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!