Ayana Ledford

Founding Executive Director

Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society at Carnegie Mellon University (PROGRESS)

PROGRESS’ mission is to improve society by empowering women and girls through the art of negotiation. The path that led her toward the program was built on a foundation of advocacy with past work experience nonprofit organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region. Some of past and present commitments include serving on the board of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Sojourner House, Athena Awards host committee, Girls Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Terry McAdam Book Committee for Nonprofit Management, and founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In an effort to fulfill PROGRESS’ mission, Ayana developed tools to enhance the programmatic initiatives of organizations and individuals that work with girls. The academically and innovative tools to teach negotiation include a guidebook “Speak Up”, video, and on-line computer game for girls 8 to 13 years of age. Her approach is to build the capacity of women and girls to lead by teaching them to harness negotiation as an essential skill. In partnership with the Heinz College and Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, she worked on the development of the Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University to reach high potential women. Currently, Ayana is in the process of developing a college toolkit for campuses seeking to host an informal negotiation club.

In the past 10 years, Ayana has led over 500 workshops for women and girls, serving well over 5,000 participants. Her trainings and workshops have been presented to a variety of college campuses, businesses, nonprofit organizations, after school programs, private/ public/ independent schools, and community based programs. For example, groups such as the 2014 Women of Courage Awardees, Harvard University, Westminster College, Chatham University, PNC Bank, AmeriCorps, Dress for Success, Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, BNY Mellon, National Association of Graduate Professionals, Pittsburgh Area Independent Teachers Association, Charles Schwab, American Association of University Women, and Emory College.

Ms. Ledford holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Dickinson College and a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


Welcome to the CLOSING THE GAP initiative.

Gender wage ratio data show that in 1960 women earned 60.7 cents compared to a dollar earned by men. More than 50 years later, the ratio hovers at 76.5 cents to one dollar. At this pace, it is projected it will take another 45 years to approach pay equity.

Closing the Gap: 50 Years Seeking Equal Pay explores why the pay gap persists and how to improve it. We hope to arm women with information and skills to assist them in earning fair pay throughout their own careers and toward a secure retirement.
 

A special thanks to our sponsors:

Eden Hall Foundation   |  Chatham University  |  Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation

Cathy Raphael   |  Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC   |  MSA   |  Georgia Berner

Ayana Ledford

Founding Executive Director

Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society at Carnegie Mellon University (PROGRESS)

PROGRESS’ mission is to improve society by empowering women and girls through the art of negotiation. The path that led her toward the program was built on a foundation of advocacy with past work experience nonprofit organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region. Some of past and present commitments include serving on the board of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Sojourner House, Athena Awards host committee, Girls Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Terry McAdam Book Committee for Nonprofit Management, and founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In an effort to fulfill PROGRESS’ mission, Ayana developed tools to enhance the programmatic initiatives of organizations and individuals that work with girls. The academically and innovative tools to teach negotiation include a guidebook “Speak Up”, video, and on-line computer game for girls 8 to 13 years of age. Her approach is to build the capacity of women and girls to lead by teaching them to harness negotiation as an essential skill. In partnership with the Heinz College and Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, she worked on the development of the Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University to reach high potential women. Currently, Ayana is in the process of developing a college toolkit for campuses seeking to host an informal negotiation club.

In the past 10 years, Ayana has led over 500 workshops for women and girls, serving well over 5,000 participants. Her trainings and workshops have been presented to a variety of college campuses, businesses, nonprofit organizations, after school programs, private/ public/ independent schools, and community based programs. For example, groups such as the 2014 Women of Courage Awardees, Harvard University, Westminster College, Chatham University, PNC Bank, AmeriCorps, Dress for Success, Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, BNY Mellon, National Association of Graduate Professionals, Pittsburgh Area Independent Teachers Association, Charles Schwab, American Association of University Women, and Emory College.

Ms. Ledford holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Dickinson College and a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


Welcome to the CLOSING THE GAP initiative.

Gender wage ratio data show that in 1960 women earned 60.7 cents compared to a dollar earned by men. More than 50 years later, the ratio hovers at 76.5 cents to one dollar. At this pace, it is projected it will take another 45 years to approach pay equity.

Closing the Gap: 50 Years Seeking Equal Pay explores why the pay gap persists and how to improve it. We hope to arm women with information and skills to assist them in earning fair pay throughout their own careers and toward a secure retirement.
 

A special thanks to our sponsors:

Eden Hall Foundation   |  Chatham University  |  Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation

Cathy Raphael   |  Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC   |  MSA   |  Georgia Berner

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