Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet PTC Philadelphia’s new Executive Director

LEADING THE CHARGE: Diana Campbell
is the new Executive Director of Year Up
Philadelphia
At the beginning of the school year we told you all about our new partnership that brought Year Up’s Professional Training Corps (PTC) to Philadelphia to help close the opportunity divide for young people in the city. Year Up's mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with skills, experience, and support through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships, and college credits.

And now we’re excited to introduce Diana Campbell as Executive Director of Year Up PTC Philadelphia, who will lead the charge and ensure young Philadelphians are given the tools they need to succeed. We’ve invited her to share a little bit about herself on the blog today.

Q: Can you share a little bit about your background with us?

A: Absolutely. Immediately before this position, I was Vice President of Teaching and Learning at the Philadelphia Education Fund right here in Philadelphia. I was the founding director of Philadelphia Teacher Residency Program, which is a program that helps people with strong math and science backgrounds, but no teaching experience, become math and science teachers in Philadelphia’s secondary public schools. We were partnered with University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and Drexel School of Education. The model was very similar to Year Up in terms of connecting talent to workforce needs and opportunities. Math and science education programming within and among universities has been a thread in my career pathway.

Q: Why are you excited about becoming the Executive Director of Year Up Philadelphia?

A: Several things. I love the mission. I have a heart for service and bridging access to those who have been unwisely overlooked or historically underserved. The buy-in and leadership from Peirce is inspiring. Also, on a personal level, this was the right next step for me. I wanted to be part of a larger, national organization and I have great confidence in the national Year Up team.

Q: Why do you think that Year Up Philadelphia and its mission are so important to the educational system here in Philadelphia?

A: Young people have wonderful energy and potential that is often unharnessed within the public schools in Philadelphia. The youth coming out of Philadelphia public schools deserve a second chance. The ones that step up and say they’re ready to do something important will be successful. While we work on inspiring young people at the k-12 level, we should provide second chance opportunities for our young adults to reach their potential and contribute to the economy.

Q: What do your job responsibilities include as Executive Director?

A: I inspire and manage a staff of leaders. We are a lean operation and it is critical that everyone have spheres of autonomy and are empowered to make strategic decisions. My job is to scale Year Up. We want to serve 100 students each year. Another key role is to ensure we secure and maintain internships for our program participants. I am the face of the Philadelphia operation and so it is also my job to forge relationships with other community partners and corporate sponsors.

Q: How have the members of Peirce helped you fulfill those responsibilities?

A: I’m so grateful for the strength and nimbleness of the staff at Peirce, especially those in the Admissions department. We all want to serve our students, through the Year Up program and then throughout their four-year college experience at Peirce. Year Up and Perice senior leadership are very much aligned in wanting to help students succeed and probably more importantly, how we want to help them.

Q: You’ll be a contributor here on the blog moving forward. What types of topics do you look forward to covering?

A: I like thinking about leadership, the different forms it takes, and the leadership we see in our students. When I came on board at Year Up, the first thing I noticed was that students had learned to work together and support each other. I’d love to share some of those insights with blog readers.

Housing stability is a significant issue that hinders many young people from managing work and school experience. I’d love to explore this with readers.

Finally, I’d like to discuss the partnership between Year Up and Peirce College. I’d also like to talk more broadly about the challenges and opportunities of university -- nonprofit partnerships.

Welcome to the blog, Diana! We can’t wait to read more of your insights.