"My strength right now is my pain. That keeps me going."
Five years ago, Deana Keenan's son was murdered.
Shortly after, she lost her job at a Pittsburgh-area school.
And then, she fell into a depression.
But Deana refused to become a victim of her pain. She made the choice to use her tragedies to strengthen her, and she decided to view the time off as an opportunity to change her career. By seeking help for her career change, Deana learned about Pennsylvania Women Work and the New Choices program. She enrolled in New Choices and graduated in 2013.
Upon graduating, she enrolled in CCAC full time and got a temporary job at PPG Industries. In addition to classes and work, Deana made time to network and maintain the relationships she formed through New Choices.
In December of 2013, Deana decided to attend the Circle of Trust Women's networking event. There she met Julie Paden, the Vice President and Senior Recruiting Administration Manager at PNC. Deana told Julie about her interest in human resources, and the two women exchanged contact information. Just a few days later, Deana was contacted by PNC's HR team and asked to come in for an interview.
Four months ago, Deana Keenan was hired as a recruiting administrator at PNC.
Shortly after, she was invited to join the honor's society of Phi Theta Kappa--she finished her first semester at CCAC with a 4.0.
And then, she found out she could transfer to Geneva College to get her Bachelor's degree in human resources.
"I had everything, and I lost everything. So I had to start all over, and it humbled me," Deana said. "But I know that I can achieve what I've achieved before."
Not only will Deana achieve what she's achieved before, but she will surpass it. Her short-term goal is to buy a house. Then she wants to write a book. She also hopes to start a foundation that will honor her son and help other families who have lost children.
"I want to give back to people," Deana said. "If I meet someone who has been in my shoes, I want to tell them that they can do it."
Deana says the key to finding success is not only to get involved with New Choices but to use the information that is given in the program. She said Pennsylvania Women Work has remarkable women in place, so you just have get involved and utilize the resources that are given.
"You have to want it," Deana said. "You have to be ready to leave the place you're in and overcome it."