Executive Leadership, Working with Boards, and Making a Difference in the World with Audrey Russo, CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council

By February 18, 2019Podcast

In this episode, you’ll hear our interview with Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

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L3 Leadership Podcast Episode #218: Executive Leadership, Working with Boards, and Making a Difference in the World with Audrey Russo

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Since 2007, Audrey Russo has served the technology business sector for southwestern PA as President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council (www.pghtech.org), the oldest (1983) and largest technology trade association in North America. In this role, Russo facilitates strong interaction across all sectors of the regional economy, which she believes will only succeed and grow through technology innovation and commercialized disruptions across every platform and experience. With a background in information technology, operations, and finance, Russo previously worked for large multi-national Fortune 500 companies (Alcoa, Reynolds Metals), as well as at MAYA Design, and in an adjunct faculty and project role at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Russo earned her Bachelor of Science from Ohio State University. She also has a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs.

Russo is committed to the complexity of Pittsburgh’s physical, literal and metaphorical terrain, and believes that vital cities are the moral imperative in achieving competitive, diverse and vibrant economies. She was the Board Chair for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Russo is a serving board member at the following organizations: Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC), Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, CityLab, Highmark Business Advisory Board, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and City of Asylum.

Russo also co-hosts TechVibe Radio on KDKA 1020 AM Friday nights at 7 to explore technology companies and entrepreneurial issues.



  • I’ve always been a person to grab on to more
  • Accumulation of experience makes you confident
  • I don’t care if I’m a woman or if I’m young, I want it!
  • How do you develop people? You push them out of their comfort zones.
  • If you’re too comfortable, you’re being mediocre to yourself and your organization.
  • Surround yourself with people who are strong and people who won’t just say yes to you.
  • It’s important to learn how to speak in front of crowds
  • Leadership is lonely.
  • As a leader, you’re under a microscope…from what you wear, who you talk to, who you spend time with, what you spend your time on, to making really hard decisions about people and their lives.
  • You have to be intentional with everything you do with the way the news is today
  • Be serious about your responsibility as a leader. Your whole person is a reflection of your work.  How do you contribute to your community?
  • You have the same kind of visual awareness to the world that the CEO of General Electric might have.
  • You can’t burn bridges.
  • Nice can yield mediocrity.
  • Everything you do matters.
  • You have to have great financial acumen, a lot of transparency, you have to spend time with people, not just doing stuff for a company, coalescing people so that they can do things on their own and drive tremendous outcomes.
  • Sometimes I hear people say, “I didn’t sign up for this!” and I say, “You don’t have a choice. It’s what the job always has been.”
  • The hardest part of my role is my board. You have to ask yourself about each board member: What are their individual selfish interests? What motivates them to be a part of this? What’s the win for them?
  • Part of being a leader is hearing feedback from every direction. If you have thin skin and you’re fragile, it’s hard to be a leader.
  • My best investment of time is sitting with someone who is stuck with a problem.
  • People with problems tend to manage up and push the problems up expecting their boss to solve the problem. As a leader, it’d be easy to solve the problem for them, instead, you need to help them to figure it out on their own.
  • Do everything you can to accommodate your people!
  • Be civic minded. Get on boards!

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