Hoya Highlight: Deanna Singh (L’04)

Chief Change Agent, Flying Elephant

Career Reflections

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Chart your own course, and always do what you think will have the most impact.

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do professionally?
Pivot to something different when I knew I wasn’t in alignment with my purpose. Lots of people advised me to, “Go for the title! Go for the money! Suck it up!” I tried, but I was never good at it. For me, being in strong alignment with my purpose gives me confirmation that I’m doing the right thing mentally, spiritually, and intellectually. Especially when I was young, it was tough to move away from a comfortable job to pursue work that was in alignment with my purpose. But now, I can’t imagine working any other way. Once you’ve acted in your purpose and know how good that feels, it feels awkward to be out of it.

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?
There is no one big rewarding moment – instead, there have been lots of small rewarding moments. The common theme throughout all these moments is that I feel rewarded when I get to see other people thrive. Knowing I had some small part in helping people get to where they want to be is incredibly fulfilling. In my career I teach, I write, I support amazing organizations, coach social entrepreneurs, I give presentations, and I help deliver babies as a doula. All of these provide me with moments when I am able to help others reach their potential.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?
I would have started writing earlier. There is power in putting pen to paper that I didn’t fully understand until later in my career. I’ve always really liked writing, but I never thought about it as something I would pursue professionally by becoming an author. Writing really came out of my desire to be more efficient and effective. So many people were reaching out to me for guidance on similar topics, and I was struggling to find the time to respond to all the questions and to share insights with everyone. So, I wrote books! Personal Hustle and Boy and Girl of Color came out of this desire to be responsive to all the questions I was getting. These books allowed me to participate in helping to change existing narratives, and to respond to everyone who’d written to me. There is so much power in the written word and through writing I’ve gotten to address deep issues: equity, inclusion, empowerment, etc.

Your Time on the Hilltop

Who was your favorite professor at Georgetown?
There are too many to name them all! But Dean Bellamy, Professor Roe, Professor Emma Jordan and Professor Edelman were some of my favorites! I kept the materials from Professor Edelman’s class for over a decade, and I found myself referencing articles he shared with us in my work. I had a chance to visit with him in Fall 2018 when he was on a book tour, and I finally got the opportunity to thank him for the impact he made on me. He did an amazing job of making us look at things objectively and providing us with the historical context we needed. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be around so many brilliant people!

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?
The program my classmates and I developed in our Street Law class comes to mind immediately. We were tasked with putting together a Street Law program for Milwaukee, WI, and we spent the whole semester creating this project. Finally, we got to come to Wisconsin and implement it. Now, the project is in its 15th year of operation!

I also fondly remember the people who worked on campus at the Law Center – especially the security guards. There were four security guard who knew me by name. Knowing they were looking out for me and that they took the time to know who I was made a big difference.

Finally, as part of the Black Law Students Association, I helped to organize the largest demonstration ever at the Supreme Court for an affirmative action case that was brought before the Supreme Court. Leading that as a student with the support of others on campus was amazing! I was called to the podium to speak in front of thousands of people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The history and impact of that moment hit me hard – where I was standing and why I was standing there. That whole experience was made possible by my being at Georgetown: I got to use the city as an extension of campus.

How has Georgetown shaped you?
I loved that I found a place that nurtured me to use my law degree in a non-traditional way. My professors and fellow students and alumni were all encouraging of how a law degree can be used toward the greater good of others.

A Day in the Life

Who is a source of inspiration and strength in your life and why?
My children. I see the way they look at the world and their vision of how the world could be. I want to make their vision a reality. They see a world where people are treated with respect and love and encouraged to be creative.

What is one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?
Starting every day with 15 minutes of prayer and reflections of gratitude, followed by cuddling with my kids.

What is on your desk right now?
I always keep a picture of my family within my line of sight. At the end of the day, they and God are who measure me and that it’s their opinions that matter the most.

Who is your favorite author?
Toni Morrison

Words to live by?
At the end of my life, I want to be able to tell God I’ve used everything given to me. I use this desire to guide my life. I ask myself all of the time if there is something else I could be doing that would be more impactful? How do I multiply the blessings, opportunities and experiences I have received?

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