Deanna Anderson has made it her personal mission to advocate for womxn and children and to inspire others to achieve their dreams.
The Lola member, Deanna Anderson’s personal mission statement is to be an advocate for women and children while leveraging her personal experiences as a wife, mother, and business owner to inspire others to achieve their dreams. She aligns her leadership experiences with her values of hope, family and making a change to create success within her life and the lives of those in her community. When she isn’t working, you can find her running Ragnar races (a series of long-distance running relay races) or spending time outdoors with her family!
Location: Atlanta, GA
Age: 44 years
What do you do for work?
I am a small business founder and owner, community connector and dedicated advocate for women and children. Since 2006, I have served as the managing director of 705 Marketing, specializing in brand development, social media and PR for nonprofits, consumer, technology, and financial services clients. I am also a mom to Carter (14), Reese (11) and two Australian Labradoodles, Peri and Scout.
As COVID quickly became a reality, I founded the Moms Making it Together Community which is now a Facebook community of nearly 10,000 moms across the country, a blog and an Instagram
How did you land upon your professional path? Who or what inspired you into taking this path?
I am proud of my 15-year successful track record with 705 Marketing and especially proud of my team’s ability to deliver world-class marketing to nonprofits that fit within their budgets. I love to see the great stories and impact on how these amazing organizations are making a difference in the lives of the communities they serve.
My dad is a second-generation entrepreneur and instilled in us a great work ethic and the power to create our own futures. Combined with the influence of my mom being the rock of our family and her involvement in both the community and lives of her children, being an entrepreneur felt like the ideal choice to do the most for my clients, my family and the community.
On March 15, as COVID quickly became a reality for parents I started a Facebook Group, Moms Making it Together for moms to share, support and smile through this next normal, which has grown to 10,000 moms across the country, a blog and Instagram. The Moms Making It Together community is a place where I can use my marketing and life experiences as a mom to help others.
What are your values, name your top three and why?
Hope, Making a Difference and Family are my three core values. I wrote this in early January and I think it sums up my why:
My word for 2021 is HOPE. It doesn’t’ come from a place of hoping things get better, that COVID becomes a thing of the past and my children don’t refer to life as before there was COVID or have an ongoing dialogue on the strength, smell, and placement of hand sanitizer in their schools (I realize I am lucky that they – for the most part – have been in person at school since August very successfully and as a family, we are still COVID free) or from a place of sticking my head in the social media sand and pretending life is fine. Our world, our country is not fine but our life is what we each make of it and that is where I find hope.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary (.com of course as who has an actual dictionary these days), hope means to want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might.
So even as 2021 has started off right where 2020 left off with unexpected highs and lows for our country and a global pandemic ragging, I choose hope. Here are my current hopes for 2021:
- I hope for my kids to remember the COVID treasures we had, like 6 weeks at our favorite spot on the Pungo or front yard games at 4 pm from March to May.
- I choose to hope that 2020 and 2021 build a new generation of global focused citizens — including two Andersons who are ready to recognize and fight against injustice.
- I hope for a movement in our country to truly understand, appreciate, and fight for the rights of all of our neighbors.
- I hope that I can use my privilege to give a voice to those whose voice isn’t heard.
- I hope for the continued opportunity to help my nonprofit clients tell their stories of helping our community and showing hope in our communities in the midst of so much despair.
- I hope that we can celebrate all of the cultures, communities and people who make the US unique.
- I choose hope for an inclusive, caring, kind and empathic world.
- I choose hope because I see hope as an action! A call to action for me to find the ways that I can turn those hopes into reality.
How is your work, the way you show up each day and/or other areas of your life connected to living into your values?
First, at the age of 34 with a five-month-old and three-year-old, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While we knew it was very treatable and I am today 10 years cancer-free, it shook me to my core. It made me think a lot about my why and what I wanted to devote my time, talent and treasure to moving forward. Out of this came my dedication to helping nonprofit clients, which brings me so much joy. I also find as a cancer survivor the word hope has new meaning.
I see hope as a call to action to find ways that I can turn hopes into reality for my family, my business and my community.
Second, both of our kids have language-based learning differences. Our oldest attends a specialized school for kids with language-based learning differences and our daughter receives support at her school. However, when Carter was in kindergarten and diagnosed with dyslexia, I thought I was the worst mom ever for not “catching it.” Carter sums it up best when he says, “My brain works differently, and I need teachers who can teach the way my brain works.” I am now thankful for their learning differences in that both of our children understand we all have challenges and many of those are not visible on the outside. They are two of the most empathic children because of their differences.
Making a Difference
Finally, I dedicate my time, talent and treasure to many amazing nonprofits in Atlanta. I am a proud board member of Everybody Wins Atlanta and current volunteer with Girls on the Run Atlanta, 48in48 Women’s Build and president of the Howard School Parents Association. I am also a committee member for Georgia CASA’s, CASA on the Catwalk, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s annual Fall for Fashion.
I have had the opportunity for her to serve in a variety of roles in the Atlanta community, including president of the Junior League of Atlanta in its 100th year of service, Leadership Atlanta class of 2018 and as a past board member for the Atlanta Speech School and the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. I am an alum of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta’s annual Camp CEO and past Steering Committee Member for Atlanta Women’s Build for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.
How has being a womxn impacted your experience as a leader either at work or in your community?
My kitchen cabinet is the group of men and womxn who help me successfully navigate these roles. They are a diverse group of people who I have met over the years who help remind me when to slow down, when to let go and when it is time to fight.
By surrounding myself with a group of men and womxn who support me, I have fully embraced that we can get far more done by lifting each other up than stepping on each other on our way to the top. I think the combination of my parents, my husband, Jim, my volunteer experience and my 705 Marketing team has allowed me to bring that theme to life and be an example for both of my kids.
One of my favorite stories is about Reese, in the first grade, her teacher said in one of her conferences that she had leadership skills far above a first grader and that they believed that came from being surrounded by a diverse group of women at the Junior League of Atlanta. I hope I can help the girls and women I connect with see their leadership potential the way Reese has with the women of the JLA.
The Moms Making it Together group also shows the power of women connecting to help each other navigate life during COVID. This group of moms has become the best friend strangers many moms have needed during this time.
Our group’s goal is to share, support, and smile. On any given day there are questions from how to deal with kids’ mood swings, to the latest craft project to keep your tween busy to sharing homeschooling setups. We also bring our Mom Squad experts to share their knowledge with our group. We have had zooms on homeschooling 101, managing our anxiety during COVID, group workouts, and happy hours. We also have had Mom Squad Instagram takeovers on setting up workstations in your home, cooking, workouts, and one of our moms who is an author. This group started as a text between myself and three friends and then a shared note with my Girl Scout troop, but it has turned into an online village that is helping moms across the country navigate this unprecedented time.
What are your strengths as a leader and what skills do you aspire to and working to develop?
My personal mission statement is to be an advocate for women and children while leveraging my personal experiences as a wife, mother, and business owner to inspire others to achieve their dreams.
TEAM BUILDING, CREATIVITY AND POSITIVITY TOP MY STRENGTHS AS A LEADER. I BELIEVE A STRONG TEAM IS AT THE CORE OF EVERY COMPANY’S SUCCESS.
My 15 years as Managing Director of my own agency is due to the powerful team members that have been with me every step of the way. Just recently I volunteered as a Project Manager for 48in48 first Women’s Build and it was an amazing experience to see a team come together in such a short period of time to build a website for a nonprofit. I loved seeing the team dynamics come to life and be successful in 48 hours helping move a nonprofits’ mission forward with a new website.
An area that I continue to work on is setting an example that we can have a culture that embraces our differences and strives for inclusion for all. Sometimes we can ask Why once and then get busy with a solution.
However, diversity and inclusion are not that easy and it takes listening and having authentic and intentional conversations that lead to action. I want to continue to work on having those conversations in easy and more challenging situations.
Which female leaders do you look up to and why?
If I could set a dinner party with the female leaders I look up to the head of the table would be my mom and the other end of the table my two grandmothers. My mom is the foundation of our family and the rock for her own siblings and my grandmothers showed me the power of strong women from a very early age.
I would also invite Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Sara Blakely, Hillary Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy. Each of these women has shown strength and grace under pressure in different ways and I love the perspective of different generations.
We understand that Leadership roles can be stressful positions. What are your “go-to” ‘s to practices to manage your stress and avoid hitting burnout? How easy or hard has that been over the years?
- Find Your Outlet – I recommend finding your outlet to stay sane and serene. For me it is running or on my Peloton bike. Daily runs or a spin class have been my sanity. The great thing about the Peloton app and rides is I feel like I am with friends working out which is something I miss.
- Schedule YOU Time – I schedule my me time on my calendar so I don’t miss it. My clients and family all know we are all better if I get my workouts in.
- Treat yourself – During COVID Reese and I started doing spa night on Sundays. We take time to treat ourselves once a week. I also really like that it is time Reese and I have together each week.
How do you define success for yourself? What ideas of success do you reject?
When I think about success, I want to know that what I am doing is helping me, my family, my team members and my community lead a happier and healthier life.
With that in mind, I don’t believe that success and failure are at the opposite end of the spectrum and that success looks different day-to-day. Some days success is delivering an amazing client deliverable and some days it is getting the kids to school on time and making sure everyone gets to after-school events.
Do you have any hobbies? Were there specific ones you picked up due to COVID?
I love to run, Peloton, read and write. Running is my “me time” and I love to challenge myself with different types of runs. I have run 2 full marathons, dozens of half marathons and three Ragnar races. I never would have thought I would enjoy Ragnar Bourbon Chase which is living in a van for 36 hours as your team of 12 runs across Kentucky! I have signed up for it again this year and am running my 3rd full marathon.
Yes, I did make Peloton a hobby. We got a bike at the beginning of COVID and added a Tread recently. I love the sense of community Peloton has created. It is awesome to get on the bike or tread or a workout and “see” friends there with you, celebrate milestones with them and have FUN!
COVID did allow me to start writing personally again. I joined the Unstuck Writers Retreat and love spending time with them sharing our creations.
During COVID lockdown, our family ended each day together doing something active. From walks in the nature center, to bike rides to yard games we had to get out of the house, get some Vitamin D and have fun.