#032: Interview with Saleem Ghubril [Podcast]

 Learning to Lead Episode #32: Saleem Ghubril




Saleem Ghubril is a committed and passionate advocate for children and for the City of Pittsburgh. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he has devoted his life to serving the people of his community through outreach and education programs.

In 1985, Saleem founded The Pittsburgh Project, a community development organization that annually provides free home renovations to hundreds of vulnerable seniors, and mentors, educates, and deploys thousands of volunteer youth in meaningful community service initiatives. Saleem led The Pittsburgh Project until 2008, when he assumed the leadership of The Pittsburgh Promise.

The Pittsburgh Promise is a regional economic and workforce development entity that focuses on transforming the quality of education and life in the City of Pittsburgh, and making higher education a reality for all of Pittsburgh’s urban youth.

He is currently the volunteer pastor of the Mosaic Community Church in Pittsburgh. He also serves on the boards of The Buhl Foundation, Vibrant Pittsburgh, and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Connect with Saleem:

Become a Middle School Mentor: http://www.bea6thgradementor.org/

  • The Pittsburgh Promise is looking for 2,000 middle school mentors! This could be a great opportunity for you to serve the kids in our city!


  • Tell us about yourself, your family, your passions!
  • What is the Pittsburgh Project?
  • Walk us through your leadership journey.
  • Did you always aspire to be a leader wherever you were?
  • How did you learn leadership?
  • Who are one or two people who have made a significant impact on your life?
  • What are you doing and what have you done to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
  • What books and authors would you recommend?
  • What have you learned about failure?
  • What have you learned about fundraising?
  • What have you learned about succession in leadership? 
  • How do you balance ministry with your family life?
  • What do you want to be remembered for? 
  • Any closing advice for young leaders?
  • How can we serve you?

Some Key Takeaways

  • Failure should not be surprise, it should be a surprise not to fail!
  • Failing and being a failure are not the same thing.
  • Failure keeps us real, humble, and gracious.
  • Fundraising = GAS -> Grit. Art. Science.
  • Nobody owes you anything!
  • Report the donors return on investment or don’t ask for money again!
  • Earn the right to be heard!
  • Young leader – you are deeply loved. Not based on your performance.
  • Be daring, bold, and reckless in loving others!

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