Growth: The Vision Forward.
It’s a different world…
In 2008, two different organizations presented me with leadership opportunities, one of which was a membership in the Alumni Leadership Council of the Pitt Alumni Association. The ALC—a committee to the board of directors—served as an entry point for some to the PAA’s board and during my tenure I was introduced to the university’s approach to engaging alumni and growing registered its membership and I, also, met many people from all walks of life unified to fulfill one mission in supporting the Pitt community. It was in 2010 that I received what I regarded as a mysterious invitation to join some activities at Katz during Homecoming and so after fulfilling my ALC duties that morning, I made my way to Mervis Hall for lunch and oh was I surprised. Greeted by Don Norrington, I was delighted to see black Pitt MBA alumni from the class of 1972 I had never before met and I can only say and describe them as a most impressive group of gentlemen with backgrounds in leading some Fortune 500 companies in one capacity or another. At lunch and later during a panel discussion held in Frick Hall, they shared their stories with the students and responded to their questions—providing sage advice to this future generation of corporate professionals. This experience was different. It was special and I could tell this place was where I would establish my niche to serve as an active Pitt alumna. That next day at Mervis Hall, black MBA Pitt graduates representing all five decades convened a meeting to discuss forming a network that would support recruitment of more black students, mentorship to those students, and promote vibrant networking amongst our alumni. It is here we unanimously agreed to form the Pitt Black MBA Network known as PBAN and I committed to help lead and guide us in ways that would ensure our longevity and impact in the Pitt community.
From there on, our commitment as founders was clear. Our impact so far, as Gloster shared in his article, has already included assistance in helping students find internships and jobs, supporting black businesses, giving advice to mid-career graduates, and recruiting of quality students from five different markets. It has also included recognition of our membership with two new 2014 Katz Distinguished Alumni Award recipients—Gloster B. Current, Jr. (Immediate Past & Founding President, PBAN) and Her Excellency Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba (Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General).
Now, PBAN is structured and positioned to grow significantly: student referrals; membership by 200%; our scholarship fund with a combination of individual and corporate donations; and programming to support entrepreneurs. This new administration which I am honored to lead now has 24 leaders, from our board of directors and our general membership, who have answered the call to further build our infrastructure, promote our work and achievements, grow our efforts in student applications; and grow our membership. And it should be noted we represent graduates not only from the MBA program but also the MAcc and Ph.D. programs and there are membership opportunities open to anyone who is interested in supporting the organization in fulfilling its mission.
In the years to come, we will continue to work directly with Katz leadership to support recruitment, retention, and placement of our students. We will develop stronger relationships with our partners in the NBMBAA Chapters in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Jersey and DC in order to fill the pipeline of referrals of quality black applicants to the Katz MBA full-time program. We will also source mentors from our alumni membership to offer our students pursuing the masters and doctorate level degrees at Katz. We will partner with more social and corporate organizations to promote PBAN’s mission. We will establish a champion for each of the 45 classes (from 1970 to 2015) to motivate fellow graduates to enjoy the benefits of becoming active members of PBAN. Ultimately, we will become the exemplar alumni network of the entire Pitt community and it is with pleasure I look forward to providing the vision, leadership and resolve to realize our mission.
Tricina Cash became the new President and Chairman of the Pitt Black MBA Network in 2014. Ms. Cash is one of the PBAN founding officers and she is a 2009 MBA graduate and a 1989 CAS graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
This article was first published in the spring of 2014 in the PBAN Black Gazette