Meet the Honorees: Professional Women in Construction (PWC)
Salute to Women of Achievement, April 23, 2012
Tanya Pope, Columbia University, Executive Director of Construction Business Services, Columbia University Facilities
Tanya Pope is in exactly the right place at the right time: “My role at Columbia is to source the most capable and prepared minority, women and locally-owned (MWL) contractors that can provide high level construction and assist the University to reach its 35% MWL contracting goal. By helping to identify and develop capable companies, I am able to provide contracting opportunities to these firms and advance the participation goals of the University at the same time. This creates a win-win situation for all.”
In additional to helping the University meet its construction initiatives, Tanya oversees the Corporate Alliance Program/Columbia University Construction Certificate Mentorship Program. In partnership with Bank of New York Mellon, Con Edison, Goldman Sachs and National Grid, Columbia provides advanced construction knowledge and bidding opportunities to 20 M/W/L firms per cohort. Thus far over 53 firms have graduated the program.
Her work also helps Pope realize her own aims. She explains, “As a woman and a minority, I know that we often have more to prove when we step up to the table. It’s not always assumed we can deliver an A game, whereas male counterparts might often receive this benefit of the doubt. Offering opportunities to the M/W/L firms that, in fact, can meet and exceed expectations gives them the edge they need and is extremely gratifying to me on a personal and professional level when I see them compete at this level.”
Prior to joining Columbia, Pope was executive director of education and corporate programs at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) where she established high profile public-private initiatives such as: Strategic Steps for Growth, The Corporate Alliance Program, NYC Teaming and the NYC Construction Loan Program, all of which significantly enhanced the growth of M/W/L businesses in New York City.
In the course of Pope’s career she has worked in many industries including construction administration, government, entertainment, publishing, and the travel industry. After over a decade as vice president of travel technology and operations for MTV Networks/Viacom and several years with United Airlines as district sales manager of the NJ/PHL district, she formed her own consulting firm, The Pope Consulting Group, which developed business process strategies and corporate travel programs for media companies and small businesses.
Her longtime interest in communication and in the skills that define true leadership led Pope to receive a bachelor’s in communication management and a master’s in leadership and strategic management from Manhattanville College in Purchase,NY.