This employee-only, cultural awareness workshop was hosted by Malik Yoba, co-star of the upcoming Tyler Perry movie, “Why Did I Get Married Too” as well as’s Web show, “Shop Talk: What’s on the Hearts of Men.”

During the session, Yoba engaged the audience with non-traditional, innovative teaching methods to explore the themes of diversity, inclusion and exclusion. This event took place Feb. 28 at the Highmark Auditorium, Downtown.

TAKING QUESTIONS— Malik Yorba takes a question from an audience member.

“We are highlighting Black history with three companies, UPMC, BNY Mellon and Highmark. We want to promote a diverse workforce with all three companies. We were interested in some of the work that Malik Yoba has done in terms of culture awareness and the work that he has done with some other organizations across the country. Of course they will be attracted by his Hollywood stature, but the main focus is diversity in the workplace,” said Greg Awitta, production manager of BNY Mellon.


“He has a special presentation that he does that will engage the audience from diverse backgrounds to talk and network with each other. He wants us to appreciate the differences that we have within one another. He breaks down the differences that we have within ourselves and makes us take a look at those differences.”

All three organizations have made a commitment to focus on diversity and inclusion. Yorba educated the employees on how important having a diverse atmosphere will affect the workplace.

“We all have diversity issues within our organizations. This is a great way to showcase that and collaborate. We have really jumped leaps and bounds in the new century. This is also a great way to get all people in one place at one time. You don’t get too many people like Malik Yoba who would do something like this. Since he does workshops with corporations, we had to get him to do this one for us,” said Jessica Brooks of Highmark.

Emmy Award winner Emmy Alaquiva of “YaMomz House” recording in East Liberty was contracted to do the audio part of the event and take care of all the technical issues.

“The objective of this event is to have diversity and inclusion amongst the three corporations. For these corporations to get together shows that it doesn’t necessarily start from the bottom up. I hope that these organizations realize how important the secretary is and don’t forget were they came from. Sometimes people go from the bottom to the top and forget where they came from and this event dealing with diversity will make our city a better place,” said Alaquiva.

“We are trying to find a unique and effective way to celebrate Black history. In doing so we invited employees from all three companies—UPMC, BNY Mellon and Highmark so that we can enjoy a workshop based on diversity and inclusion with Malik Yoba. In terms of Highmark, diversity is something that we celebrate all year around. Part of my job is to look and hunt for the good news that our organization does dealing with diversity,” said Denise Hughes of Highmark.

Yoba is best known for his co-starring role as NYPD detective J.C. Williams in the popular Fox television show “New York Undercover” from 1994-1998. What some people are not aware of is that he hosts diversity workshops across the country and is always trying to bring people together.

“Coming from New York City, I’ve been doing this all of my life. This is nothing new for me. I have to share what I’ve learned with others over the years and how to engage people with things that they would not normally have access to. I heard what they were doing here in Pittsburgh on diversity and I wanted to be a part of it. I plan on coming back to Pittsburgh to do another diversity event to make sure that the city gets the message. I think that companies have to realize what is going on in this global environment and it’s not good,” said Yoba.

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