Rebecca Harris – Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Rebecca Harris is an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience as a consultant and marketing specialist. She graduated from Northwestern University as a communications studies major, received her MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and is a member of the Leadership Pittsburgh XXVII class. Passionate about helping women start and grow successful businesses, Harris enjoys developing strategic programming to benefit women entrepreneurs and those working in local and regional businesses through the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE).
In 1983 Harris became an entrepreneur when she started her first business developing, distributing, and marketing recreational marine products in Wilmington, Delaware. Having discovered a passion for entrepreneurship, she spent the next 16 years as a serial entrepreneur, assessing industry opportunities and founding businesses that specialized in everything from healthy baked goods to boutique publications throughout the United States.
Since Harris’s arrival as Director in 2009, she has applied her entrepreneurial skills to change the face of CWE. Under her leadership CWE has designed and introduced a number of new programs, including the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, the Mentoring for Women Business Owners Workshop Series, and “CWE Connect,” an online mentoring platform which gives women entrepreneurs who live in rural areas the same networking community, workshops, and mentoring programs enjoyed by Pittsburgh women through CWE. Additionally, Harris has grown staple CWE programs such as the Think Big Forum for Women, which has tripled in both size and corporate support.
Harris is as passionate about community involvement as she is about entrepreneurship. In the past several years she has served on the planning committees for the Women’s Law Project, been an active member of the Executive Women’s Council of Greater Pittsburgh as well as a member of the Host Committee of the Annual Greater Pittsburgh Athena Award Program. She is also a member of Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s Financial Sustainability Vision Team, and the PowerUp Pittsburgh Working Group, which was created to ensure community resources are distributed properly to all areas of the city. She is also a frequent speaker at entrepreneurship conferences, workshops, and seminars. She has received the Crystal Award of Excellence from Women in Communications, Marketer of the Year Award from the Northwestern Ohio chapter of the American Marketing Association, and was a YWCA Milestones Business Honoree. Harris was also selected as the 2010-2011 Member of the Year for the National Association of Women Business Owners of Greater Pittsburgh (NAWBO) and a winner of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2012 Women in Business Awards.
Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Pittsburgh, PA 15232