Friday, March 16, 2018

Join Us For The 8th Annual Women in Leadership Panel!

March is National Women’s History Month, and we are celebrating by bringing some of Philadelphia’s top women to campus to discuss this year’s theme:

Women in Leadership: 
Advancing the Work of Inclusion and Equity

In its 8th year, we are excited to welcome a diverse panel ready to share their knowledge, experience and leadership expertise. Today, we are thrilled to officially announce our panelists:
  1. Folasade "Sade" Olanipekun-Lewis – Folasade Olanipekun-Lewis is the Regional Director for Government and Airport Affairs with American Airlines. In this role she is responsible for advancing business and other interest of American Airlines in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and states of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. 
  2. Rochelle “Chellie” Cameron – Rochelle Cameron is the Chief Executive Officer for the Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, a large hub airport system serving over 30 million passengers annually. Ms. Cameron oversees the planning, development and administration of all activities for the City’s Division of Aviation. 
  3. Romona Riscoe Benson – Romona Riscoe Benson, Director of PECO Corporate Relations, has more than 25-years of strategic leadership in the areas of marketing, community affairs, museum management, and tourism promotion. She currently leads PECO’s corporate philanthropy and sponsorship programs, employee giving and volunteer activities, sports facility management programs and community engagement initiatives. 
  4. Dr. Monique Howard – Monique Howard, Ed.D, MPH, Executive Director of Women Organized Against Rape, is a public health administrator with more than 15 years of experience in protecting and improving the health of women, families and communities. She currently leads WOAR's efforts to address the impact of sexual assault within the many diverse communities of Philadelphia.

As if this panel wasn't already filled with some of Philadelphia's most talented women, we are also bringing back one of our Executive Breakfast panelists as our moderator. Amerihealth’s Carol Wilson Pandza will lead a conversation on the interplay of gender, leadership, and career navigation.

Ms. Wilson Pandza is the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for AmeriHealth Caritas. She oversees all of the company’s human resources functions, including recruitment and onboarding, compensation and benefits, Human Resources information systems, talent management and organizational design, associate and leadership development, client services and associate relations, and diversity and inclusion.

We are extremely excited to welcome all five of these inspirational leaders to our campus on Thursday, March 29th, at 5:30 p.m., and we hope you are too. Register now at to secure your spot, invite a friend or two (remember, this free event is open to the community at large)  and join this timely conversation!

Friday, March 9, 2018

No Hardship Could Stop Ida Keyes From Pursuing Her Dreams

The word “perseverance” doesn’t even begin to do justice for one of our Peirce College at Deliverance students. From overcoming breast cancer to receiving brain surgery, Ida Keyes is an inspiration to us all.

Ida joined the Peirce community in fall 2017 entering into the Criminal Justice program. She is one of the first students to participate in our partnership with Deliverance Evangelistic Church. Ida found this opportunity after pursuing her associate degree with Harcum College, but her educational journey was not as smooth as it is for some.

Ida always knew she wanted to earn her degree not only for herself, but for her children and her mother. Unfortunately, life got in the way and Ida battled with breast cancer (and won!!) and then was in a bad car accident, which set her back by many years. But she wasn’t letting life get her down. She knew what her goals and dreams were and she was set on achieving them.

After finally being able to enroll at Harcum College in 2014, Ida pushed through the balance of work, life and school. As Harcum’s graduation quickly approached, though, Ida wasn’t sure if moving on was the right decision for her. She had lost her mother halfway through her associate degree pursuit leaving her feeling a bit uninspired, but with the help of fellow classmates, she was able to get the support she needed.

“As I was preparing for my graduation from Harcum, my classmates, Tariq and Kim, surrounded me and encouraged me to continue on with earning my bachelor’s degree,” Ida explained, “With my mom passing during my associate degree, I wasn’t sure I had it in me, but with friends like them, it was hard to say no.”

Additionally, Ida mentioned, Celeste Atkins, Deliverance’s Coordinator for Education, provided her with a large amount of support and prayer necessary for her to find the strength to keep going.

After receiving the push she needed, she connected with Peirce College at Deliverance and found her niche. As a Philadelphia Police Officer, Ida knew the Criminal Justice program was exactly what she wanted to pursue.

As if life hadn’t thrown enough curve balls yet, right before classes started in September, Ida received the news she would need brain surgery. So in June 2017, Ida underwent the procedure successfully, coming out still eager and ready to learn! She kept with her plan and schedule and started in September 2017 only three short months after this life-changing experience.

Working with her advisor, Stephen Bernardini, she was able to register for classes and has found success with the partnership since. “I really enjoy the flexibility and the opportunity to attend class at the church and take part in the activities on Peirce’s campus!”

Ida raves about her Peirce professors, one in particular, who has brought the passion back to Ida’s educational journey that Ida had been looking for, “Times have been tough, but Professor Christa Donato has saved me. She pulled me through my slump and has inspired me to continue moving forward.”

As Ida keeps chasing her educational dreams and letting nothing stand in her way, she wanted to share some advice for anyone who is considering going back to school like she did. “Don’t let anything stand in your way. Fight for your goals, fight for what you want!” exclaimed Ida, “If you don’t chase your dreams, you will never achieve them.”

We wish Ida nothing but continued success as she keeps moving forward and inspiring all of us to follow our dreams, no matter what life may throw our way.

If you are interested in taking part or learning more about our Peirce College at Deliverance partnership, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Enrollment, at 215.670.9203 or

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Dedicated Leader, An Inspiring Student - Meet Robin Johnson

Today we introduce a student who has not only made her mark on Peirce College, but has made her mark on the country.

Robin Johnson, a current Peirce student in the Organizational Leadership program, has been serving our country for 25 years. Robin is an adult learner who brings her wealth of human resource and military knowledge to the classroom each week.

Robin originally started her educational journey many years back, but found the other schools she attended were not for her. Then, during a conversation on higher education one day, her fellow colleague and three-time Peirce graduate, William Blackman, encouraged Robin to learn more about the College that really works for working adults.

After speaking with Karen Hun, Robin’s Enrollment Specialist, Robin found her interests directly aligned with our Organizational Leadership program. This offered her the opportunity to tie in her current human resource role while learning and developing her leadership style.

Now, three sessions in, Robin only has good things to express about her educational journey, saying, “I feel at home here. The professors are empathetic. The program is realistic. I love the staff! I immediately felt a closeness when I first came to Peirce and that is what I wanted.”

Robin has a hectic schedule at times with her military commitments, but she has found a system that works for her with our PeirceFit® program, “I love the Fit program. If I can’t make it to campus, that’s okay. I started strictly online and had one problem with a class, came to campus and realized I do much better in the classroom, so here I am! PeirceFit really caters to working adults and I appreciate that!”

Robin definitely has her hands full in her position of Sergeant First Class, the Non-Commission Officer of the 252 Quartermaster Company of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard while balancing school. With her career, she manages anywhere from hundreds to thousands of soldiers' records from the time they arrive in the military to the time they leave. With this much on her professional plate, how does she fit school in? Robin said, “I don’t give up and always stay with it. I talk to my advisor, create a time management plan and always remind myself this is for ME. We spend so much time doing things for other people, but we don’t take enough time to do things for ourselves. I am finally doing something for me!”

As Robin continues to find success in her classroom work, she is far from slipping in her professional career. Robin Johnson was recently awarded the 2018 Women Veterans Award Honoree of the Year and Editor’s Top Picks: Women of the National Guard by The Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation. This honor was given to Robin for her inspiring leadership for women of all ages. With this award, she will be considered the advocate for women in the military and in general for the upcoming year.

As part of the Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation, Robin and others have been able to grow in their effective leadership skills and furthermore help to train the next round of women. Robin explained, “The foundation assists women in the military ‘from boots to the board room’ by showing us how to take the leadership part of the military and how to turn it into the workforce. I started in the organization three years ago and I was asked to be part of the process in developing myself and then moving to develop other women in the military.”

Robin is a true inspiration for women in all fields. From her award-winning leadership to her honorable career to her work-school-life balance, Robin does it all. If her successes weren't impressive enough, Robin does still find downtime to keep up with the Philadelphia sports teams. No matter how crazy life gets, you can always find Robin cheering on her city!

As one final piece of advice for those wondering how Robin manages it all, she said, “I smile, smile through the toughness, smile through the goodness, smile through life."

We wish Robin nothing but continued success as she makes her way through her Peirce journey!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dr. Mary Ellen Caro Named First Woman President and CEO of Peirce College

It’s official! Following a comprehensive national search, the Board of Trustees has unanimously selected Peirce College’s eighth president: Dr. Mary Ellen Caro.

Dr. Caro currently serves as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Learner Services at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J., where she is responsible for a wide range of functions, including student affairs; strategic corporate partnerships and learning contracts; marketing; and recruiting. She previously held other leadership positions at Thomas Edison, including Executive Vice Provost, Associate Provost and founding Dean of the School of Business and Management.

Dr. Mary Ellen Caro
Dr. Caro joined Thomas Edison in 2004 after a 25-year career at AT&T, where she progressed through several executive positions, culminating as Vice President of AT&T Business Services.

“Peirce College is an integral piece of the puzzle for workforce development and adult degree attainment in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Caro. “I look forward to building on this 153-year legacy and I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with new partners throughout the region to benefit working adults, businesses and the regional economy.”

Caro completed her doctorate in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing her dissertation on partnerships between business and higher education. In addition, she earned a Master of Science in Management from Stanford University, where she was an AT&T Sloan Fellow; a Master of Science in Applied Statistics from Rutgers University; and a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Saint Elizabeth, where she majored in Mathematics and Sociology.

Dr. Caro becomes the first woman to hold the position of President and CEO in Peirce's 153-year history. Her first day at Peirce will be April 16th, 2018.

After 30 years with the College, current Peirce President and CEO James J. Mergiotti will retire on April 13th. Mergiotti was appointed president in July 2009 after serving as vice president, administration and executive vice president and chief operating officer. Before joining the administration, Mr. Mergiotti served as a Peirce College trustee from 1988 to 1998, including a term as board vice-chair.
“Dr. Caro’s expertise and vision will provide the perfect ingredients to expand on the great work of the Peirce community.” Mergiotti said. “I am very enthusiastic about the College’s future under her direction and delighted that an executive of her caliber will be joining the leadership ranks in our region."

This morning, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story in both print and online announcing Dr. Caro's appointment. Click here to view the article.

Welcome to Peirce College, Dr. Caro!

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Mission for Soft (Power) Skills Development

Picture a rocket ship catapulting into space – this is what we envision for our business students as they advance in their professional careers. Many of these students are returning adults who are already working in full-time positions and are looking to get promoted or transition into other career paths.

In order to assist our business students with achieving their career goals, at Peirce College, we equip them with academic knowledge in management, accounting, economics, marketing, ethics, and statistics, but is this enough to move through an organization or through the stratosphere of their chosen profession? The honest answer is: no.

According to senior business leaders and human resource professionals such as Sarah Fister Gale and Christine Ottow, employees with the greatest soft skills, or as we call them at Peirce, power skills, will drive business results and advance into leadership roles. Some of these skills include: professionalism, interpersonal skills, problem solving, adaptability, and personal value commitment.

With this in mind, the business division faculty at Peirce College took on the mission to support the soft skills development of our students as a critical endeavor. Instead of solely including information about these skills in class, we chose to also create engaging and interactive opportunities outside of the classroom for students to participate in.

Over the past three years, we held annual conferences featuring local business leaders from a variety of industries covering topics on professionalism, emotional intelligence, networking, office politics, working in teams, and dealing with change. We’ve even offered a golf etiquette opportunity where students learned how to strengthen work relationships over the game of golf! Additionally, we also distributed career development books to students to continue furthering their education beyond the classroom walls; for example, The Start Up You and The Mindset: The Psychology of Success. All of these opportunities resulted in positive outcomes for our students such as professional growth and development and the fostering of relationships with our experienced faculty.

We are passionate about achieving our mission of equipping students with academic credentials and soft skills development, so our students EXPLODE through their career universe.

And we aren’t done yet! On Tuesday, April 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., we are bringing some top industry leaders to campus for the next Professional Business Series event - The Power of Grit: Building Resilience in Changing Times. You won’t want to miss out on hearing from these talented and successful individuals:

- Dr. Mike Brenner, President of Right Chord Leadership, LLC, International Consultant, Jazz Musician
- Ms. Caridad Diego, Esq., National Contracts Manager at Comcast Corporation
- Ms. Janet Taylor, President of Totally Organized, LLC, Entrepreneur, Peirce Alum 86’

As an additional bonus, the first thirty students to register will receive the book, GRIT: The Power of Passion & Perseverance.

There’s no time to wait, register now for our upcoming Professional Enrichment Series event here.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Making Connections That Matter

Can you socialize your way to a better career? Absolutely.

Although most people start the hunt for a new job online, most recruiters start the hunt for candidates by activating their networks. They ask their colleagues, friends, and professional contacts for referrals, because they assume that contacts who know their businesses will know what makes for a successful employee in that particular environment.

Because of this, analysts estimate that 80% of open positions are not formally advertised. This means that you need to be in the know to hear about these job openings – which means that you need to network, network, network.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend your evenings handing out business cards at formal networking events. Instead, start talking to people. Strike up conversations at your kid’s soccer game, or in the elevator, or with other students in your classes. As you build rapport with a wide range of people – especially if you are able to quickly share your goals for your next career move in those conversations – you’ll be more likely to get tapped when opportunity arises.

Remember that the strongest leads come from the weakest ties: there’s a better chance you’ll get new information by talking to people who move in different circles than you do.

And make sure that you don’t overlook the power of online networking. Employers are increasingly using social media to screen candidates for job openings, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey that reached over 2,300 hiring managers across industries. They’re looking online for evidence that you are the professional you claim to be, so make sure that’s what they find!

Most professionals have heard the advice to keep party pictures away from their profiles, but have you heard that not having an online presence at all can hurt you? CareerBuilder found that 57% of employers are less likely to schedule an interview with a candidate if they can’t find that person anywhere online.

A LinkedIn profile is a like a modern-day business card; you need to have one if you’d like to be taken seriously as a professional. After you meet new people, connect on LinkedIn by sending a note reflecting on where you met and the conversation you had. That way you’ll be able to keep in touch, and also share opportunities you come across. (Pro tip: Career Development Services can not only help you create a polished LinkedIn profile, we can also evaluate your overall online presence to provide insight into how potential employers might perceive you.)

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with recruiters face-to-face at events like job fairs. Most recruiters attend job fairs not to hire on the spot but in order to connect with candidates and quickly prioritize the applications they receive. If you are actively looking for a new job, think of a job fair as a way to offer a smile and a handshake, leaving a good first impression that will help your resume stand out from the crowd.

Check Peircelink, Peirce’s proprietary job board for students and alumni, for announcements about upcoming job fairs and networking opportunities. Here are a few coming up that you won’t want to miss:
  • NET/WORK (Tuesday, February 27, 3-8pm at the Fillmore) is a technology job fair showcasing vibrant companies seeking talent and talented people seeking work. Peirce’s Career Development Services will be providing mock interviews for attendees, and Peirce students can receive a 20% discount by registering with the code PEIRCE.
  • A Virtual Veteran’s Job Fair (Tuesday, February 27) is planned for former service members. Attend from anywhere and connect with recruiters looking to hire veterans with college experience.
  • Campus Philly’s Social Impact Expo (Friday, February 23, 1-4pm at Temple University’s Mitten Hall) will feature the region’s leading mission-driven organizations, recruiting students interested in careers that make an impact. Learn how to get involved with mission driven work—whether you’re looking for an internship or a job offer, volunteer or service work—and meet recruiters from across the region. This is a great way to find out how to work in Philadelphia’s non-profit and social impact community.
  • Hire Talent (Tuesday, April 10, 11am-2:30pm, at the 23rd Street Armory) is an alumni-only career fair. The fair will feature employers from a variety of industries, including education, investment banking, technology, consulting, healthcare, sales, government, and the nonprofit sector. 
  • Peirce’s Annual Job Fair (Thursday, April 26, 3-6:30pm in College Hall, Rooms 51/52) is free for students, alumni, and friends of Peirce to attend. Employers include companies interested in hiring from all academic disciplines at Peirce. 
As always, Career Development Services is here to help you practice your elevator pitch, warm up for interviews, make introductions, and generally support you in mapping out a pathway to your next job. Call 215-670-9202 or email to set up an appointment today!

Friday, February 16, 2018

From Teeth to Computers – Meet Vandy Sam

For some people, the path they take to earning a college degree can take a drastic turn, steering them in a direction far from where they started. Vandy Sam, a Peirce College student majoring in Information Technology with a concentration in Programming and App Development, is the perfect example.

Vandy originally developed an interest for dentistry when he was younger. Following high school graduation, he immediately began classes in hopes of pursuing this dream. To his surprise, he quickly realized that the field didn’t excite or interest him as much as it did when he was younger, and he started considering other options.

Fortunately for Vandy, he had always loved working with computers, so the decision to enroll as an Information Technology student at The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) was an easy transition. During his experience with CCP, he expressed a desire to continue on with his education following graduation by pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This excitement for knowledge led a CCP instructor to connect Vandy with Peirce! Since this connection, Vandy has never looked back.

“It’s been a really positive experience at Peirce from day one,” Vandy says. “The location, the tuition, the fact that all my credits transferred, it all made sense.”

Vandy mentioned one of the most valuable aspects of his time at Peirce College so far has been the Career Development Services (CDS) team. They informed Vandy of a Wells Fargo job opening and he has been there ever since.

Vandy credits Peirce’s CDS staff for not only letting him know about the job and encouraging him to apply, but for also assisting him with resume and interview preparation. “I’ve been there since September working on Networking for their IT team,” said Vandy. “I’d love to stay with Wells Fargo and I have Peirce to thank for helping me find the job. It’s been great.”

Since Vandy works full-time at Wells Fargo, he can no longer attend all of his classes on campus, but that certainly doesn’t stop him from still earning his degree! He has taken full advantage of the flexibility of the PeirceFit® program, which allows him to excel in school even if he can’t make it in for class. “I used to come to all of my classes on campus, but now that I work full-time I have to attend most of them online. It’s a great option for a student like me that needs a flexible schedule,” explained Vandy.

When asked what advice he has for other students juggling work and school, Vandy didn’t hesitate and offered, “Time management is everything. As an adult, you have a lot more on your plate, and you really need to be disciplined with how you spend your time.”

Though he’s normally busy with school and work, Vandy still attempts to fit some fun into his schedule. He balances playing video games with working out, and he loves to read comic books.

Peirce College salutes The Community College of Philadelphia for providing Vandy with a wonderful educational foundation, and we wish Vandy the best in all of his future endeavors!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or