K-Tari Pentorn's journey from a dead-end job to a distinguished leader at the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a testament to her unwavering determination and the transformative power of education.
Her story begins with the pivotal decision to seek more for herself and her family. Faced with an unfulfilling job with no growth prospects, Pentorn embarked on a quest for educational opportunities that could accommodate her busy life. This quest led her to Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®), where she discovered the Paralegal Studies program.
Tri-C's evening and weekend classes and affordable tuition allowed Pentorn to balance her responsibilities as a mother and student. The coursework proved to be not only engaging but also highly relevant to her career aspirations. She recalls her time at Tri-C as an "amazing experience and exactly what I needed at that point in my life.”
After graduating with honors from Tri-C in 2015, Pentorn’s career soared. Using the skills and knowledge she gained at the College, she obtained a position as a paralegal specialist in the Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C. After five years with the Office of Chief Counsel, she transitioned to the Mission Support Division within Operations Support, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where she worked with a team responsible for leading, facilitating and coordinating key business and administration support services.
Currently serving as a team lead and management and program analyst at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Field Operations in Washington, D.C., her responsibilities include overseeing a team of staffing and personnel specialists. Her role involves providing resources, solutions and consultations to executive directors within her purview, contributing significantly to the agency's mission.
She has received numerous accolades for her exceptional performance at CBP and her dedication to public service. These include the Commissioner Citation Award, the Emerging Leader Award, cash awards for outstanding performance and other business leadership awards.
Pentorn attributes much of her success to the solid foundation she gained at Tri-C. The program equipped her with essential paralegal skills and instilled values of resourcefulness and persistence. This solid educational foundation provided her with a competitive edge in her field.
Reflecting on her journey, Pentorn highlights the importance of setting short, attainable goals on the path to achieving long-term objectives. Her approach of breaking down her ambitions into smaller milestones has driven her continuous growth and success.
For Pentorn, Tri-C was not just an institution of learning but a stepping stone to a brighter future. Her story serves as an inspiration to current and prospective students, demonstrating the transformative power of education and the remarkable heights one can reach with determination and perseverance. Pentorn’s journey is a testament to the boundless potential within each of us, waiting to be unlocked through education and ambition.