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Enter to learn… Leave to serve…
Kenyetta McCurdy Byrd has taken these words to heart from her graduation night in June 1990 to her current position as Chief Operating Officer of Reach Riverside in Wilmington. A confident and successful student during her St. E years, she purposely explored colleges and universities that offered both the academic challenges and community involvement she loved at St. E, earning a full academic scholarship to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Armed with an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology, she returned to Wilmington in 1996, where she reconnected with Viking friends State Senator Nicole Saville Poore ’90 and State Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker ’92, forming a trio that’s blazing admirable career paths in serving their community, each in her own way. Upon her return to Wilmington, Kenyetta worked as a clinical evaluator and counselor with SODAT Delaware, utilizing her counseling skills with those affected by chemical dependency. In 1997, she joined the team at West End Neighborhood House where she served for 22 years, rising to Deputy Director and assuming responsibility and leadership in managing teams, processes, and operations as well as the crucial role of generating revenue.
In 2019, Kenyetta accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer for the WRK Group and the challenge of piloting a $250 million revitalization project in Northeast Wilmington’s historic Riverside neighborhood. At REACH Riverside, she is responsible for the people, facilities, and infrastructure. Kenyetta spoke to the challenge in the December 2021 issue of Delaware Today Magazine where she is featured as one of The 40 Most Empowering Women In Business In Delaware. In her words, she thrives on “turning vision into reality.” She counts the creation of The Warehouse, a dynamic new space for teens by teens, as a success, a point of pride and progress and a testament to her passion and faith in the Wilmington community. She feels blessed to do her work each day.
On a recent visit to the St. Elizabeth campus, Kenyetta marveled at the facility changes and improvements, lamented the absence of the Benedictine Sisters, and reflected on the gift of dedicated teachers. She noted that her four years of Spanish helped with her English and public speaking confidence. “St. Elizabeth helped me become a stronger writer, effective communicator and critical thinker. I developed discipline, coupled with being nimble and adaptive. The teachers taught service to others through the clubs and activities. I learned that community starts at home, helping teammates and classmates was so important during our years here. It continues today when Sherry and I talk to one another about our efforts and dreams for our community.” She is grateful for the influence of her teachers. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the teaching—a natural focus on academic excellence, being the best person you could be. At St. Elizabeth, I discovered who I was and whose I was—a child of God.”