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M.A. Organizational Leadership Program Inspires Alumna to Open New Grocery Store

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Pictured is Deirdre Kane, a 2013 M.A. organizational leadership alumna, production analyst for Highmark and owner of 52nd Street Market. | Photo by Jim Judkis

Meet Deirdre Kane, a 2013 M.A. Alumna

Job Titles and Employers: Owner of 52nd Street Market and Production Analyst for Highmark          
Degrees Earned: Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Community Leadership, Point Park University, 2013 and Bachelor of Arts in English Writing, University of Pittsburgh, 1995
Hometown and Current Residence:
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Lawrenceville neighborhood)
Hobbies/Interests:
Community gardening, neighborhood development and rowing

In what ways did the M.A. program inspire you to open a new grocery store in Lawrenceville?

My education at Point Park inspired me in many ways. I must admit that the concept of opening a corner market was not even on my radar when I first enrolled at Point Park. However, earning my master’s degree in organizational leadership gave me the confidence to listen to my instincts and be open to new possibilities. 

A concept in the M.A. program that really resonated with me was the importance of having a vision. Learning about amazing women leaders and understanding their visions and how they were able to attain success certainly had an effect on my life. It gave me the idea that I, too, could reach for the stars if I was able to channel my energy, creativity and passion into one vision. 

What factors made you choose Point Park University?

I chose Point Park for a few reasons. The first reason was for the University’s Master of Arts in organizational leadership program. Also, my employer, Highmark, offers a very generous tuition reimbursement program. Finally, Point Park's Downtown Pittsburgh location sealed the deal. It made going to school at night fit into my schedule.

How have your M.A. classes helped you in your position at Highmark?

I would have to say that the confidence I gained throughout my educational experience at Point Park directly affected my current position at Highmark. Now, I am taking a more active role in my career at Highmark. I am challenging myself to take on new responsibilities, going above the required duties of my current position. For example, I have reached out to other departments to share some of my community-focused ideas, which have been well-received. This has resulted in me joining a community-focused committee within another business unit at Highmark.

Where do you see yourself professionally in the next five years? 

In five years, I will be a self-employed entrepreneur. The 52nd Street Market will be a successful store and we will have many employees. I am hopeful that our partnership with the local schools will blossom, offering educational opportunities to local youth. Finally, I will also continue to be a part of the Lawrenceville Organic Community Gardens and am hopeful the number of gardens will have doubled in five years. 

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