Meet Keeva Haynes '02, Senior Manager at PwC and Member of the African American Alumnae/i Association
In her career and volunteer work, Keeva Haynes is passionate about gender and racial equity. Working at a major accounting, audit, and consulting firm, Haynes manages performance, planning, and evaluations operations across partners in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as leads the technology platform that enables dynamic and interactive displays of partner performance. In recent years, she demonstrated her leadership skills as the Director of Development for the Simmons University African American Alumnae/i Association. Haynes spoke with us about her profession and her enduring connection to Simmons.
Tell us about your career.
I work at PwC, which is one of the "Big 4" firms offering Advisory, Assurance, and Tax services to organizations. I am currently based in Atlanta, but in the past I worked for this company in the New York metropolitan area as well. I am Senior Manager, which is my fifth "career" at the firm over the course of 17 years. I am part of the Partner Affairs team. Essentially, we govern the end-to-end performance and profit allocation processes of our 4,000 partners.
Describe your past role in the African American Alumnae/i Association (AAAA).
I was the Director of Development for 3 years [2019-2022]. In this role, I oversaw huge fundraising campaigns, such as Match Madness and Simmtober. Specifically, our aim was to fund scholarships and grants that would support ethnically diverse students at Simmons. Some of us received grants and scholarships that made our education possible. I was one of them. Therefore, we are beholden to help new students coming through who look like us achieve the same.
I was a recipient of the Elizabeth B. Rawlins Grant (now Endowed Scholarship) in 2001, at the start of my senior year at Simmons. I had already taken out a $24k scholarship to cover my final year of education. However, this loan was intercepted by the $13 grant awarded to me, which made graduating from Simmons all the more feasible. I always tell people my story, which renders the goals of fundraising tangible and communicates how transformative and impactful a scholarship can be. My company matches contributions dollar for dollar, so I tell folks and our donors that even a small contribution can be magnified by different directives.
During our fundraising process, we use social media aggressively, especially Facebook and Instagram. We are not schmoozing specific millionaire donors. Rather, we take a more grassroots approach. I tell people that even a $20 donation can make a difference. In this context, I am talking to people like me. I know people on the ground, and many of us have the loudest voices. The newer generation is on social media, so this is a great way to reach them. This is also a way to keep connected with the broader Simmons community, especially for people like me who do not live in Boston. I can remain connected with the Simmons family by this small act that can benefit someone who needs it, and this makes my volunteer work worth it.
Why were you motivated to get involved?
I was serving on the AAAA Board back in 2013 as the Director of Communications when I was nominated for my most recent role [Director of Development] in the Association. I believe I was chosen because people realized that I am committed to helping others. Moreover, I believe that putting your money where your mouth is can be the most impactful way to help people. I have a busy career, and I'm a dance and lacrosse mom, but this is worth my time. We had to pivot our fundraising efforts a bit during the pandemic, but we knew that students needed us more than ever. We wanted to make sure that their education was not disrupted and that the students felt the full strength of our support at a time when they needed it most.
Even though I am no longer on the AAAA Board, I still remain connected to the alumnae/i community. This year, I will be attending the Black Alumnae/i Symposium: "The Power of our Presence: Our Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration." The symposium is held in Boston every five years and this year is extra special, as it marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Black Student Organization. Typically, we have a dinner Friday night, followed by plenaries, a keynote speaker, a gospel brunch on Sunday, and a drive toward fundraising for the scholarship that funds the education of ethnically diverse students at Simmons.
What has it been like to be a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.?
I pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Iota Chapter – a Boston City-Wide Chapter – in 2001. Iota Chapter was founded in Boston in 1921 and is one of the oldest chapters in the Sorority. Our chapter joined forces with other Greek letter organizations in Boston to put forth forward-thinking programing and on-the-ground volunteer work that allowed us to tap into the true leaders, movers and shakers that we were. This organization is founded upon the principles of community service, and these values are innate within me. It's a beautiful sisterhood, where we are regularly in community with each other to put power and action behind thought.
What led you to double major in Africana Studies and Economics at Simmons?
During high school, I took college level classes at Boston University and at Simmons. I felt comfortable and affirmed in a women's college environment, so when it was time to apply, I focused on Simmons. I already felt slated for success because the campus and community were so welcoming.
I began studying finance and economics, and was planning on minoring in Spanish. But as I matriculated, I took more Africana studies courses. At some point, I had taken so many classes that I declared it as a minor, and then again as a major. I followed my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Simmons gave me a well-rounded education, and I could have ended up being a professor or an economist if I wanted to pursue either of those paths. While at Simmons, I took advantage of every opportunity that was available to me and was given the freedom to find my way, a valuable skillset that has taken me far within my career as well.