Tesha L. Nesbit

A portrait of Penn State Behrend alumna Tesha Nesbit

Tesha L. Nesbit '93 is the founder and principal of A Phoenix Rising Coaching, a full-service coaching and consulting practice. In 2021, she was the first recipient of the newly created Behrend Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

The award is presented to an alumnus or alumna of Penn State Behrend who has made significant contributions to and achievements in their chosen profession, their community, and Penn State Behrend, in turn enhancing the stature of the college. The recipient is an individual who has risen to high levels of success, demonstrated professional leadership, been active in community affairs, and made a significant contribution to the betterment of society, social values, or justice.

Previously, Nesbit was the director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility for North American Partners in Anesthesia. Before her work at NAPA, Nesbit spent nearly twenty years at Erie Insurance Group. In her final position there, as director of diversity and inclusion, Nesbit oversaw the design, implementation, and monitoring of all diversity and inclusion programs for the company.

Nesbit is active in the Penn State Behrend community. She is a member of the board of directors of Behrend’s Council of Fellows and was instrumental in the creation of the Behrend Black Alumni Coalition, for which she chairs the professional development committee. She also serves as a member of the boards of United Way of Erie County and the Child Development Centers and as a member of the UPMC Hamot Board of Corporators, the UPMC Hamot Inclusion Committee, the Erie School District diversity and equity committee, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

“When we think about our many alumni who have made significant contributions to their career fields and their communities, Tesha immediately rises to the top of the list,” said Behrend Chancellor Ralph Ford. “Her dedication to the cause of diversity and inclusion is especially valuable at this moment, as we work to ensure our college is welcoming to all members of our community.”

Nesbit earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Penn State Behrend and a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from La Roche College. She received a certificate in corporate social responsibility from Johns Hopkins University and is pursuing an executive certification in diversity coaching from Howard University.

(Updated, June 2023)