Bianca Wilson Jackson ’06
Perkiomen alumna applies lessons of compassion and inclusion to a future generation.
Before she earned degrees in biology and clinical psychology from Felician University and then a MBA from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia; before she was a mama to four; and before she was a co-founder of, with her husband, Khalif, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring young kids to believe in themselves; and before she became a client account project manager and diversity, equity, and inclusion champion for her company, you may have found Bianca Jackson ’06 throwing a ceramic pot in Kehs Hall. During her junior year at Perkiomen, Bianca was 15 and introduced to pottery design. Working with your hands to mold something, pushing and pulling on clay to shape it, did something to soothe any normal anxieties of a teenaged student studying away from home.
Today, Bianca is also a member of Perkiomen’s Board of Trustees and knows a little something about what it means to “risk becoming your best self.” Without missing a beat, Bianca shares that, to her, it means “going against the status quo, challenging anything and everything that makes you uncomfortable, and having a voice at the table, whatever and wherever that table may be.”
Many experiences shape one’s personal outlooks on life and philosophies. With Bianca, it is easy to see what established the foundation of her natural ability to live and be the best version of herself every single day! Her young life was influenced by a strong role model in her grandmother. From Panama, Grandma SB – Sheila Brown – or Abuela – helped guide and develop Bianca, instilling a sense of pride and self-confidence, leading to her ability to speak up for herself and others at an early age. Grandma SB raised and accepted Bianca and each of her siblings for who they are as individuals. Everyone was raised differently. Everyone her own person.
When she arrived in Pennsburg as a freshman, she followed the footsteps of her beloved older sister, Shonda ’00 (they still have a close relationship today!) and began to experience life away from Newark, New Jersey.
Bianca reflects: “I didn’t know I was going to enter a world that was so diverse! Ultimately, at Perkiomen I discovered diversity and different cultures, as well as structure mixed with compassion. These are experiences that prepared me for life.”
Through her relationship with the likes of Kevin Manferdini and Pete Dougherty, Bianca found authority figures who came in the form of people who cared even if they were stern and straightforward while also being tender. Like all of us, life had handed her a set of experiences that led to learned opinions. What sets Bianca apart is her propensity to be introspective and forward-thinking, an ability to recognize, own, and move beyond her own biases. She began to do this as a student at Perkiomen and continues to do so now while positively influencing the lives of others.
Today, life is busy. Bianca and Khalif are raising Greyson and Blake after fostering Candida Elmore and Jaden Brown, two of her sisters’ children. You can hear a smile in her voice when Bianca shares, “We were parents before we were parents!”
This year, she cooked three Thanksgiving dinners (Bianca is one of nine siblings and Khalif is one of seven!). She works a full-time job and occasionally looks for time to do Pilates or dance.
The saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” was made for Bianca. She and Khalif established Greyson’s Scholars in 2020 where they currently mentor 12 students in grade school, high school, and college. It aims to prepare students for real-life experiences. They operate with a simple yet compelling philosophy: Believe in yourself and trust that it can happen. Simply: Be You.
Around the same time, Bianca approached the CEO of her company about taking active steps at organizational level to be more inclusive and forward-thinking while taking action when it comes to initiatives of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Currently, because of her and a group of colleagues’ active voices (and a CEO who listened and genuinely embraced their concerns), her company is changing how they recruit and train new employees and are currently seeking a DEI Coordinator!
Bianca reflects on how fortunate she was to attend Perkiomen, and today, Perkiomen is lucky to have her involvement, visions, and leadership both on the Board and as a contributor to the scholarship fund for future Panthers.
Bianca says, “Perkiomen helped mold the unknown for me and see a different light in myself. They helped me to be accepting of those who are different.” Bianca and Khalif are taking these powerful lessons and applying them to a whole new generation with their own kids, those they are mentoring through Greyson’s Scholars, and future Perkiomen students who will benefit from her gift. Thank you, Bianca. Perkiomen is lucky to be a part of your family.