Our conversation with the VP of Community Affairs for Highmark and President of the Highmark Foundation begins with her upbringing in Homewood with parents who dealt with the hardships of poverty but never let them feel like they were poor. She earned her undergraduate degree at PITT and her master’s degree from CMU all the while holding down a full-time job with Mellon. It was the influence of one of her teachers at PITT, Dr. Lawrence Howard, which initially fueled her interest in public management and eventually led her to her current position.
Yvonne candidly discusses how she faces down and deals with the issues that are still commonplace surrounding white privilege in the corporate and governmental environments by pushing hard everyday with passion, optimism and no fear. She speaks to the “ROI of empathy” and how that is integral to any organization’s CSR policies.
A fervent supporter of the Pittsburgh arts scene, she has been inspired and awed by the talents of the local artists and has helped promote them through development and participation of forums and gallery openings. And it turns out that Yvonne Cook, does indeed, love to cook. We are all invited over to her house for the dinner and conversation question.