Women & Business October 2016: Petra Mitchell

Mitchell is ​President and CEO of Catalyst Connection.

Petra Mitchell
​President and CEO, 
Catalyst Connection 


Many Americans associate the manufacturing industry with a decline in the U.S. economy. Petra Mitchell is working to change that.

Mitchell is the President and CEO of Catalyst Connection, a private, nonprofit corporation that advises manufacturers on management, finances, organizational development and more to help them grow and retain jobs.

A self-described “advocate for small manufacturers,” Mitchell focuses on outreach, education, service delivery and measurement strategies for clients.

“Our work leads to helping small manufacturers compete in a global economy, grow their business and ultimately create and retain jobs.”

In 2015, Mitchell helped Catalyst Connection, 14 co-applicants and more than 80 supporting partners enter the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. With only 24 areas in the entire country in the partnership, this national recognition from the U.S. Economic Development Administration places Pittsburgh in an elite group.

As a result, Mitchell says the region will have priority access to more than $1 billion of federal funding to create “high-quality, family-sustaining jobs for our friends and neighbors.”

Given her achievements for both Catalyst and the region at large, it’s no surprise Mitchell has collected honors including Top Women in Business Leader, Top Energy Leader, Most Admired CEO in Pittsburgh and Manufacturing Extension Partnership Practitioner of the Year.

Mitchell says one piece of advice she values is: “Leaders lead.”

“You don’t need a title to be a leader,” says Mitchell. “You need a plan, and you need to execute on your plan.”

And, indeed, Mitchell has a plan. Over the next 10 years, she intends to add 30,000 workers to the Pittsburgh manufacturing industry. Beyond that, she hopes to help the region gain global recognition for its strength and leadership as a manufacturing community.

“When manufacturers succeed, the ripple effect can be felt through the entire economy,” she says. “So in a small way, I feel that I am making a difference in the economic prosperity of our entire Greater Pittsburgh region.”


Categories: Women & Business