Honoring the region’s top technology executives at the 2015 CIO of the Year Awards at Heinz Field.
Audrey Russo
Audrey Russo

Since 2007, Audrey Russo has led the technology business sector for southwestern PA as President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

“One of the joys in leading the Pittsburgh Technology Council is that it is never the same day twice. Over the last eight years, I’ve had the complete honor of interacting with not just Pittsburgh’s, but really the world’s smartest, creative and most passionate people,” says Audrey. “Each week, I watch my calendar completely morph and wonder how I will get it all done. Working to grow Pittsburgh’s tech industry is not a job for me. It really encompasses my entire life. As you take a peek into my coming week, you will see what I mean. Despite the back-to-back-to-back meetings and engagements, my family still takes priority and I always make time for them. This work week, in particular, is special as it culminates with Passover.”

Monday, April 18

Every day starts before the sun rises and is anchored by taking my dog Gracie to Schenley Park for a walk and a romp. It’s the perfect time to collect my thoughts, appreciate the expansive view of Pittsburgh from the golf course, energize and prepare for the day. I also try to get a workout in at the JCC before heading to the office or first meeting of the day.

Audrey Russo
Honoring the region’s top technology executives at the 2015 CIO of the Year Awards at Heinz Field.

Monday starts with the grand opening of BNY Mellon’s Innovation Center and I get to cut the ribbon! BNY Mellon has a massive technology presence in Pittsburgh employing more than 1,200 people who work across their business in technology. The Pittsburgh Innovation Center is one of six in the world and it will focus on the co-location of business and technology teams. The Innovation Center demonstrates, once again, BNY Mellon’s commitment to marking Pittsburgh as a financial technology center. I couldn’t be more excited to wield a pair of scissors! The leadership team there has been a terrific partner over the years and their vision for innovation is very bold.

Whirl Magazine will then stop by the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s offices to take pictures of me for an upcoming feature on my role and work with the PTC. Our partners at Huntington Bank set up this editorial opportunity.

I’ll end the day with the Save Jon Game Changer 2016 Event Committee Meeting. Save Jon’s mission is to understand and cure a rare liver and bile duct disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis in time to save the lives of patients currently suffering from this disease. Jamie Redford, son of Robert Redford, will be our host along with Mike Ditka. Learn more at save-jon.org.

Tuesday, April 19

Tuesday will be a bit less hectic. Outside of internal meetings at the PTC, I plan to attend the Hill District Task Force Spring Reception. As a Board member of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, I have intense interest in helping Pittsburgh and its tech industry connect people and their neighborhoods who have not been connected to the burgeoning innovation economy. We cannot leave anyone behind.

Wednesday, April 20

Wednesday will keep me mostly in the office on a number of tasks. The PTC provides employee benefits and health insurance to its member companies through our Corporate Coverage Group. JRG Advisors is our administrator. We meet monthly to track accounts, sales and emerging trends, including compliance, and updates on the ever-changing health insurance environment.

Later in the day, I will begin to prepare my remarks for Thursday’s sold-out crowd at Heinz Field for one of our signature events—the Pittsburgh CIO of the Year Awards.

Pittsburgh CIO of the Year Awards
The CIO of the Year Awards event gathers more than 700 IT professionals annually to celebrate Pittsburgh’s entire IT community.

Thursday, April 21

Thursday is one of the biggest nights in Pittsburgh’s tech industry. The PTC partners with the Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group to honor the region’s top Chief Information Officers and Chief Security Officers with this annual awards ceremony. For more than a decade, we’ve been producing this event as a night to honor their accomplishments, drawing more than 650 people. This is truly one of the top nights for the industry!

Friday, April 22

After a late night at CIO of the Year event, Friday will be a blur as I give the keynote address at Carlow University’s “Transforming Centers: Bridging Learners, Technologies, and Pedagogies” conference. I will focus on transformation, in the context of learners, technologies and pedagogies. From this, I will explore Pittsburgh as a transformational tech hub, communication challenges that our learners will face, and educational needs of the future. Carlow is doing some leading edge work in learning and communication. I feel honored to be a part of this event.

Every Friday night, I co-host TechVibe Radio on KDKA 1020 AM. It’s my opportunity to bring the great success stories of Pittsburgh’s technology industry to the airwaves and our listeners. Tune in at 7 p.m. to give it a listen. You can also download the show on iTunes, Stitcher.com and talkshoe.com.

This year’s Passover commemoration is going to be very special for me. Over this past year, my mother, brother and sister-in-law have all moved to Pittsburgh. Having them nearby has enriched my life beyond words and it will make Passover the highlight of spring.

Audrey co-hosting TechVibe Radio.
Audrey co-hosting TechVibe Radio.

Saturday, April 23

I’m really looking forward to attending Saturday’s Innovation Summit with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the Energy Innovation Center. The event is part of a national series of roundtables led by Pelosi to establish a national Innovation Agenda. The agenda is a follow-up to a similar series of conversations held back in 2007.

Sunday, April 24

For Sunday, I am hosting a brunch at my house with an array of people. I have many friends who have not been exposed to Passover and the eight days of traditions. As a result, I will open up my house for brunch, which could include leftovers from the Seders, as well as a few interesting concoctions which embrace the foods we eat during this time of the year.

By Sunday night, before I rest my head, I will have spent time with my relocated family and friends, which includes a hike in Schenley Park.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.