Our Staff

The Foundation's dedicated staff has decades of experience in serving the communities of the Highmark Foundation.

Yvonne Cook, President, Highmark Foundation

Yvonne CookYvonne Cook has served as the Highmark Foundation's president since 2003. In this position, Ms. Cook is responsible for the management and direction of the Foundation. She also oversees the development, implementation, administration and evaluation of innovative and effective community and health initiative activities, as well as the exploration and evaluation of marketplace needs.

Prior to joining the Highmark Foundation, Ms. Cook served as the executive assistant to the Allegheny County Chief Executive, James Roddey. In this position, she advised the county's chief executive on health and human service matters and provided oversight to the county's Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department. Her professional experience also includes working as a program officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation and 18 years with Bank of New York Mellon.

For more than 30 years, Ms. Cook has volunteered her time and expertise by serving on many boards and committees. Currently, she serves on the board of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and served as its treasurer for more than 10 years. In 2011, she was honored with the leadership award in the area of Business & Industry by the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. In 2010, she served as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women, The Sickle Cell Society Dinner and the Cave Canem Poetry Forum.

Ms. Cook holds a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree in public management from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She speaks often on topics of leadership, philanthropy and health disparities. Cook has also received numerous awards for her leadership, commitment and passion to the community.

Dr. Christina Wilds, Senior Program Officer, Highmark Foundation

Christina WildsChristina L. Wilds, DrPH, MPH, M.Ed, CHES, is a senior program officer at the Highmark Foundation. In her current role, Dr. Wilds is responsible for grantmaking to nonprofit organizations and hospitals.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Wilds served as program evaluator in Highmark Inc.'s division of community affairs, where she was responsible for all phases of program evaluation. In addition, she served as the corporation's director of the former Health Education Center, a Highmark nonprofit affiliate. Before joining Highmark, she worked for a world-class medical center where she served in various fundraising positions.

Dr. Wilds serves on various boards including Ebenezer Development Corporation, Ivy Charitable Endowment of Pittsburgh, Inc. and Lemington Community Services. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Alpha Omega Chapter where she serves as President. She holds memberships in various professional organizations including the American Public Health Association, Pennsylvania Public Health Association and the Society for Public Health Education. She is also a certified health education specialist and a very active member of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Dr. Wilds, a native of Western Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh after obtaining her doctorate in public health, a master's degree in public health, and both bachelor's and master's degrees in education. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Jane Brooks, Program Analyst, Highmark Foundation

Jane BrooksJane Brooks is community affairs manager for Highmark Blue Shield. She independently reviews and evaluates sponsorship and grant funding requests based on Highmark's strategic direction and business needs and the value of the initiative. She is responsible for the implementation of special projects in partnership with community based organizations and agencies to further enhance the health and wellness of residents living within Highmark's service region. Jane is directly responsible for nine counties including the Lehigh Valley. In addition, she serves as program analyst for the Highmark Foundation for 21 counties in central Pennsylvania.

Jane is active in her community and serves on the boards of several organizations including Child Care Information Services, Inc., where she currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors; the Bethlehem YWCA; and Friends of Levitt Pavilion. She previously served on the boards of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, New Bethany Ministries, Cancer Support Community and the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. In addition, she offers her time and talents as a committee member for the Good Shepherd Golf and Tennis Classic, Phoebe Ministries Golf Committee, Bethlehem YWCA Adult Day Services committee and others. She is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church and proud parent to daughter Erin.

Tracey Pollard, Executive Assistant, Highmark Foundation

Tracey PollardTracey Pollard has worked for the Highmark Foundation since 2003 as an executive assistant to Yvonne Cook. Prior to joining the Highmark Foundation, Ms. Pollard worked in various positions at Highmark, Inc. since 1984. Ms. Pollard provides administrative oversight for the Highmark Foundation. She is a 1982 graduate of Bradford Business School. Prior to joining Highmark, Ms. Pollard worked for the Allegheny County Adult Probation Office.

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