Monday, August 26, 2013

Life by design: Donna D. Diakite ’10, ‘13

BUILDING BUSINESS: Alumna uses
Peirce education to begin her own
businesses
Guiding clients on their path to holistic wellness is at the heart of Donna D. Diakite’s entrepreneurial ventures: She operates her own massage and aromatherapy practice, and is the proprietor of a custom women’s clothing business, 3-D Designs LLC: “Clothing Designs With Women in Mind.”

But while she has been continually interested in fostering the well being of others, she was not always as confident about her own advancement. On three separate occasions, she approached 1420 Pine Street to enroll at Peirce, but was too apprehensive to take that first step. But the third time was the charm: Once she set foot through the front doors of Peirce, she was on the road to earning a degree as an adult college student.

In 2008, while pursuing her associate degree in Business Administration at Peirce, she launched her first entrepreneurial venture. The timing was fortuitous: In the classroom, Donna learned about crafting a business plan and employing effective marketing strategies, while out in the real world, she was using these newly acquired skills to develop her massage practice. She credits that knowledge as being a key to strengthening her self-confidence while growing her business.

Donna went on to study for a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at Peirce. During this phase of her education, she gained an understanding that entrepreneurs need to constantly re-evaluate their plans and reinvent themselves in order to face changes in market demands. She acknowledges the expertise and guidance of Peirce’s business faculty in helping the budding entrepreneur to blossom. In particular, she credits two members of the business faculty -- Michael Schirmer, Assistant Professor & Faculty Chair, as well as adjunct professor Bob McCarthy -- with helping her grow academically, professionally, and as an individual.

Donna graduated in June 2013 with her bachelor’s degree, and proudly crossed the stage of the Kimmel Center to receive her diploma wearing one of her own custom-made dresses underneath her cap and gown. Her graduation present to herself was another investment in her professional well-being: a top-of-the-line blind-stitch sewing machine that will help her keep up with her burgeoning design business. In addition to working with her own custom clothing clients, Donna will be selling her creations at the juried holiday craft show, A Bit of the Arts, in Lansdowne, Penn., on Thanksgiving weekend.

In reflecting on how she benefited from her entrepreneurial studies at Peirce, Donna asserts, “It is not just what’s in the books - rather, it’s everything about the process of continuing one’s education. It is the entire journey.”

As she embarks upon the next stage of her professional path, Donna D. Diakite is proud of the opportunities she has created for herself by earning her degree with the support of her partners at Peirce. For more information about the creations of 3-D Designs or her massage practice, contact Donna directly at threeddesigns@live.com. You can also visit her website.