Growing up in Portsmouth’s Cavalier Manor, Courtney Pierce dreamed of working for a Fortune 500 company.
Instead, after earning an Associate of Science in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College, she found a career closer to her heart.
Every day she uses what she learned at TCC at Samaritan House, where she oversees grant funds from the Department of Justice to help a social service program better respond to victims of human trafficking in Hampton Roads.
“I manage a federal budget and have to be concerned about the sustainability of the grant,” said Pierce, who also holds a bachelor’s in Leadership and Management from Regent University. “I also engage with community groups and use my public speaking skills learned from my time at TCC.”
Pierce initially worked at Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and as a victim advocate at Samaritan House, where she helped clients file for protective orders and accompanied them to court.
“It’s a privilege and honor to do this work,” Pierce said. “My role is to ensure we’re compliant with all of the requirements for the grant. I also shape the services we offer to include the best and promising practices to help clients heal.”
Pierce says working for Samaritan House is a continuation of her family motto, “Love God – serve others,” noting, “My family was always helping people, whether they needed a place to stay or a job.”
She refers to her clients as the real heroes. “They’re the ones doing the work; we provide the support they need to make lasting changes,” she said. “For me, I lend an ear and get to be a container for their sacred stories. That’s something that I’ll never take lightly.”
Ultimately, Pierce would like to work in restorative justice, which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.
One of the highlights from her time at the college was the 2008 commencement when she was proud to be among the hundreds of students receiving certificates and degrees. “My parents encouraged me to attend graduation, and it was there that I really saw the impact TCC has on so many lives and the community,” Pierce said.
She is happy to share about her success at TCC and encourages those coming after her, saying, “Take advantage of everything TCC offers from the small classes to the tutoring centers. It took me three years to earn my degree, and I know you can do it, too!”