The Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Black MBA Association made history during their recent Scholarship and Recognition gala. Celebrating their 25-year anniversary, the group accomplished what chapter president Kevin Cameron considered a “milestone.” They presented $180,000 in scholarships to 16 undergraduate and graduate students. “Today is a great day for the Pittsburgh Chapter that will go down in history,” he said. The evening was filled with excitement as scholarships and awards were presented and recognition given to the group’s Leaders of Tomorrow students.

PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS—Mistress of ceremonies Darieth Chisholm and chairman of the NBMBAA Board, William W. Wells chat before taking part in a historical evening. 

Other award recipients for the evening were James K. Hayes, Ph.D., director of business development Eaton Corporation’s Electrical Sector; Juanita Buchanan-Hogan, family nurse practitioner for the Pittsburgh Public Schools; Deborah C. Hickman, owner of the Frankstown Road Giant Eagle and Carol Brosier Calloway, retired registrar and special assistant to the president for Minority and Diversity Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.


The categories included Education Excellence—Hayes, Career Excellence—Buchanan-Hogan, Entrepreneur of the Year—Hickman and Leadership—Calloway.

Considered an experienced strategist and connoisseur in the field of inclusion and diversity, keynote speaker Candi Castleberry-Singleton energetically addressed the theme of the evening, Connect—Reconnect. Acquainting being in the job market to a corporate card game “learn the rules and know the players,” she said. “It’s about the people at the table making decisions.” She advised to understand the corporate cultural, to have as many people as possible playing your card, to always be prepared for the day by having an up-to-date resume and an elevator pitch, to define two things you want to be known for, to seize the moment, to manage your own brand, to have a mentor and to be willing to mentor and sponsor others and not to forget who has helped you along your career journey.

JUST ABOUT READY— President and CEO of the National Black MBA Association, Barbara L. Thomas and president, Pittsburgh Chapter NBMBAA, Kevin Cameron prepare for the 2009 Scholarship and Recognition gala.

Castleberry-Singleton is the chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC. The first in the role, she is responsible for developing UPMC’s inclusion strategy, including its Health Care Dignity and Respect Campaign, and for overseeing progress toward system-wide goals involving 50,000 employees. She is viewed to have an exceptional record of coaching senior executives and partnering with key business process owners and community leaders to build sustainable inclusion practices for the workplace, marketplace, and workforce. Her successful initiatives have been implemented at Motorola, where she was vice president of Global Inclusion and Diversity, and at Sun Microsystems, where she led the Global Inclusion Center of Expertise. A California native, she received her MBA from Pepperdine University, a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from UC Berkeley, and graduated from the Stanford University Human Resources Executive Program.

Darieth Chisholm, WPXI Channel 11 anchorwoman, was mistress of ceremonies and D.J. Goodnight and the House of Soul Band provided entertainment.

Barbara Thomas, president and CEO of the national chapter based in Chicago, viewed the evening as celebrating the power of the past with the hope of the future. She commended the chapter for its hard work and commitment to the mission of the organization. “The Pittsburgh Chapter is one of our strongest and most enduring chapters. It has made tremendous strides toward our mission of creating economic and intellectual wealth in the Black community.”

With close to 8,000 members, the National Black MBA Association, Inc. 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.

Along with Cameron, four past chapter presidents were on hand celebrating the chapter’s 25-year history, Burrell Brown, Ph.D., Carmen Montague Segree, Charles Reaves and Elliott Coleman.

The Pittsburgh chapter was started in 1984 as an unbroken tradition of advocacy of Black business professionals and community leadership in the Pittsburgh region. Under Cameron’s leadership chapter membership has expanded to 130 and major partners now include PNC, Prudential Financial, UPMC, and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School. Between 2007 and now scholarships have increased from $5,000 to $180,000, exceeding their 2009 chapter goal to provide scholarships to 10 students totaling $25,000.

“I plan to raise the bar, and have the Pittsburgh chapter reach heights never experienced,” said Cameron. “Our vision is to become the premiere Black professional organization in the greater Pittsburgh region by 2012.” His executive board consists of Steffan Johnson, vice president of operations; Carol Calloway, treasurer and scholarship coordinator; Wanda Waite, secretary; Francine Cameron; community relations director and Scholarship Recognition gala coordinator; Asia Dawson, public relations and communications director; Luddy Liggon, corporate relations and fund development director and Bomani Howze, nominating director and professional development speaker series.

“The Pittsburgh chapter is doing a great job in the community,” credits William Wells, chairman for the NBMBAA. “Through the years, the chapter has provided scholarship opportunities to many very deserving students. Kevin is doing a phenomenal job.”

National president for three years, and now a life member that’s been involved for 17 years, Wells classifies the Pittsburgh Chapter as long standing.

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