Pittsburgh is often labeled by outsiders as the “most livable city.” But to some natives, mostly minorities it is considered a tale of two cities.
“Pittsburgh has a gap in leadership in African American communities,” said Darcel Madkins explaining one disparity. “When you think of corporations we don’t have enough executive positions and when you think about the foundations and money distribution the decision makers don’t look like us,” she said. “There’s no leadership development programs for African Americans.”
For the past seven years Madkins through the African American Leadership Association has been dedicated to providing African Americans and minorities with exposure, enrichment and access to leadership positions.
Founded in 2009 by Madkins and her friend and colleague Bernadette Turner who passed away nearly three years ago, the AALA has been dedicated to fostering and developing the growth and participation of minority leaders in the greater Pittsburgh area and beyond.
A phrase from the founders on the AALA website states, “When we started AALA, we wanted African American leaders to have a place where they were able to network, access information, and have questions answered that will help them become more successful. Since inception, people have been placed on boards, promoted and connected to people making a difference in their profession. As we continue to gain momentum, you too can be a part of the movement. Look over the site, become involved, get connected and L.E.A.D. (Leave Egos At the Door).”