For 25 years, Chief Program Officer Lori Como has dedicated her life and her professional career to making adult lives better through learning.
Lori started her career at Literacy Pittsburgh in 1999 as a community-based coordinator where she built partnerships with organizations, recruited volunteer tutors, matched those tutors with students, and tripled the size of the program in just two years.
Lori was promoted to Program Manager in 2001 where she assumed leadership for securing increased public investments, coaching staff, and using data to improve performance.
In 2005, Lori was promoted to Program Director, where she assumed greater supervisory responsibilities while also accelerating the development of partnerships with employers for workplace classes, the County for the addition of case management services for immigrants and refugees, and community partners for the addition of citizenship classes to name just a few.
In 2014, Lori was named Associate Director. In this role she not only led the organization’s programs, she grew each of these programs by tenaciously guarding for quality and results and creating and seizing opportunities to partner with others to increase impact.
In 2019, Lori was appointed Chief Program Officer. Initially responsible for six programs, 8 sites, and a team of 35 professional employees, she has led program expansion, resulting in responsibility for 10 programs and nearly 60 employees.
Lori built this impressive tenure at Literacy Pittsburgh on some great experiences. Initially an elementary and middle school teacher and then later a director of a Sylvan Learning Center, Lori is at her core, an educator.
Lori’s background also includes brief stints as a banker and a real estate agent. She has brought the core competencies of an educator to her work at Literacy Pittsburgh, along with her administrative savvy and entrepreneurial spirit from her experiences in banking and real estate.
Lori’s influences have reached beyond the growing Literacy Pittsburgh footprint. Lori has been leading locally, state-wide, nationally and internationally,
She has been an integral part of the Pennsylvania Association for Adult and Continuing Education (PAACE) by having served on the state board for 13 years on the executive committee in roles of secretary, vice president, president, and conference chair, a post she held for five years.
In her capacity with PAACE, Lori spearheaded the first statewide tutor conference and then worked with Tutors of Literacy in the Commonwealth to make tutor conferences a regular part of the PAACE conference. Lori spearheaded the hosting of a national tutor conference during the 2014 COABE conference in Pittsburgh which she co-chaired.
Lori has ensured that other Literacy Pittsburgh staff have engaged with PAACE as board members and volunteers. Not surprisingly, Literacy Pittsburgh is viewed as a leader in Pennsylvania’s adult education field thanks to Lori’s leadership.
In addition to local, state, and national leadership, Lori has provided leadership internationally as well. She helped to bring the Literacy Education and Second Language Learning for Adults (LESLLA) international symposium to Pittsburgh in 2019 with more than 150 adult educators and researchers from all over the world in attendance.
And believe it or not, there is so much more.
The bottom line is that Lori is a dedicated, tireless, entrepreneurial, and strategic servant leader.
The qualifications described above are the result of a lot of work, long days and long weeks, and the constant cultivation of new opportunities and new talent.
Lori has embraced every challenge and opportunity with a servant mindset, always looking for how she can serve students, her colleagues, and the field and never asking for recognition or reward. Her leadership is an example to aspiring leaders everywhere.
Join us in congratulating and thanking Lori Como for her amazing contributions to Literacy Pittsburgh, to adult education, and most importantly to the many, many lives made better because of her work.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 4,000 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.