AADF-Pittsburgh was formed in 2017 with an objective of achieving measurable progress in the areas of board room, C-Suite and, Supplier representation for African Americans in Pittsburgh publicly traded companies. Intentionally a call to action, the initiative has been embraced by corporate Pittsburgh and garnered broad support from Pittsburgh’s largest corporations.

With Pittsburgh poised to return to the position of being one of America’s important cities, achieving diversity in corporate Pittsburgh at all levels will be one of the key enablers. The focus of the inaugural Forum was African American representation on publicly traded company boards which provides a meaningful near-term opportunity that can serve as the beach head for Diversity and Inclusion progress more broadly.

African Americans are under-represented nationally on the boards of publicly traded companies and even more so on the boards of Pittsburgh based companies. Assuming Pittsburgh tracks the national average, the 10% turnover in board seats projected over the next 5 years (~30 seats), creates a significant opportunity to make progress in the area of African American representation on Pittsburgh-based company boards.

Progress on African American representation specifically and for board diversity in general for Pittsburgh-based companies would:

  • Accrue the top and bottom line benefits of board diversity that are already well documented.
  • Potentially have a multiplier/ripple effect on diversity at other levels within those companies.
  • Demonstrate that the City and its corporate leaders understand and value diversity.
  • Make Pittsburgh a more attractive relocation option for diverse members of the workforce.

The African American Directors Forum-Pittsburgh seeks to deliver these benefits to the Pittsburgh Region. Success will be positioning Pittsburgh employers to access the entire talent pool and attract, retain and grow its workforce more effectively. And, in particular, to increase the participation of African Americans in Pittsburgh’s success.