Finding My Passion in my Profession Again
Deidra is a Bossed Up Bootcamp alum who recently launched a new company that delivers a bundle of diverse children’s books each month to parents and educators looking to bring characters of color to the pages they turn in the classroom.
A lifelong educational professional, at one point Deidra found herself climbing a leadership ladder she didn’t like as much as she thought she would, only to realize she needed to make big changes to bring her passion and purpose back into her profession.
I caught up with Deidra to hear the full story:
Emilie: Congrats on the launch of the WAM Book Bundle, boss! Tell us about it.
Deidra: Thank you! It’s been an amazing journey, starting with an instagram feed I began to showcase the great children’s literature out there that’s featuring more children and people of color. It took off quickly and I was surprised by the demand from teachers and parents all over the country for more resources on how to get their hands on more books like these! The subscription concept came about from that demand, and I’m so excited to be supporting both authors and teachers in this way. It feels like a culmination of my lifetime of work.
Emilie: Fantastic. Tell me more about that – how has your career led you to this moment?
Deidra: Well, I’ll be honest: it wasn’t too long ago that I felt burnt out and stuck in a position that was all wrong for me. It’s what I was told “success” in education was supposed to look like – moving up into management in a high-stress educational leadership position that took me out of the classroom and into a position working to support and develop teachers. But I missed being in the classroom and working with kids! My specialty was always in working on literacy intervention, and I wanted to get back to that.
Emilie: So how did you make that happen?
Deidra: Everyone said that going back into the classroom as a teacher would mean taking a step back, salary-wise, and yet I found a way to prove them wrong. I was able to leverage my resume and robust experience into a teaching position working with young children at a great school. Getting out of my chaotic educational leadership position allowed me to clear the mental space to focus on my own long-term goals and my own vision for the impact I wanted to have in this world.
Emilie: Beautiful. It’s pretty amazing what can happen when you create the time and space for creativity, isn’t it?
Deidra: Totally! And that’s a big part of what made Bossed Up Bootcamp so powerful. I was able to spend a focused amount of time clarifying my goals, breaking them down into yearly, monthly, and weekly next steps that made it all feel manageable, and left able to move ahead with a community of women who were similarly focused on taking charge of their own lives. Bootcamp introduced me to the concept of mindfulness, too, which has made a huge impact on my ability to navigate fear and uncertainty on the journey to creating this blended career path that I love – serving in the classroom and as an entrepreneur.
Emilie: So why children’s books? How did this become the focus of your company?
Deidra: I’ve always worked in urban schools, and so I started the Instagram account because I knew students got excited when they saw characters in books that looked like them – I’ve seen it in the classroom again and again. Books can be a portal for diversity, even if the actual communities we live are not.
Emilie: Congratulations, Deidra! This is an amazing endeavor.
Deidra: Thanks. It feels so good to do what I love by day and have the opportunity to make the impact I want to see in this world through WAM Book Bundle, too.