In 1984, the National Black MBA Association, Pittsburgh Chapter, was established with the goal to uplift minority professionals and to assist them in their quest for employment. Today with the tagline—empowering visionaries—their mission is to promote an intellectual and economic wealth generation within the community.
As a professional membership organization, chapter president Kevin Cameron says the group’s mission is to increase the number of successful Blacks in the business community. Sharing the philosophy of the national chapter, he says the mission will be accomplished by providing innovative programs to stimulate their intellectual and economic growth, building partnerships with key stakeholders who help facilitate the growth and by increasing awareness and facilitate access to graduate management education programs and career opportunities in management fields.
With the vision to become the premiere Black professional organization in the greater Pittsburgh region by 2012, Cameron says he and the executive committee’s goals to accomplish such an undertaking are to increase the membership base, to increase partnerships, to increase career opportunities for the membership, as well as partners looking to diversify their workforce, to provide professional development opportunities and to prepare young people for their future by sponsoring the Leaders for Tomorrow Program. Noting the urgency of such goals, he says, “Our organization is needed more than ever before as a result of the difficult economic environment and the impact it has had on our constituents. People and organizations are faced with issues of employment, mortgages, credit, health care, education, growth, new industries and more. The National Black MBA Association, Pittsburgh, must be a source for solutions.”
Cameron says the chapter had a good 2008 and their plan is to continue to build on those successes. He pointed out that membership has grown to 130 and major partners include PNC, Prudential Financial, UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School.
With the uplifting of youths, a significant goal this year during their annual Scholarship and Recognition Gala, Cameron says $180,000 will be given away in scholarships to 16 students. Recipients are undergraduate and graduate students attending various universities including Pitt and CMU, Cameron indicated. “This is a milestone. Never in the history of our chapter has this amount been awarded,” Cameron said noting that in 2007 scholarships included $5,000 and last year, $14,000.
The annual gala will take place Oct. 10 at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland. Debbie Hickman. owner of the Verona Road Giant Eagle. will receive the entrepreneur award, Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer for UPMC, will serve as keynote speaker, Barbara Thomas; president and CEO and William Wells, chairman of the National Black MBA Association and Cameron will also serve as speakers, with Darieth Chisolm, WPXI Channel 11 anchorwoman, handling the mistress of ceremonies responsibilities. Celebrating its 25-year anniversary, the theme for this year’s event is “Connect-Reconnect.”
With close to 8,000 members, the National Black MBA Association, Inc., based in Chicago is a nonprofit organization of minority MBAs, business professionals, entrepreneurs and MBA students. Representing more than 95,000 MBA graduates, its vision is to lead in the creation of economic and intellectual wealth for Blacks operating around the channels of education, career, leadership, entrepreneurship and lifestyle.
Founded in1970, the organization works in both the private and public sectors throughout the country sharing a commitment to education and business—the two keys to economic development in the African-American community.
A part of the Mid-East Regional Chapters, Pittsburgh is one of 44 chapters in major cities nationwide and Canada. It has more than 100 members and has access to 700-plus business professionals.
After sitting dormant, Cameron says the chapter is in a rebuilding phase. He and the other elected officers, Steffan Johnson, vice president of operations; Carol Calloway, treasurer and director of scholarships and Wanda Waite, secretary, are building on the successes of last year and look forward to maximizing benefits and value to the members, partners, business professionals and the greater Pittsburgh region.
“As the executive team we will collaborate with our partners and other businesses to provide access to talent and business opportunities. In addition, provide programming that can be leveraged as retention and business tools,” Cameron said.
Membership levels in the organization include involving persons with a graduate degree, encompassing entrepreneurs or people with experience in the business arena and the student, a person in graduate school. The group meets on the second Saturday of the last month of every quarter.
Completing the last year of the two-year term of their former president, Michele Cornish, who relocated, Cameron says he is honored to lead the chapter. Under his leadership, he has strengthened the chapter by increasing its presence in the community, by increasing its membership, growing partnerships, enhancing programs and increasing networking and career opportunities.
An Aliquippa native, Cameron earned his master’s in business administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business; and his bachelor of science degree from Robert Morris University. He spent 13 years in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of staff sergeant. Employed by PNC Financial Group, he is vice president and project manager, Enterprise Vendor Management. He and his wife, Francine, have two children.
(Information on the National Black MBA Association Pittsburgh Chapter or the upcoming gala can be obtained from their website—www.nbmbaapgh.org or by calling 412-889-8319.)