Civic Leadership

I am a proud wife.
Earlier last month, Husband graduated from a ten-week program on civic leadership in Pittsburgh. He got a chance to see behind-the-scenes of the city, and learn more about what makes Pittsburgh tick.  The program was designed to build up the base of civic leaders, thus empowering them to put their ideas, wishes, and hopes for the city into action. As the weeks went by, three class representatives were elected, and Husband was among those selected. Insert 'Proud Wife' comment. At the graduation ceremony, Husband was asked to give a speech detailing his time in the program. It's inspiring to me that there are those in our community that take the extra step to serve our residents better.

To his endless embarrassment, I've taken excepts from his speech and posted them here. I actually think it's quite good, and gives insight into his experience with the program.
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"You may have noticed from a certain twang in my voice that I may not be originally from Western PA. My wife and I relocated here about a year and a half ago from Texas, Dallas specifically (don’t worry we’re not Cowboys fans), for my job in the oil and gas business. Many of our relatives and a few friends were surprised when we told them that we were moving to Pittsburgh. They only remember the stories from the evening news during the 80’s of shuttered mills, pollution, and massive snow storms (which is a complete unknown that is 'greatly feared' by most Southerners). It seemed to them that we were making a mistake.

In their mind, with so many people over the past two decades making the opposite decision and heading to cities in the south (and particularly Texas), why would we move here? But, we saw Pittsburgh in a different light.

A city full of promise and potential. 

There are many great assets this city holds, not the least of which is its governing body which, as I have learned through the Civic Leadership Academy, provides a multitude of services even in times of tight budgets.

[This program] provided an amazing opportunity to see the city government from the inside out. We were presented with an overview of each major department, much like an executive would receive an overview of a new company, with the ability to dive further in our particular areas of interest with data and leadership contacts. Areas that I was principally keen on where the Department of City Planning and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Pittsburgh, given its diverse economy, population, and geography, has the potential of any city in America to outpace standard growth during the 21st century. In fact, it’s already doing just that. According to the Brookings Institute, Pittsburgh is one of only three metro areas in America to have fully recovered from the great recession.

The Department of City Planning and the URA lead the development of the city through a wide range of efforts including fostering private investment, public art, strategic planning, and zoning laws. If successful, the plans being run through these departments can provide significant benefits to the city, its citizens, and businesses. This includes improved infrastructure, good paying jobs, new green space, and environmentally conscience buildings which we can all enjoy the benefits of. The public/private partnership that the URA focuses on is an excellent example of how making the right investment at the right time and in the right location can provide huge dividends. The gentrification of the East Liberty and Lawrenceville neighborhoods are proof that this method works. As a citizen, it was so beneficial to be exposed to the inner workings of these and the other departments that we covered.

Being a part of the Civic Leadership Academy has been such a privilege, not only because of the knowledge that we have gained of our city government, but from a transplants perspective, it gave me the chance to get to know parts of the city that I haven’t heard of before. It’s my hope that the graduates of this Spring’s Civic Leadership Academy take our newly found knowledge of the city’s management back to our neighborhoods to make contributions and help educate our neighbors, relatives, and friends.
The Class Representatives
We as citizens, business owners, and community volunteers each have a role to play in our community, and with the education we received through the Civic Leadership Academy and the Mayor’s office, we can make a significantly greater difference.

Congratulations to everyone and it’s been a pleasure going on this journey with you.

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Congratulations, Husband! I'm proud of your achievements and commitment to the greater good. Looking forward to what this program may have sparked within you.

You can learn more about Pittsburgh's Civic Leadership Academy here


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