Home > PUM Black History Salutes: Anna E. Hollis-Executive Dir., Amachi Pittsburgh

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PUM Celebrating Black History Month 2014 Featuring Pittsburgh Leaders Who Inspire


PittsburghUrbanMedia.com proudly celebrates Black History Month this February 2014 by honoring and featuring African American Leaders who inspire and demonstrate a commitment to uplifting future generations. What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. Passion, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the leaders featured  during the month of February all demonstrate that they are significantly shaping the world – in business, government,  academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward.


We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams. 


Anna E. Hollis-Executive Director, Amachi Pittsburgh



Anna E. Hollis is the Executive Director of Amachi Pittsburgh, a unique partnership of secular and faith-based organizations working together to support children and families of the incarcerated. “Who knows what God has brought us through this child?” is the English translation of “amachi”, and forms the centerpiece of the organization’s mission to empower young minds to overcome the challenges of parental incarceration through mentoring, family strengthening and leadership development. Under Anna’s leadership, Amachi Pittsburgh has become an ever-growing and diverse network of community organizations, dedicated volunteers and families, and partners in education, business and government.


Anna serves on several boards and advisory committees, and is herself an Amachi mentor.  She serves on the board of The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Community Advisory Committee of the YWCA Center for Race and Gender Equity.  She has served as Treasurer of the NAACP-Pittsburgh Chapter and as a member of the national Advisory Board of the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Support Center.  She was also one of the founding members of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, successfully mobilizing communities to advocate for human rights.  Anna has a diverse background in both the public and private sectors, including a successful career with Merck & Co., Inc., where she successfully managed a $13mm book of business.


As a mother of three children, Anna passionately believes that every child has inherent value despite family circumstances. It is her hope and expectation that the God-given potential and purpose of all children are recognized, protected and nurtured by caring adults.


1) Celebrating Black History Month- what are you most proud of as a Black American and what you have been able to accomplish in terms of your career?

I am most proud of the times in history when Black people used their collective power to fight injustices and bring about positive change in our country. While the need remains to similarly address gross racial and economic inequities throughout society, I yet recognize and appreciate that those trailblazers of yesterday have paved the way for our generation to accomplish goals through opportunities that were or withheld from them. I've enjoyed a successful career in the corporate sector and now in the nonprofit sector as executive director for Amachi Pittsburgh. We are committed to helping empower children and families to overcome obstacles associated with parental incarceration, and realize their full potential. I am extremely proud of being able to give voice and visibility to the children who suffer most, and to provide leadership training and opportunities for our youth ambassadors to emerge as champions of their own cause.  In 2012, we published our first report to the community entitled, "What We've Learned from the Children", which is available on our website, www.AmachiPgh.org, and amplifies the voices of our youth.


2) Why is Black History important to you and our world?

We hear much about the hardships of Black people, about deficiencies in our communities but not nearly enough about the contributions Black people have made and continue to make in the US and abroad.  The story is not adequately told of the role Black people played in building America as the world leader it is today. Do we really know the economic benefit in dollars to the US as a result of blacks who labored as slaves? How did the US emerge as an economic powerhouse as a result of black laborers, albeit forced through slavery?  How would our country and the world be different today if Black people weren't forced to work without pay?  These are just some of  the questions that should be explored during history lessons in schools. Black history is American history and should be taught as such. It should be integrated into standard education so that students of all races, ethnicities and cultures benefit from knowledge of the facts, and have the opportunity to gain appreciation for Black people. Understanding the plight and accomplishments of Black people could help students open their minds while their still young, and help adults value, welcome and seek opportunities where Blacks can further contribute to our country and our world.


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