Staff Spotlight – Brianne Kane

Inspired by her grandmother, Brianne Kane loves to travel and has visited many places locally and internationally. Now she does volunteer work when visiting areas in need. Four years ago, she traveled to New Haven and joined Yale as a security manager working evenings and coordinating a staff of about 20 officers.

Originally born in Missouri, Brianne grew up on a large working farm in Dunkerton, Iowa, where her family grew corn and soybeans. Her brother still runs the farm that has been in their family for over 100 years.

Brianne received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Iowa (UOI). While at UOI, she worked as a student security officer, eventually becoming a security manager. She received her M.S. in Homeland Security from Penn State University.

Today, she works the day shift and keeps busy with morning roll calls, assigning posts, training new hires, and then zipping around campus checking in with staff.

During a Zoom call, Brianne talked about cooking for hundreds of people, family memories, and where she wants to travel after the pandemic.

What was your very first job?

The summer before I started college, I worked at a local gas station to earn a bit of extra money. I worked the cash register, prepared food, and had to keep my eyes on customers coming and going. I didn’t like the food prep part, but the job overall taught me great observation skills. 

What is your favorite childhood memory?

For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’d drive to visit my stepmom’s family on their ranch in Missouri. I have a photo of me and my dad walking in the field there. I was about 7 years old. I love spending time with my dad. He works so much that I cherish any time I get to spend with him. I don’t remember what we were doing or talking about, but looking at that photo makes me smile.

Best advice you ever received, and from whom?

My grandma told me, “follow your heart and do what you want to do.” She really inspired me to travel and see the world. After she passed away, I went to Greece because we used to talk about that country and what it must be like. My love for travel has led me to do volunteer work.

Tell me more about the volunteer travel?

Recently, I spent time in Puerto Rico helping with Hurricane Maria relief and while I was there the earthquake hit. That was some of the most rewarding and physically demanding work I’ve ever done, including roof repairs and mold removal. I also helped serve meals with World Central Kitchen to those affected by the hurricane and earthquake. I’d cook for hundreds of people; it was exhausting. I went through a group called All Hands and Hearts. I like this organization because all donated monies go to the people who need it.

What advice would you give someone working at Yale?

I think it is important to be yourself. So, lean into what you have to give, your background, experiences, and personality, and use that as a tool in your job and in working with others. We often get caught up in other aspects of life and we forget to be our authentic selves.

Favorite Yale memory?

One cold winter’s evening, I was working outside of the Schwarzman Center with Reggie Chavis and a few other security officers. There was a concert going on inside. As we were working, we were trying to keep warm by dancing to the music. The other officers coming and going started dancing too, we were all dancing and working. When I think of it, it just makes me laugh.

What do you love about your job?

When you work in Public Safety and Security you aren’t here for the accolades. But we are here to help the community. Our department is really needed and especially now during the pandemic it’s gratifying to know the university can and does count on us. What we do really matters.

What is your biggest challenge at work?

Communication. Everyone has a different way of understanding things; some people are visual, some like to talk in person, some like a text. I think I’m getting better at communicating so everyone understands what needs to be done. I pride myself on this. My colleagues know they can come to me with questions or just to talk. That means a lot to me personally.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I enjoy playing and watching basketball, especially the WNBA. I went to a few of their games last year. I also enjoy writing poetry. But without a doubt, traveling is number one. You can learn so much about an area, its people, and yourself when you travel. I’d like to travel to Turkey for my next trip. I did a quick stop there on a cruise and was intrigued by the food and culture. After that Thailand, Australia, and I want to backpack across Europe.

What was your first car and what happened to it?

When I was 16, I had saved up enough money to buy a maroon 1989 Buick Regal. In rural Iowa, you live far from a lot so a car is important. I can remember the freedom of getting behind the wheel and just going. Sometimes I miss that car. I sold it during my first year in college.