President & Chief Executive Officer of Pittsburgh Technology Council
In the 10-plus years Audrey Russo has served as president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, she has seen — and helped drive — the city reach new heights in the world of tech.
“Pittsburgh is an interesting place because it slowly but steadily created a very diverse tech landscape,” says Russo, who has also worked at Reynolds Metals and Alcoa. “It’s steadily growing, and it is growing across almost every sector of potential innovation.”
Russo is pleased to tell Pittsburghers: “In the last 10 years, the Technology Council has had a pivotal role in moving the tech needle for the region.”
The Council has four main missions:
— Telling the stories of local companies and giving them exposure.
— Helping companies develop their businesses.
— Helping companies find talent.
— Advocating for pro-tech public policy, including “issues that impact businesses and the growth of new businesses (to) make sure southwest Pennsylvania is a good place to work and build a company,” she says.
Through her tech show Friday nights on KDKA Radio, and the use of social media and other platforms, Russo and the Council spread the word that Pittsburgh is an emerging tech hub where innovation and creativity thrive. The message is getting out, she says, as evidenced by the proliferation of things like bike lanes, outdoor recreation and fine dining establishments, all of which are thriving in Pittsburgh because well-paid tech workers demand such amenities.
When Russo isn’t advocating for the region, she is mentoring the next generation. Her advice to students considering a career in tech is to spend time shadowing people at their jobs.
“Take an afternoon, go spend time with people at their place of work, don’t make assumptions about what you think their work is, and volunteer at places of business,” she says. “Just keep yourself out there circulating.”
Russo regularly allows students to shadow her.
“I love having them,” she says. “We have a chance to debrief, and then I learn a lot from how they see the world.”