Ed.D. Alumna Diamonte Walker '22 Named CEO of Pittsburgh Scholar House Alumni Profile
Meet Diamonte Walker '22
- Job Title & Employer
- CEO, Pittsburgh Scholar House
- Leadership and Administration-Ed.D.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.; Brashear High School
- Now Living In
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Upcycling, content creation and board service
"Point Park has its finger on the pulse of what is needed to shape the leaders and practitioners who are shaping tomorrow."
What is the Pittsburgh Scholar House, and how did you get involved with this new initiative?
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is a newly-launched nonprofit affiliate of the Family Scholar House dedicated to using two-generation strategies to disrupt the cycle of poverty by enabling post-secondary educational attainment and comprehensive support services. These services include, but are not limited to, affordable housing, access to high-quality early childcare, increased food security and mobility access as a means to improving quality of life for income-eligible single parents and their children as they pursue a degree. The organization is currently being incubated and supported by the 11 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education.
I previously served as the deputy executive director of Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the first Black woman to hold such a title. Investments in people are as important, if not more important, than the investments we make in bricks and mortar as a contributor to neighborhood health. I was drawn to the Pittsburgh Scholar House due to its mission to provide economic and educational empowerment to income-restricted parenting students because of the transformative opportunity it provides to the parent and the positive impact it can have on their children. Empowering a single parent to earn a four-year degree, without exorbitant student loan debt, is an investment that will transcend one generation and set a more holistic course for families for generations to come.
What do you hope to contribute as CEO?
Educational attainment is often an overlooked aspect of economic development, but it is such an important factor because the four-year degree is a proven mitigator of long-term systemic poverty. Supporting parents enrolled in two-year, four-year and other post-secondary education programs is a fundamental building block of the two-generational model.
The reality is that strong and healthy families create strong and healthy communities. As the inaugural CEO, I hope to establish the Pittsburgh Scholar House as a sustainable institution dedicated to helping families pursue higher education as a means of disrupting the cycle of poverty with dignity and support. The true measure of success for an organization such as this is that the children of the parents in the program are well-positioned to continue on the path of holistic economic well-being started by their parents the generation before.
In what ways did Point Park's Ed.D. program impact you as an educator and leader?
I did not come from a traditional educator background, as the majority of my career has been spent in the private and public sectors. However, the total leadership model upon which Point Park's doctoral curriculum is based has given me the necessary tools to successfully lead at the highest levels of some of Pittsburgh’s most impactful organizations.
While enrolled in the doctoral program, I was asked to serve as the interim executive director and eventually the deputy executive director of the URA to drive organizational change. My academic experiences within the program positioned me as a uniquely qualified candidate for the role. The tenets of total leadership are authenticity, vision, cultural/relational, quality capacity, diversity, systems thinking, service and communication molded and influenced my approach to the work. It also informed my dissertation topic, which sought to understand the impact of entrepreneurial leadership in the public sector and driving higher quality public service delivery outcomes.
What role has the program played in your career success?
The decision to earn a doctoral degree from Point Park is what I refer to as a "but for" investment. But for Point Park’s doctoral program, I do not believe my career path would've progressed as quickly as it has. I have experienced a tremendous amount of growth in a relatively short time period, but it is reflective of many years of education, service and prayer.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?
Point Park has its finger on the pulse of what is needed to shape the leaders and practitioners who are shaping tomorrow.