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Alumni in the News
Pierce Proud Stories:
Heidi Hurt, PMP, ’10 has long had an entrepreneurial spirit – from drafting business models for fun when she was 13 years old, to nearly two decades later as the founder and CEO of Acuity Cloud Solutions, an HR technology consulting firm; and founder and President of Bonnie’s Basement, a non-profit organization established in honor and memory of Heidi’s mother, which raises funds for local cancer patient support.
Heidi began her career in retail to support her first college venture at Keene State College and then entered the corporate world in human resources at C&S Wholesale Grocers. There she gained experience with talent acquisition, relocation, immigration and general HR practices. After a decade at C&S, she joined Taleo Corporation, delivering project management and consulting services for software implementations. During this time, she began taking courses in an accelerated program at Franklin Pierce University, earning a degree in business management and gaining valuable lessons to position her for future entrepreneurial success.
When Oracle acquired Taleo Corporation, Heidi saw her opportunity to apply her business, HR and technology skills to form Acuity Cloud Solutions with the intention of becoming an Oracle partner. Acuity was recognized as an Oracle Gold Partner in their second year of business and has quickly grown into a multi-million dollar venture and trusted advisor in the Human Capital Management industry.
Heidi was named a 2014 Female Executive of the Year, IT Services Industry category, by Women World Awards and in 2015, was recognized for her business success and community non-profit efforts with a Business Monadnock Trendsetter Award. Acuity was also listed in BusinessNH Magazine as a Top Women-Led Business in NH and featured in CIOReview’s magazine as ‘100 Most Promising Oracle Solution Providers 2015’.
Heidi also enjoys photography and offers portraiture and event photography services through Heidi Beth Photography.
At the age of 21, barely 5’ 3” she navigated onto the upper floors of executive suites, excelling in what was a male dominated industry - information technology. Competition was vast. Debora relied on what she learned at FPC to build relationships, foster collaboration and inspire creativity, which helped her to excel for 14 years as a sales representative, and later as National Account Manager for Fortune 500 companies.
Debora off ramped from her corporate career when her family was young. In 2002, she graduated from Rivier University with a second Master’s degree, and gained licensure in clinical mental health. She attracted professionals who were overwhelmed due to work related stress, and who reported working in cultures that didn’t leave room for positivity or possibilities. Debora continued her education, learning coaching skills, later becoming certified as a Business Executive Coach. In 2003, she opened her coaching business, The Renegade Leader Coaching & Consulting Group.
Now, Debora and her team works with executives and fast growing organizations to achieve revenue targets in record time. She handles “the people stuff,” providing executive coaching, culture design, leadership development, professional assessments and building change agility in leaders. Her legacy is leaving behind a ripple of positivity, possibility and profitability in organizations, and in creating great work environments.
Debora is the best-selling author of The Renegade Leader 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance & Profits, and Running in High Heels, How to Lead with Influence, Impact & Ingenuity. Her thought leadership is found in Inc. magazine, the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Herald, American Management Association, Business NH Magazine, and in her weekly NY Daily column.
Aboubacar Casse '15: "I came to America to follow my dreams and further my education. I was born in Senegal, West Africa, and grew up in a humble family with five siblings and my mom and dad. I went to SEED Project, a nonprofit that helped Senegalese kids get a better education. I then came to America as a junior at St. Andrew's School and then went on to college in Nebraska. I then earned a basketball scholarship at Franklin Pierce University where I graduated with a business management degree. Basketball has always been my vehicle and has opened many doors for me as I pursue my dreams. I was part of the Ravens Men’s Basketball Team for two years under Coach David Chadbourne.
I really enjoyed my time at Franklin Pierce. I made good friends—from students to faculty to alumni. I am thankful for the opportunity the University gave me to be able to follow my dreams. I am now working at Honda in Santa Maria; it's been a great opportunity for me to work and support my family.
This holiday season, I was able to go visit my family that I have not seen in three years. I had the opportunity to go back to my roots, see my family, my community, and the kids. I learned a lot from it and was inspired to organize a basketball tournament for my community. I named the tournament "Jambaru ËLËK" which means Leaders of Tomorrow in Wolof—my Senegalese dialect. I have always wanted to give back and “pay it forward” and being able to do so after my first year out of college was truly a blessing. I was able to talk to the kids, tell them about my journey to America, and share with them what I learned. It was only right to host my first tournament on the court where I learned how to shoot basketball for the first time.
Africa is all I have. Paying it forward will make my community better and inspire the next generation of leaders in Africa. I plan to do this event every year. I want to involve as many people as I can to create a group of positive people who commit to promote change around the world, specifically starting in Senegal. Any school supplies, basketballs, equipment, or funds are welcome. I am working on creating a website and organization that will lead for sustainable development in Africa.
As a kid, I always had big dreams.My dream is to make my continent better by giving the kids in Africa opportunities they didn't have before and show the world a new face of Africa they have never seen—an Africa that's full of hope and dreams, an Africa that has a strong leadership, an Africa that is sustainable and full of healthy kids that will make the continent better.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, I want to fight for those things, and I think using the education I got from Franklin Pierce, the experience I get from working in America, and being around great mentors can make those dreams come true with my dedication to hard work and learning. I want to start businesses and create jobs in Africa that will strengthen the economy and create a sustainable development."
Robin Picard '82: "This is a photo of an annual spring celebration in Ukraine celebrating women and love. Young unmarried women throw their wreaths into the river and depending on which way the river carried away the wreath would predict if they would find love in the next year. It was a day long celebration held by the river and woods with dancing and music and much dramatic presentation."
"The second photo is the group of women in Ukraine who took a business development class at the local library. We were teaching them to put their arts and crafts on a group Etsy website called Eastern Rinook ( marketplace). Beautiful handmade local crafts can be found online. This was a collaborative Peace Corps project that was being developed throughout the country prior to our evacuation in 2014."
"A photo of my living room in Mozambique. I had simple quarters consisting of a mud square house with a bedroom and "kitchen". The well was in the yard, shared with four other houses. There was no running water. I had an outdoor bathroom...our hole in the ground and a spot to take bucket baths. I did have the luxury of a refrigerator which allowed me to have cold water and keep foods fresh in the 105+ degree heat."
Steve Jackson ’95 is a successful consultant in higher education working with technology and program development. In the past decade he has worked to increase enrollment in digital media programs (developing a program at Hilbert College that added 60 new students in four-years), helped universities pursue major technology grants (including grants valued at $500,000 in Buffalo, New York, and a $4-million dollar technology grant in the state of Virginia), and is a consultant in camera robotics with the Canadian firm Remote Camera Technology currently working toward developing a research center in robotics. His previous work includes working with the Justice Network in the United States Department of Justice, for Home Shopping Network, and as a free-lance director and producer of commercial and narrative production properties. He has also worked as an award winning professor, teaching more than 150 college courses for credit while producing nearly thirty academic publications and presentations.
Steve is an author in his spare time, producing the role playing game Total Eclipse in 2011, and several works on history since then. His latest creative work is to release a series of fantasy / science fiction novels set in Virdea. The first book, Adjeness, will be followed by the Virdean Encyclopedia (January, 2016), Darkfather (Summer, 2016), Thuselah (Winter, 2016 - dedicated to Ray Oakes of FPU) andMemories of an Older World (2017) all based on novellas written by Steve in 1981. More information on his series can be found online. Steve is also in the process of negotiating the re-release of his book, The Disrupted Gears.
Steve credits all of his success, without any exception, can be traced directly to what he learned at Franklin Pierce in the early 90s. Working with great friends like Rich Goode '96 and Jason McCormack '95, MBA '13 ,and to his many friends at the Keene and Manchester campuses, he was able to do things in a college environment that were impossible at other universities. Steve was also able to meet great teachers like Dr. Debra Picci, Dr. Paul Kotila, Mr. Paul Bush, and many others who would be directly responsible for winning the Best Teacher for South Carolina in 2000, and would be the foundation for a successful practice in higher education consulting ever since.