Mia Hooper named first COO of Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

A transition in leadership often represents an opportunity to review and revise internal structures and systems, policies and procedures, and communication strategies, with the goal of improving capacity to maximize organizational impact. As an executive leader of a non-profit organization, it’s always my objective to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to us and position the organization to create more value than it consumes. With that in mind, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council recently underwent a staff restructuring. We’d like to provide our community with an update on some of the changes that resulted from this restructuring.

Person with short curly brown hair smiles for the camera
Mia Hooper, Chief Operating Officer

The first change is that Mia Hooper, who started her employment with the Arts Council in 2019 as the Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations and most recently served as the Director of Development and Grantmaking, was named the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Arts Council as of November 6, 2023. As COO, Mia serves as second-in-command at the Arts Council and is the internal lead for operations. As the Arts Council enters into the strategic planning process in early 2024, Mia will be responsible for helping staff translate strategies and priorities into implementable daily operations to meet the organization’s objectives.

The position of COO is a newly created C-Suite position within the Arts Council. The Arts Council’s Board of Directors approved creating this position during the October meeting of the Board. Every organization should take succession planning seriously and the most appropriate time to develop a plan is when one isn’t needed. The creation of a COO position supports having a strong internal candidate when the Arts Council goes through its next leadership transition.

The COO position was created by dissolving the position of Senior Director of Internal Systems, which up until July of this year was filled by the late Sue Mencher.

The second change is that Lisa Cunningham, who was hired in 2023 as the Manager of Communications, was promoted to the role of Director of Marketing and Communications. This promotion was a result of recognizing Lisa’s wealth of experience in the field of marketing and communications and after witnessing first-hand the quality of her work over the past six months. In this Director-level role, Lisa will have an elevated degree of responsibility for generating marketing and communication campaigns and strategies for the Arts Council. Since accepting this position, Lisa has already made dramatic updates to the Arts Council’s website.

The third change is that Clara Kent, who was hired in 2023 as a part-time Artist Outreach Coordinator, was promoted to a full-time position of Program Specialist. In this role, Clara is specifically responsible for the administration of several Arts Council programs, including The Creative Hive, Artist Advancing Artists, and the Arts Leadership Collective, which includes both the Black Arts Action Committee and the Disabled Artists Creative Cohort.

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Ajani Powell, Advocacy and Communications Associate, and Mona Wiley, Program Specialist

The fourth change is that Ajani Powell was hired to serve in the newly created role of Advocacy and Communications Associate. In this position, Ajani will work with Lisa Cunningham, the Director of Marketing and Communications, and Morgan Kasprowicz, the Director of Research and Special Projects, to gather, interpret, and disseminate information promoting the visibility, reach, and sustainability of the region's arts and culture sector.

The fifth change is that Mona Wiley has been offered and accepted a full-time position of Program Specialist with the Arts Council. Her employment will begin on January 3, 2024. In this role, Mona will be specifically responsible for the administration of several Arts Council programs, including the Creative Entrepreneurship Accelerator and Creative Sector Flex Fund grant programs.

The Arts Council’s restructured organizational chart is as follows:

Full-Time Team Members

  • CEO 
  • COO 
  • Director of Research and Special Projects 
  • Director of Marketing and Communication 
  • Development Manager 
  • Advocacy and Communications Associate 
  • Program Specialists 

Part-Time Team Members


  • Research Intern 
  • Communications Intern

Independent Contractors

  • Fiscal Management 
  • IT Management 
  • HR Management 


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