Sonya Tilghman

Executive Director

January 2016 - Present

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Where are you from?

I'm from suburban DC, but I've lived in PIttsburgh for 27 years.

 

What are the primary responsibilities of your role? 
Helping to implement the community vision (as detailed in the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan) and overall management of the organization.

Why is this job important to you and how does your educational, professional, or personal background help you to do your job well? 
I have always worked in community development, even before I would have described it that way.  I moved to Pittsburgh as part of the AmeriCorps national service program to work with a job training and adult education program – which I saw as a way to earn an income doing something I would have done anyway. During my tenure, I saw public funding get cut for programs that had provable results, which sparked my interest in public policy; I needed to understand the “why” behind cutting programs that were effective in helping people thrive again.  While earning a Master’s degree in public policy from CMU and during my early career, I came to see how families’ ability to thrive is first dependent on the certainty of having safe, sanitary, and affordable housing – and to also see how public policies largely created the reasons many people don’t have it. I decided I wanted to work to undo the effects of bad housing policies and now have done so for over 25 years.

What do you love about this neighborhood? 
The physical landscape --  the hills that offer amazing views of downtown and the Mon Valley, the greenway that provides 183 acres of urban forest, the flats that afford the opportunity for scenic walking and biking along the river, and the potential for both renewed river access and engagement with the greenway as a true community amenity.