Not everyone has the privilege of knowing their grandparents, let alone finding in them an inspiration and model the way that Paige Crickard has been inspired by her grandmother. But we all should be so lucky. “She was a force to be reckoned with,” says Paige. Dr. Valerie Levitan was a lifelong advocate for women’s rights who earned her doctorate at the age of 62. Valerie lived to the age of 87, only passing away in 2019. But in many ways, she lives on in her granddaughter, who is now undertaking a new adventure seemingly taken out of Dr. Val’s book: attending graduate school at Antioch University Online and blazing her own way through the world.
Paige came to Antioch after she graduated from Castleton University with a BS in Business Administration. She came on as an Administrative Assistant in the Office of Field Experience before being promoted to her current position as full-time Practicum and Internship Coordinator in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Department at AUNE.
Working at Antioch made her want to become a student here. “Antioch’s social justice mission is what initially brought me to Antioch as an employee,” she explains, “so it only made sense to complete my master’s program there as well.”
She made the decision to enroll in the online Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in Leadership and Teams shortly after the pandemic started and she began working remotely. The pandemic has affected everyone differently, and for Paige it’s meant that she feels disconnected from her family, friends, and colleagues—and also from her lifelong love of the theater. This was tragic, because theater is Paige’s first love. She worked as a stage manager in her local community theater at home and at college, and community theater was actually where her parents met. Before the pandemic struck she had been hoping to get into Keene’s community theater scene.
But having to make do with circumstances as they were, Crickard took advantage of the new normal. She enrolled in Antioch’s online MBA program with the support of Liz White, her work supervisor, and mentor. Studying for an MBA has given her a platform to reach out to students from diverse backgrounds. This helps her fill her need for community—and in a bigger sense, it prepares her for her dream of combining business with the theater.
“Most artists are creative and not business-minded,” Paige says as she describes how she hopes to apply her MBA to the theater. She dreams of owning her own theater or running a theater on Broadway. At those theaters, she wants to apply the “Triple Bottom Line” framework she’s learning about—and to carry forward Antioch’s social justice message to the treatment of employees and hiring practices. During her first semester in the MBA program, Paige is focused on the question, “Why are people resistant to change?” She explains that she couldn’t be an agent for change without examining the topic, which is what she really hopes the future holds.
Paige can’t quite remember when the idea was sowed into her mind that she should attend graduate school. But she knows that seed was sewn by her grandmother and the example she left behind. Antioch’s mission and commitment to social justice—and that mission’s application within the MBA program—spoke to Paige. The course emphasizes the triple bottom line of business: people, planet, profit. As she moves forward and refines her mission, Paige hopes to focus on how to run a sustainable global organization with the triple bottom line principles as the business model. Her grandmother would be proud.