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Esther Bush: A Relentless Legend

By Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council

Thought Leader
TEQ

I am thrilled and honored to have had the opportunity to work with Esther Bush, the CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh (ULGP). 

I have been privileged to work on her board, supporting her and her team, who have been tackling some of the most pressing problems of our region.   

With a mission of securing economic self-reliance, parity and power, and civil rights, Esther has served her entire career in helping others. She has been a stalwart voice in Pittsburgh and across the nation, raising her voice with the intent of lifting others, as well as holding us accountable for leading change. If you have never met or heard Esther, you should. You will hear her clarity which has been resounding for a long time. 

And what better woman to feature on our cover than Esther, who after serving almost three decades at the helm of ULGP, who has always directed her work to achieve parity and inclusion. After the year-plus of Covid, isolation, disparities and our local problems for poor social determinants of health and economics, her work remains as relevant as it always has been. In most ways, she is ahead of her time. I hope you will enjoy the interview as much as I did. She pulls no punches. 

This special issue of TEQ kicks off what will be on-going explorations of building equity and access in Pittsburgh’s tech and innovation economy. We are committed to explore all angles and intersections of equity in our ecosystem moving forward with the underwriting support of Google, Highmark, PPG and UPMC Enterprises. In upcoming issues, we will explore topics, including why diversity is a business imperative; building equity in health care; bridging the digital divide; and making STEM and job opportunities available to every high school student paired with awareness for programs to parents and teachers. 

There is heavy lifting if Pittsburgh’s tech industry is to be accessible to everyone. Storytelling can be one of the most powerful ways to reach people, activate ideas and start chipping away at this mountainous issue. Our role remains to be a connector, facilitator and developer, as we seed programs to bridge these gaps. We are lucky to have companies who are all in when it comes to addressing these opportunities. But there really is nothing better than talking with people who are wrestling with and creating seachanges, without the social media fanfare. It is our focus to get these stories to you. 

At the Tech Council, we will use all of our communication platforms to reach audiences far and wide. As always, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you’re doing on this journey to build a better Pittsburgh. What’s working; what’s not working; who’s making a difference.  While we remain in times of rapid change, our intent is to accelerate the engagement of businesses, educational institutions and people who have been left out of opportunities for prosperity and meaningful work, to be at the same table. We will only have a legacy if we achieve what the ULGP and others aspire – prosperity, access and health. 

Join us on this journey. There are no reasons why Pittsburgh should be known for anything else.