Organizational Development & Leadership Programs Put Non-Traditional Student in the Driver’s Seat of Her Career

Kelly Quinn’s paths to her degrees may have been roundabout. But she’s propelled to use her leadership skills to accelerate her career and improve the lives of others.

Kelly Quinn in an office at the Philadelphia Parking Authority
Kelly Quinn
Class of 2020 and 2022
Adult & Professional Studies
Bachelor's in Organizational Development & Leadership; Master's in Organizational Development & Leadership
  • Center for Graduate & Continuing Studies
Career Goal: Organization Leader

Kelly Quinn may get knocked down, but she’s never knocked out.

She’s proven that through perseverance and drive, as she seeks to better herself and the people around her. 

Kelly’s path to her Widener bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development & Leadership was a circuitous one. After graduating high school, she started at another university, but “I was not prepared for campus life,” she said.

Kelly faced her fair share of hurdles, leaving and transferring schools a couple of times, and then pausing her higher education pursuits to enter the workforce. But it wasn’t a permanent stop.

In 2015, while working full time at the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), Kelly decided to give college another try.

“I wanted to finish what I started and get back on my feet,” said Kelly, who enrolled at Widener after reflecting on her mother’s positive educational experience at the university. 

Kelly completed her bachelor’s degree in December 2020 and immediately joined the master’s program in Organizational Development & Leadership. She has worked her way up the ranks at PPA, and armed with her Widener education and that relentless pursuit, she plans to take her career to the next level.

‘A Complete 180’

Kelly is no stranger to changing direction. When she first entered college, she thought she’d become a marine biologist. Then she pivoted to corporate communications before leaving school altogether. But at Widener, she has found her path and passion, and has excelled. And with online classes, she has adeptly balanced work, life, and academics. “I’ve lifted myself up. I went from dropout to summa cum laude. It’s a complete 180,” said Kelly.

Taking the Wheel

Kelly began her career at PPA as a parking enforcement officer, writing tickets. She rose to an analyst, and now serves as assistant to the executive director. But she has set her sights on the top, with the goal of one day leading the organization. Kelly sees her Widener degrees, which are helping her hone her organizational, leadership, and communication skills, as steps to “propel me in that direction. If I went through and got my education, I’d be seen and heard.”

Driving Force

The master’s program in Organizational Leadership & Development allows students to choose a concentration or specialization, and Kelly has chosen Organizational Equity and Inclusion because she’s compelled to make her workplace a more inclusive environment. “At PPA we have employees of all different backgrounds. I want to help the organization be more successful,” said Kelly, a member of the LGBTQ community.

Career Goal: Organization Leader

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