From case manager in 2003 to chief operating officer in 2019, Shujuane Martin’01, ’03 is settling into her leadership role with the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette Inc.

The PIC assists youth, adults, dislocated workers and economically disadvantaged people in reaching their educational goals,supporting their family growth, and obtaining training and employment.

Martin, who earned her degrees in business administration, manages a $23 million budget for the organization, which operates over 24 programs and has more than 300 employees.

She has worked for the PIC as a case manager, supervisor and director of the agency’s Head Start program and, most recently, as vice president for early childhood development.

The role of the Private Industry Council in transforming people’s lives is what drives Martin.

“I ran into a woman we'd encouraged to go to school to be a certified nurse assistant. We helped her goto school and earn her CNA. She told me she’s now married, got her first house and is an RN.

“Stories like that make everything worth it,” Martin says.

At Cal U, Martin was a member of the women’s basketball team and the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.

“Being a student-athlete teaches you many things,” she says. “It teaches you balance, and today I need to balance being a COO, wife, mother and church elder.

“It teaches you to handle yourself well under pressure. As a team leader, you learn that people look to you for your responses to tough situations.

“Zeta Phi Beta taught me to volunteer and pay attention to the needs in my community.”

The University recognized Martin’s abilities in 2013, when she received the Jennie Carter Award, presented annually to a young leader who exemplifies the spirit of Cal U’s first African-American graduate.

“True leadership isn’t lording over people,” Martin says. “It’s serving people.”