Serving as the Executive Director of PROGRESS and Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Ledford is a highly sought out national lecturer by nonprofits, corporations, government agencies, and academic institutions that aim to improve diversity and inclusion in all facets of their organization. She is an expert on multiple factors influencing women’s long-term career success and utilizes negotiation as an essential leadership skill within her program offerings. She developed an innovative capacity building curriculum, Speak Up!, whose goal is to minimize the wage and leadership gap between men and women. Ms. Ledford presented to well over 500 organizations from a variety of sectors; for example, Women of Courage Awardees, Montana State University, Harvard University, PNC Bank, Emory College, Simmons College, NOBCCHE Conference, BNY Mellon, WQED’s national “Close the Wage Gap” webcast, Charles Schwab, Otterbein’s Women & the New American Dream Summit, and the Association of Latino Professionals For America. As Director of Diversity and Inclusion, she leads an effort to provide access and support academic persistence of marginalized students, conducts workshops for faculty (and staff) to equip them with the ability to champion and embrace an inclusive campus where all its members can thrive while identifying opportunities to create systemic change within the culture of the institution.
The path that led her toward this work 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 and present 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, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, co-chair of the Girls Coalition of Southwestern PA’s economic empowement committee, Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens, YWCA’s Young Leadership Board and founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Ms. Ledford holds a Bachelors of Arts from Dickinson College and a Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.