At Pop City we often hear from ex-pats who long to return to Pittsburgh. They tell us that our publication makes them homesick for the city they love and they often include their profession and then this request: if you hear of an opening, let me know.
Consider this your official notice.
Right now in Pittsburgh there are an unprecedented number of nonprofit leadership positions and the list is impressive: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
, the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh
, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
and Pressley Ridge
Due to baby boomer transition, more is expected in the next few years. "The sea change of leadership we are now experiencing has been predicted for the last ten years and will likely accelerate over the next several years," says Peggy Outon, executive director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.
The stage is set, she says. "These leaders have done excellent work and built strong platforms for new leadership."
While several of these nonprofit groups with open leadership positions
have hired national search firms to help find top talent, it's
encouraging to know that Pittsburgh is more marketable now than ever.
That means it's not just a good time to promote good talent from within,
but to also attract talent from elsewhere. (One reason why some in other cities refer to us as Pittsburglars?)
And it's easier now to attract world-class talent, points out Ellen Roth, president of Getting to the Point
, a relocation service.
"I've been doing this for 20 years and we've always been able to attract great talent. The difference is, 10 years ago, you would get a sense of hesitation or initial reluctance for the candidate to come but once they got here, they could see all the amenities and wonderful features and it was an easy sell.
"Pittsburgh is now a global city and no longer a secret. Now when you mention Pittsburgh, you no longer get the hesitation. The response now is, sure, I'd love to take a look. They're excited."
Anne-Marie Lubenau, exiting CEO of the CDCP, agrees that Pittsburgh's star is rising. "Twice last fall and then again last week I heard someone say that Pittsburgh is the next Portland." Churn Baby Churn
Diana Bucco, president of the Forbes Fund, points to three examples of top talent recently arrived in Pittsburgh: Steven Sokol who came from New York City to run the World Affairs Council
, Melanie Harrington of Atlanta who is now head of Vibrant Pittsburgh
, and Tony Macklin, who moved here when his wife got a job at the Heinz History Center, who was just named head of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation
"We knew this was a long time coming," says Bucco of the wave of executive transitions. A national study by the Compass Point called for this peak transition period on a national scale and then a follow-up local study pinpointed the first wave to hit Pittsburgh about now. Couple that with the fact that the average tenure within the nonprofit sector is five years and you've got a lot of openings and a "wonderful opportunity," she says. "Pittsburgh is extremely marketable and the nonprofit sector has been a driving force for talent."Long a Leader
One of Pittsburgh's greatest assests, Outen points out, is that our city has been a leader in the national nonprofit scene, fueled by the large number of strong private donations. "The old industrial wealth that has built our strong private foundations has allowed PIttsburgh's nonprofits to do some important and innovative work.
"You only have to look at the August Wilson Center
and the caliber of talent it has recently brought to Pittsburgh to see that Pittsburgh civic leadership positions are a commodity and will bring some great new people to our region."
And she is quick to add, "It will also afford opportunity to younger leaders already living here to rise and shine and show us all what they've got to offer."Paradigm shift
"Although the extent of leadership change may be disturbing, there
is a great opportunity for new and more effective alignments to emerge
from the changes," says Christine Mondor, board chair of the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh
which has just launched a search for a CEO/executive director.
"To have so many great minds thinking about the strategic future of their organization is a powerful thing for the region, " she notes. "And we're more open to new ideas and new people than ever before. That's what will bring in top talent. We will look back in five years and recognize a shift in paradigm."
Mondor has already heard from quite a few people outside the region interested in the position. "They know enough about the city to be really interested in coming back."For more information on jobs in Pittsburgh, check out this link at which features more than 20,000. Tracy Certo
is publisher and editor of Pop City.
This article was corrected to remove the listing of Carnegie Mellon University president since Jared Cohen, current president, extended his contract to 2013. So you'll have to wait for that one.
Photographs: Peggy Outon (above) and Christine Mondor (below).Photographs copyright Brian Cohen