Like a Boss | Penn State Altoona

Like a Boss | Penn State Altoona

Best Choice

39" Slick wool wrap coat with exaggerated collar and tie belt

Adjustable button closure
Body welt pockets
Fully lined with logo lining
special size type: standard
weave type: Woven

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Keep you deliciously warm in the icy days of winter, in great style!

Full Length Mink Fur Coat with Shawl Collar & Bracelet Cuffs (Demi Buff, XS)
Fully lined with silk/polyester blend lining
Hook & eye snap front closures
Made in Greece

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Mackage Women's Trish Mid-Length Down Coat with Fur Hood

Long down coat with Asiatic raccoon and rabbit fur on hood with asymmetrical zipper

Zip-front coat featuring fur-lined convertible hood and fleece-lined hand pockets
Leather trim on back waistband

When Khadesia Walker arrived at Penn State Altoona in 2015, she had a clear academic plan—enrollment in the 2+2 program for engineering. Everything else was less clear.

Walker is originally from New Haven Connecticut and wanted to create a space where she felt safe, comfortable, and a place that felt like her family. “I went in with a clean slate, and I think that’s what made my experience at Penn State Altoona special. I didn’t go in with a pre-painted idea of what should happen. I just painted my own picture while I was there.”

Walker participated in as many extracurricular activities and clubs as she could. She joined Alpha Sigma Tau sorority as its merchandising coordinator. She was made a Lion Ambassador as well as a peer leader. She was a member of the Black Student Union and the Caribbean Association. Altoona was her time as a learning period. She used it to discover her passions and to plan for the future. “That’s something I value about starting at Altoona. It gave me time and space to find my people and my group and to figure myself out. It was perfect for me.”

Walker says part of her self-discovery process was realizing by the end of her first year that engineering really wasn’t the right fit for her. She thought about civil engineering and then architectural engineering. She also considered biology and political science. With its broad applications, including finance, economics seemed to make the most sense to her.

Walker, feeling confident and prepared for her next academic step, transferred to University Park in December 2019. Soon after, she was hired by PMA Companies in Wallingford, Connecticut, as a worker’s compensation claims adjuster. After two years of service, she was offered a job as a branch administrator at Morgan Stanley in New Haven.

“I get to do a little bit of everything. I’m always busy, but it doesn’t feel like work because I get to be creative with how I accomplish my workload.” Some of Walker’s responsibilities include human resources, onboarding, planning and carrying out events and gatherings, expenses, and making sure her branch is aligned and running efficiently. Morgan Stanley allows Walker to study for her exams to become a financial advisor. “I’m learning more about the financial industry, networking, and doing everything I like to do. I love where I’m at now, and I’m so happy I made this switch.”

It’s a great success story, sure, but there’s more to it. Khadesia is only one part of Khadesia Walk.

Boutiques: The Business of a Boutique

Walker, like millions of others around the world, saw her life’s trajectory changed by COVID-19. She was working full-time at PMA Companies and part-time as a waitress at a restaurant at the time of the pandemic. Walker found that she had more time and energy when the restaurant was closed. “I remember thinking that I wanted to do something I could call my own. I wanted to find a creative outlet for myself that also utilized my degree and would earn some extra income.”

Khadesia Walker models some of the clothing from her boutique.

Khadesia Walker models some of her clothing.

Credit: Provided

Walker was drawn to fashion as she considered her options. She claims that she fell in love with clothes as a child. She was paid by friends to make custom jeans, cut up shirts, tie-dye and design shirts in middle school and highschool. “I have an emotional connection to fashion because it helped me build my confidence growing up. Now, nothing makes me feel better than putting on my favorite outfit and having fun with colors and different accessories.”

Walker was inspired and eager to launch the online Keke Mary Styles Boutique, which sells trendy clothing, accessories and hair extensions.

So far, Walker is pleased with the boutique’s progress and direction. Of course, it hasn’t been easy. Keke Mary Styles has experienced many highs and lows amid a global health crisis and political, social and economic unrest. “Sometimes it’s busy, sometimes it slows down. As a small business owner, you don’t necessarily see a huge profit, especially right away as there are a lot of costs in the beginning. But any extra money is good for me.”

Walker says that despite the difficulties, she is not going to give up. Walker is actually working on ideas to take the boutique up a notch.

Khadesia Walker poses with her Keke Mary Styles wares at a popup shop.

Khadesia Walker poses with her Keke Mary Styles wares at a popup shop.

Credit: Provided

Best Choice

Chilliwack Down Bomber Coat in black with stretch rib waistband and cuff, exterior pockets, adjustable tunnel hood

Shell: 50% polyester, 50% cotton
Two-way zipper closure

Couture gowns are one idea. Opening the boutique stirred Walker’s old love of participating in pageants and modeling. Walker was able to design her own gown for a pageant she participated in, which was a lot of fun. She says that’s something she can see herself doing for Keke Mary Styles as well as offering custom and pre-made couture gowns. She’s also considering building her own brand for accessories like purses.

“I’m just going to keep working at it. I realized that in life, I need and want a balance between my work and my passion. My store is that balance. Even when it’s overwhelming or when I’m tired, it’s my outlet, it’s my art and adventure. I don’t want to stop.”

Walker invests her energy in the boutique’s future and her soul into the empowerment movements that result from it.


Walker began to reflect on the boutique and the meaning it had for her. She wondered if there was more she could do with it. Walker thought about her support system and how it contributed to her success and confidence. She wondered how she could give back to her support system and mentor young women.

Walker presents her #ImaGirlBoss workshop to young ladies at a Connecticut middle school.

Khadesia Walker gives her #ImaGirlBoss workshop at a Connecticut middle school to young girls.

Credit: Provided

The idea of creating a purpose behind fashion was born and became the hashtag movement #ImaGirlBoss.

“My goal is to encourage our young girls and women to become the best versions of themselves, to be confident enough to take charge of their lives and ambitions and pursue them while being true to themselves.”

Walker designed #ImaGirlBoss tshirts to be the front of the empowerment campaign. It was a great success, much to her delight. She expanded the idea after people expressed interest. She organized a #ImaGirlBoss workshop that included a workbook and tips on how to have a healthy mind. She presented the workshop to a group at a local middle school.

“I really want these young women to know that there’s a purpose and a path for each of them. I want them to feel guidance and support through #ImaGirlBoss to find their way, to be confident in themselves, and love themselves.”

Walker is optimistic that #ImaGirlBoss might one day be implemented at schools in Connecticut. It could even be available to young women across America.

She believes that everything happened as it should, from her Penn State Altoona start as an engineering major, to where she is today, and everything in between. She holds the same belief for her future. “I think what makes Keke Mary Styles and #ImaGirlBoss exciting is not knowing where they’re going or where they will end up. But I know wherever they do, it’s exactly what is meant to be.”

Walker and the students from the #ImaGirlBoss workshop.

Khadesia Walker and the students from the #ImaGirlBoss workshop.

Credit: Provided

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