Deidre DeJear

Rising Star Award, Women of Influence - Aug. 11, 2019

Deidre DeJear
August 11, 2019
Print friendly

Thank you.

[inaudible] – for your continued efforts in our community and for sponsoring this amazing Rising Star Award. I'd also – [inaudible].

– here's and the folks who wrote support letters for me: Terry Caldwell Johnson, Kevin Patrick, Liz Buck, Renee Hardman, Mike Tramontina, and then my ride or die, my husband, Marvin DeJear.

When I was a kid, there were two very strong women who really stood in the gap for my parents. They worked in the financial in the healthcare industry and they often worked long hours. And these two women were by my side, and by my little brother's side, every step of the way. Their names were Denise and Donna, and they were in their early 20s. And, one of them, Denise, was an incredible math whiz – and I was always mesmerized by her ability, to just calculate things in her head. And she saw that, that fascination that I had with her, and she raised that fascination to another level – by introducing me to this thing. That camera right there so you all can see it. If anybody has seen one of these. And this is a multiplication fact table. And I remember the summer of my first grade year going into my second grade year, and Denise introduced me to this thing. I wasn't quite there on the multiplication facts but she was determined to make sure I was by the end of the summer. I got the ones, I got the twos, but I didn't get all the tricks of the trade – but Denise was not concentrated on teaching me the tricks of multiplication facts, but simply the facts themselves.

And so I would go and study my ones and twos, and she would then go test me – and I get all of them right, of course. Then I go to the threes and fours, but then I got to those nines. Got to the nines and I walked up to her, said I'm ready to be tested. And she said okay, she started with the toughest one – nine times none. Eighty-one. You know how you answer a question, with the inflection that questioned your answer? That was me. She said, “are you sure?” “Yeah.” She said, “Deidre Howard, are you sure?” And I like to do is just look.

Now, she gave me back this table, and I looked and sure enough, nine times nine was eighty-one – still is. And, what Denise was trying to help me do was establish some level of being sure about what I knew – she was instilling in me confidence. As a seven-year-old kid, confidence. You know there was there have been several women that have followed Denise, and Donna, who have been so instrumental in my life. When I think about this award, and what it's called, in this event – Women of Influence – perhaps I am on the verge of influencing someone, but most importantly I stand here because of the women who have influenced me. The women who have given their time, their talents, and their efforts to straightening me out when I needed to be straighten out; to encourage me when I needed to be encouraged; and to support me along the way. I mean when I think of Bankers Trust, my first real job out of college – well actually it was during college – and I walked into that office with Renee Hardman and Sharon Gaddy Hannah, and just knew they were gonna give me that internship in the human resources department – because that's where I had experience with my dad working every single summer. And they put me in the marketing department. Best thing they could have done in me, but they saw something in me that I did not see in myself. After I worked on the Obama campaign, I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. And Elizabeth Buck of United Way had some faith in me to develop this financial education program that would go on to educate thousands throughout central Iowa. Terry Caldwell Johnson had faith in me, to listen as a consultant. Tere I was, twenty something years old calling myself a consultant, and she heard that, and believed in that, and supported that. It's moments like that, that I believe are part of who I am, and a part of who we are, as women.

We're in this together. Through all of our imperfections, through all of our challenges – we know that we are capable; we know that we are strong; and we know that we are determined. Terry often says to me, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ – and just assures I am that nine times nine is eighty-one, I'm sure that together, as long as we stick together, we rise together. Thank you.

DeJear, D. [Des Moines Business Record]. (2019, August 11) 2019 Women of Influence | Deidre DeJear [] Retrieved on April 15, 2022 from