Leading in Times of Challenge with Deidre DeJear
Deidre DeJear is the director of Polk County Financial Empowerment Center and chair of the One Economy financial inclusion subcommittee. She has worked as owner of Caleo Enterprise and for Obama for America Iowa. DeJear was also the first African American Democratic nominee to run for Iowa Secretary of State in 2018.
Deidre DeJear Leadership Tips
DeJear attended Drake University to become a political analyst. Her sophomore year, she applied for an internship with Bankers Trust in the HR department. Instead of joining the HR department, DeJear started in the marketing department where she learned from a number of mentors. Her internship led to a full-time job, and she stayed with Bankers Trust for five years. While working at the bank during the recession, DeJear started her own small business to help businesses market their companies.
One of DeJear’s biggest challenges was leaving Bankers Trust to go into her business full-time. She says that she —like many — was conditioned to think that if you are ready to leave one thing, you need to know exactly where you’re going. DeJear points out that sometimes leaving can give you more direction and clarity. Her time away reignited the political bug inside, pushed her to join the Obama campaign and eventually led to a full-time job.
As the leader of her own business, DeJear says it’s important for her to put time and effort into helping others. If she can help someone and add value to the community, DeJear wants to do it. She says organizations cannot work in silos and people need each other to get things done. The world is codependent on everything else around it. DeJear says knowing this is what keeps her going, and she calls on friends, family and trusted individuals to help her be effective in her work.
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The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.