After a corporate career that took her as far away as London, Cheryl Hall-Russell returned to her native Indiana and to her nonprofit roots. Now she is bringing her extensive expertise to Pittsburgh as the new president and chief operating officer for the Hill House Association.
Hall-Russell is the fifth person to lead the agency since its founding. She succeeds Victor Roque who resigned in June, and like Roque, she will also serve as president and CEO of the Hill House Economic Development Corp. She starts her new position Sept. 1.
“I’m very excited about coming to Pittsburgh. I didn’t know anything about the city, but I know about Hill House and their impact—so it’s not a mystery,” she said during a phone interview. “I’m pumped about the position and the opportunities it presents.”
After returning to Indiana, Hall-Russell completed two master’s degree programs in nonprofit management and in philanthropic studies at Indiana University Purdue in Indianapolis.
Hall-Russell currently serves as CEO of the Indiana Youth Services Association, which focuses on preventing juvenile delinquency and providing crisis intervention, teen court, family counseling mentoring shelter and afterschool services and programming.
Prior to that, she served as vice president of Urban Services for the Greater Indianapolis YMCA. Her background also includes economic development as the former executive director of the Indianapolis Coalition for Neighborhood Development. Hall-Russell also served as director of strategic services for the Community Centers of Indianapolis.
Boards Chair Al Heiles said Hall-Russell’s experience is a perfect match with the Hill House’s programming goals and initiatives.
“Ms. Hall-Russell brings to the table outstanding credentials and a deep understanding of the issues the Hill House addresses every day,” he said. “She has committed her career to serving others and we couldn’t have found a better match for the Hill House.”
Once on board, Hall-Russell will continue oversight of the HHEDC’s signature development, Centre Haldman Plaza. Currently under construction across Centre Avenue from the Hill House, the plaza will house retail space and a 29,500 square-foot Shop ‘n Save grocery.
Hall-Russell will also work to expand and enhance the Hill House’s stature as a preeminent one-stop-shop human services provider. The Hill House estimates it has provided education, health, community, and senior services to more than 500,000 urban residents during the last 40 years.
In addition to her statewide management experience, Hall-Russell is also a registered lobbyist in Indiana. So, she also brings a successful legacy of “shaking the tree” to her new post.
“It’s a big part of what I do,” she said. “If you can’t make the case for support, whether it’s financial or volunteer, you’re not doing your job.”
Search Committee Co-Chair Alex Johnson, said Hall-Russell will make a great addition to the Hill House and the community.
“Hill House will benefit from her intelligence, community-minded approach, and experience with the challenges nonprofits face in this economic environment,” he said. “She’s an ideal fit.”
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