Meet the Women of the URA's Executive Leadership Team
Meet the Five Incredible Women That Lead the URA
Historically, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has had a male dominant executive leadership team. There are now five tremendous women on that leadership team. The role of women in the workforce has significantly evolved since the incorporation of the URA in 1946. According to the United States Department of Labor statistics, in 1948 the percentage of women in the workforce was 28.6 percent. That number is now 47 percent. Women are taking the workforce by storm, and it is about time.
The City of Pittsburgh has made several progressive changes in the last few years. The average percentage of employed women in the City of Pittsburgh is 55.3 percent, which is 8 percent higher than the national average. The URA has helped contribute to the cultural shift occurring in Pittsburgh by diversifying the executive leadership team and staff. Here are the women of the URA’s executive leadership team.
Susheela Nemani-Stanger is the first woman in URA history to be named Executive Director for the URA. She brings tenets of strengthening and stabilizing organizations. She rejoined the URA in August of 2022 as the Deputy Executive Director focusing on project development and implementation. During her first tenure with the URA she served as the Director of Economic Development. “At its best, the URA is an organization that acknowledges the deep history of Pittsburgh as it implements appropriate plans for our diverse communities. Our goal is to contribute to positive change and a lasting legacy in the city we love.” Nemani-Stanger returned to the URA from Allegheny County Economic Development where she served as Deputy Director. She managed the project-related divisions including development, business expansion and attraction, affordable housing development and planning, and providing oversight over the tax diversion and abatement program unit. During her previous 13-year tenure with the URA, Nemani-Stanger directed the overall planning, financing, and implementation of significant mixed-use, transportation, infrastructure, and public space projects within the City of Pittsburgh.
Jennifer Wilhelm is the Chief Operating Officer at the URA, where she provides team development, operations management, and oversight of the Commercial and Business Lending unit. Jennifer has more than 15 years of experience in partnership building, strategy development, project management, and policy analysis across nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors. “Be willing to learn anything you are presented with. Give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow in your position.” She serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Invest PGH, an emerging Community Development Financial Institution, and as a member of the advisory council for Kiva Pittsburgh. Jennifer holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Baldwin-Wallace University.
Quianna Wasler, Chief Housing Officer at the URA, is an economic development professional with a passion for housing stability and equitable neighborhood development with 15+ years of experience. Prior to rejoining the URA, Quianna was the Development Director at Beacon Communities. She provided project management for multi-family Low-Income Housing Tax Credit real estate developments in the Northeast including projects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston, Massachusetts, developing $150+ million in assets. Prior to working for Beacon Communities, Quianna was the Manager of Business and Commercial Real Estate Financing at the URA. Her 13 years of experience there included the oversight of commercial lending programs, loan portfolios, commercial and residential facade renovation programs, as well as the oversight of departmental staff. During her first tenure at the URA, Quianna produced over 400 grants and loans to small businesses and residents throughout the City of Pittsburgh.
Damara R. Carter joined the URA in 2009 and was recently promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Damara has more than 27 years of experience in financial management, budgeting, and financial services within the nonprofit sector. Damara is an essential asset to the URA. She is highly collaborative across all functions of finance, provides strategic leadership for the URA’s business and financial initiatives and manages the financial and capital budget resources. “I hope I can help to open the door for Black accountants. I really want to be instrumental in that.” She has a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance from Central State University, and a master's in business administration with a concentration in finance from Strayer University.
Tanika Harris is the Director of Communication & Community Relations at the URA. She is also a founding partner of ACT3 Consulting Partners, LLC (ACT3) a consulting group focusing on the intersection between Arts and Culture, Community, and Technology. She holds degrees from Point Park University in Organizational Leadership and from the Community College of Allegheny County in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. Tanika is a passionate “servant leader” with over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She is sensitive to the needs of all people and utilizes her administrative, public speaking, critical thinking, and conflict resolution skills to provide quality service. Tanika believes, "We all have a responsibility to be change agents in our communities, and to do so, we must broaden our worldview to understand others, specifically those in need fully." Her commitment to service is rare, and she continues demonstrating her investment in people and communities of place, interest and action.