The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) launched in January 2019 with the goal of developing a diverse pipeline of executive talent in the Pittsburgh region. Already, that initiative is making an impact.
Having started with 28 people, TALI’s cohorts grew to 28 the following year, another 28 in 2021, and another 25 in January 2022. Recruiters report that talent will often ask about TALI and view company involvement as a benefit because it provides access to a wider network of diverse professionals.
Participants spend two full days per month for seven months in the academy focusing on four key components: curriculum, one-on-one executive coaching, mentorship and cultivating the experience to create a sense of bond and connection with the region.
Graduates report feeling more confident in their leadership, and their efforts are paying dividends: within two years of graduation, more than 83 percent of the first cohort earned promotions or increased responsibility, a trend that has continued with every group since.
Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious Robotics Institute is being led by one of its own.
Alumnus Matthew Johnson-Roberson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon in 2005, is now serving as the institute’s sixth director, succeeding interim director Srinivasa Narasimhan.
Johnson-Roberson’s background as an academic includes teaching underwater vehicle design and autonomy as well as courses in computer vision and self-driving cars. Red Whittaker, CMU Founders University Research Professor and robotics pioneer, called Johnson-Roberson a “technological adventurer.”
For his part, Johnson-Roberson said his new role is a “dream job” and outlined — for a feature in the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s teQ magazine — his approach to building the Pittsburgh region’s status as a leader in robotics.
“Pittsburgh is a fantastic place – especially when looking at starting a company. You have an amazing pipeline from Carnegie Mellon, Pitt and all the surrounding areas. There’s a really good pool of talent, and the cost of living helped us bootstrap the way we did and be able to make it. Trucking is also here in the heart of it. We’re close to so many of our customers and found great investors that believed in us since the beginning.”