2019 Onyx Woman Award Honoree, Esther L. Bush, is a Woman Who Leads

Obstacles are an opportunity to develop new strategies to achieve your goals.

Esther L. Bush
President & CEO
Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
Non-Profit Human Services & Civil Rights Organization
39 years in this industry

  1. Why did you choose this profession?

It was a natural fit for my interest in equality and equity for African Americans and for women.

2. What role has the support of other women played in your success?

I was inspired by other women beginning with my mother, who was very smart and strategic, had a can-do attitude about everything, and supported my father and other family members in achieving their goals. Two supervisors early in my career, Dr. Evelyn Pasteur Valentine at Lake Clifton High School and Harriet Michele who was President at the New York Urban League, saw and had confidence in my potential in numerous situations and assigned me accordingly, even as I expressed reluctance and hesitation.

3. What does receiving this award mean to you?

I am hoping that seeing my experience might motivate others.

4. What advice would you give to other women who want to go into your field?

First, only attach yourself to a non-profit organization whose mission you believe in passionately. Second, set goals that will allow you to change the norm and give you measurable, long-lasting differences.

5. What would you tell other women about overcoming obstacles?

Obstacles are an opportunity to develop new strategies to achieve your goals.

6. What was the bravest thing that you have ever done that got you where you are today?

I’ve been told that I have a courageous outlook, that I am unafraid to ask questions, unwilling to accept quick and easy answers. To be honest, it doesn’t feel “brave,” as it has been the way I’ve operated for as long as I can remember.

7. How have you evolved over the years?

I’ve grown more comfortable with who I am, more assured that I can operate in whatever circumstance presents itself, and confident that I will know or be able to develop appropriate strategies as the needs arise.


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