The Advanced Leadership Institute Celebrates Five Years of Preparing Black Leaders for Executive Advancement

by savoystaff

What started out as an idea conceptualized on paper in 2016, has flourished into a tangible model that is helping to change the trajectory of Black executive leadership presence in Pittsburgh corporations. Launched as an initiative in 2018, The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) to educate, develop, connect, and position Black leaders for meaningful advancement in corporate and community leadership roles. After adding the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) to its programming portfolio in 2021, five successful ELA cohorts, and a robust alumni network, TALI expanded its focus to address the needs of Black senior level managers and executives from across the country with the recent introduction of the National Executive Leadership Academy.

As the landscape of corporate leadership continues to evolve, the principles of servant leadership are gaining recognition for their effectiveness in fostering inclusive and sustainable organizational cultures. Rooted in the notion of leaders serving their teams rather than being served, servant leadership prioritizes empathy, collaboration, and a commitment to the growth and well-being of others. In today’s dynamic business environment, where diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to success, embracing servant leadership principles has become essential for driving meaningful change. Drawing upon the expertise of thought leaders like servant leadership expert Kurt Uhlir, organizations are discovering the transformative power of prioritizing the needs of their employees and communities. By cultivating a culture of servant leadership, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce, foster innovation, and establish themselves as forces for positive societal impact.

The national academy will mirror TALI’s signature ELA program. Launching in August, the program will include three months of online instruction and two, one-week in-person sessions at CMU in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Various topics such as, “Resilience for Executives of Color” and “Global Management and Strategy” will be covered to prepare Black leaders for national and global executive advancement.

“I am encouraged and awed by the fact that this endeavor that we embarked upon five years ago has been so successful and is positively impacting our participants, their companies, and the broader community” says Evan Frazier, President and CEO, TALI. “In 2016, studies found that Black Americans made up 24% of the city’s population, 13% of the county’s population, and 11% of the region’s population, but less that .1% of C-suite leadership. Our programs have been instrumental in addressing this gap, and we are eager to continue building on this critical work through the National Executive Leadership Academy.”

TALI’s programs are delivered in partnership with CMU’s Tepper School of Business and built on four key programming pillars: world-class academic instruction catered specifically to Black professionals, executive coaching, mentorship, and peer networking. Additionally, shortly after completing a TALI program, participants join the prestigious TALI Alumni network where ongoing professional and personal development support is provided. Each of these elements make the TALI model unique and unmatched in its approach and the sentiments of TALI alumni prove this.

Since TALI’s inception, 154 professionals have completed one of the two leadership programs—the Executive Leadership Academy or Emerging Leaders Program. Of these 154 professionals, 104 are ELA alumni. As of 2022, approximately 90% of ELA alumni expressed personal and professional growth as a leader after completing a TALI program. Additionally, 87% of the 2019 and 96% of the 2020 alumni were promoted or assumed higher responsibilities within a 2-year period. When this strong network of TALI Alumni understand the value and power of the programs, they are not only inspired to champion the TALI mission but are also committed to staying tied to the Institute.

In addition to the TALI Alumni network, several other key stakeholder groups help make the TALI family strong and impactful. Aside from a powerful five-person leadership team and group of committed consultants, the Institute’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Corporate CEO Council, CHRO Council, Underwriters, and Program Sponsors, help drive the mission forward. Most importantly, these groups ensure that TALI’s programming initiatives directly align with the needs of area corporations and non-profit organizations committed to growing the pipeline of Black leaders in executive roles.

“To keep growing, we need companies to invest in Black talent and to understand that it’s crucial to be deliberate about investing resources which will create greater leadership diversity,” says Mr. Frazier. “Pittsburgh isn’t the only location with these challenges. As we expand, it’s with the idea of continuing to solidify and take to scale everything we do locally, but then leverage these best practices for national impact.”

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