Women & Business April 2018: Mamar Gelaye
Mamar Gelaye is a Senior Executive at General Electric.
Mamar Gelaye has only lived in Pittsburgh since 2013 and already sees the city’s potential. To her, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to showcase inclusion and diversity in a way that other places, such as Silicon Valley, have not yet done.
“Pittsburgh is an important city. We are creating the future of healthcare and software,” she says. “But we have to ensure that we achieve diversity and close the divide between African American and Hispanic talent and opportunity in a high-tech new world. We certainly can do it here.”
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Gelaye moved to the United States when she was 3 years old and grew up in Fort Valley, Ga., a rural area south of Atlanta. She’s had a rich and colorful career, working all over the world and in positions such as CEO, COO and CIO of various companies. She started her current job, working with high-potential leaders to develop them as executives and leaders at General Electric, in 2016. “The talent development role draws on all my experiences and various business responsibilities,” she says.
Calling herself an “overgrown new hire,” Gelaye says that she wakes up every day ready to go and is never comfortable — she sees herself always continuing to grow and help others grow, too.
“At the core, I’m a girl who grew up in the rural south to a family of immigrants who taught me to work hard and be curious and value learning and education for the sake of doing, not just knowing it,” she says.
For the past two years, Gelaye has served on the board of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, using her business skills to advocate for women and the funding that the center needs. “My work with them is the continuation of work I’ve done basically my entire adult life — shining a light on [inequalities] that women face and creating safety and inclusion for women so they can live their best lives,” she says.
Gelaye describes herself as driven, innovative and a people-leader and advises other women to know what they are passionate about. “If you can truly be self aware and also take risks and manage them, you’re going to learn a ton and going to get success,” she says. “You are your first product — your job is to continue to refine yourself.”
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