CCAC president wins 2021 Women of Influence award
PITTSBURGH—Community College of Allegheny County Southeast Region President Charlene Newkirk is a 2021 Women of Influence award winner. The Pittsburgh Business Times has honored a total of 26 women as part of the 2021 Women of Influence awards. More than 300 people gathered at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on Oct. 6 to celebrate the winners. The Times describes them as “inspiring women who have started and grown businesses, mentored future generations and made the community a better place.”
Newkirk, who joined CCAC in 2009, has 30 years of experience in higher education. She oversees the college’s South Campus, Boyce Campus, Braddock Hills Center and Washington County Center. One of her proudest accomplishments is the South Campus Cupboard food pantry, which operates in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and was renovated with a grant from the Jefferson Regional Foundation. The pantry, which benefits students and their families who are experiencing food insecurity, is stocked with nonperishable foods as well as meats, dairy, frozen vegetables and personal hygiene items. In season, the pantry also features fresh produce from the campus garden.
“This food pantry is one of the most important things I think that I’ve contributed to this college, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve done to meet the needs of our students and help them succeed.”
Newkirk is also proud of CCAC’s Men of Merit and Women on a Mission programs, which support students who are at risk of not completing at the college. The programs provide mentorship, coaching and support for students so that they can be successful. The Pittsburgh native is also responsible for ensuring the college workforce represents the demographics of the region. She co-founded the CCAC Leadership Development Institute, which is designed to train and retain a diverse group of leaders. The institute enables members of the CCAC family to develop key leadership and management skills and explore the potential for leadership in a variety of senior college roles. She also encourages staff members to pursue professional development in Pittsburgh and through national programs tailored for training in higher education leadership.