Executive Director of Progress
As founding executive director of PROGRESS, Ayana Ledford works to pass along the art of negotiation and self sufficiency to all women and girls. The path that led her toward the program was built on a foundation of advocacy with past work experience including time with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University and community organizing efforts made on behalf of low income Pittsburgh Public School students. She has also fought for low-income access to health care with the Consumer Health Coalition and while serving as a health education instructor in Central West Africa.
Her past commitments include serving on the Athena Awards host committee, a mentor for Duquesne University’s CLAAY program, working with the Terry McAdam Book Committee for Nonprofit Management and as a founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the board of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, co-chair of the Girls Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s economic empowerment committee, and YWCA of Pittsburgh’s Young Leadership Advisory Committee.
She has conducted over 100 presentations on the value of negotiation for women's and girl's organizations, women's affinity groups, and after school programs such as Gwen’s Girls, Carlow University, Chatham University, Coro Center for Civic Leadership, AmeriCorps, Dress for Success, Penn State University, Harvard University, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Area Independent Teachers Association and Carnegie Mellon Engineering - Women Mentoring Program, Slippery Rock University, American Association of University Women, Manchester Youth Development Center, Babst Calland, and YouthWorks.
Ms. Ledford holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Dickinson College and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on community organizing and social administration.