and Bronze Sponsors: ARCHO, CS McKee, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, EY, FedEx Ground, and MSA Safety.

To learn more about The Advanced Leadership Institute, visit