Originally published: January 4,2022
Pittsburgh Business Journal

Carlos Carter had been on the job for just a little more than 10 days as the new president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, but he already had a clear vision of how he wants to lead the organization into 2022 and the future.

Those goals cover a wide range, from working with his staff and eliminating the use of paper in its operations to efforts that will continue the Urban League’s legacy of championing civil rights and economic parity for people in marginalized communities.

Carter assumed his new role on Nov. 10, the same day long-time president and CEO Esther Bush retired, although she’ll be working on projects with him during the transition. He joins the Urban League after a career that spans both for-profit and nonprofit assignments, most recently as the executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. Earlier in his career, he was director of operations at Holy Family Institute and worked as a senior vice president at Bank of America.

Carter believes one of the keys to fulfilling the Urban League’s mission will be based on his workforce, including making sure he has the right number of talented staff members to meet the needs of the community.

“My goal is to make the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh the best place to work in Pittsburgh,” he said. “I want it to be a place where people are empowered. You can’t empower marginalized communities if you’re not empowered.”

He’s also looking to advance the Urban League’s efforts to help those in marginalized communities, including its recent All One Pittsburgh initiative, which provides paper towels, toilet paper and other products to some of the region’s most economically distressed communities, such as the Hill District and the Mon Valley.

“We’re forging great partnerships to empower that program,” he said.

All One Pittsburgh is just one thing Carter will be pushing in 2022.

“I also want to grow our existing programs where we help people with housing, youth leadership and other concerns,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re engaging with the community. We want to build innovative programming that supports specific Black neighborhoods to ensure Blacks are receiving economic parity.”

As one of the few Black leaders of a major organization in Pittsburgh, the lack of diversity in corporate C-suites in the region is another area of concern for Carter. When asked what he would tell corporate leaders about the problem, he doesn’t mince words.

“I would tell them that if they look around when they go to their office or they meet their team and everybody looks just like them, they should have trouble sleeping at night,” he said. “We have the talent in Pittsburgh. It’s right in front of you. You have to open your eyes and realize that others need to be at the table. They need to be given an opportunity.”