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Dress for Success Luzerne County's Women In Power Series: Meet Kerri McKeown image
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March 23, 2023
Dress for Success Luzerne County's Women In Power Series: Meet Kerri McKeown

Throughout March, Dress for Success Luzerne County is teaming up with DiscoverNEPA to share their Women In Power campaign, which coincides with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Both of which are an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Each week we’ll highlight a woman in our community and share how they have found their own power.

Women In Power Series Highlights Kerri McKeown

Kerri McKeown is the Director of Sales, Client Management and Administration at Highmark. In her role at Highmark, McKeown oversees a team of sales professionals that serve small businesses across Northeast and Central Pennsylvania. Outside of her core duties, Kerri is also involved in Highmark’s Community Affairs activities that support causes and people across NEPA, including the American Heart Association, United Neighborhood Centers, and the United Way.

What does “Woman In Power” mean to you?

A woman in power is one who is in a position to help the women around her. Help can come in many forms – guidance, mentorship, resources or simply providing encouraging words. A woman in power creates power in the women around her.

What would you tell a woman who is feeling powerless/experiencing powerlessness as a result of inequity?

Keep a log or a journal that lists your accomplishments, accolades from others, and positive activities that you’ve been involved in. Whenever you’re feeling the pressure of inequity from others, circle back to your journal and read through it. Remind yourself of those accomplishments, your purpose and all that you bring into the world. If you need to, remind others of those accomplishments as well.

Who were your female mentors in your career, and how would you suggest growing leaders identify possible mentors for their growth?

Start by identifying female leaders towards whom you naturally gravitate. It’s as simple as asking yourself who catches your attention and keeps it. Next start identifying why they’ve captured your attention. (Do they communicate a certain way? Do they have expertise in a particular subject? Does the room naturally call to attention when they walk in the room?) Once you know why you’re drawn to someone, identify how you think that person can help you develop and grow. (It always helps to see if you can bring something to the table as well.) You could connect with different people for different reasons, too, and that’s OK! Don’t limit yourself. The world is filled with knowledgeable and diverse females – try to pick up something from each of them!

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

Like many, the impacts of COVID in my professional life have been significant. Re-learning how to communicate and engage with my team, co-workers, business partners and my community in a remote environment has been the single most challenging effort of my career. Whenever I’m at an impasse, I start my next steps by going back to the basics. I identify the main functions or activities that are needed, and I first focus on doing those things well. Once that base of core function is re-established, it becomes easier to add more to the mix.

What message do you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Remove the word “can’t” from your vocabulary and mindset. The world will limit you enough – don’t limit yourself as well. You can, and you will! If you need an exercise, try counting how many times you say the word “can’t” in a week. Every single time you say it, write it down on a piece of paper. Look at that paper at the end of the week and see how many times you limited yourself. The following week, you’ll naturally be more mindful of your words. Start writing down the word “can” every time you use it. It might be followed by some “but” language (“I can do this, but with some adjustments.”), but your approach will be one that moves you forward versus keeping you standing still.


About Dress for Success
Dress for Success ® is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to nearly 150 cities in 30 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 2,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.

Since Dress for Success Luzerne County became operational in December of 2010, the program has reached 2,500 economically challenged women from the area by providing clothing, job interview support and workforce guidance. Dress for Success Luzerne County continues to create programs to enhance economic and social development, encouraging self-sufficiency through career development and employment retention.

To learn more about Dress for Success Luzerne County and the Women in Power campaign, please visit their website or on Facebook.