MLK Celebration & Keynote Speaker
January 11, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr. day is Monday, January 18, 2021. To help us reflect on this holiday, Deidre DeJear will be our keynote speaker in the Viking Theatre at Noon. We encourage you to watch our keynote speaker, but have limited seating in the Viking Theater because of COVID-19 protocols. You can join us virtually via YouTube: www.YouTube.com/GrandViewUniversityVideo
Deidre DeJear started her business, Caleo Enterprises, in 2008 during her senior year at Drake University to help other businesses grow and thrive. It was at the brink of the recession, and Deidre saw a need for better marketing services to support small businesses. Iowans were out of work and struggling, and as a result, many became entrepreneurs out of necessity. Deidre stepped in to help them market themselves and navigate the filing process through the Secretary of State’s Office.
Fast forward 10 years and Caleo Enterprises has helped over 400 small businesses and nonprofits in Iowa. Via an earn-and-learn model, Deidre now pays small businesses to participate in their education programs because she believes small business owners deserve on the job training just like other trades.
Over the last several years, Deidre has developed and implemented the Financial Empowerment Center – a collaborative initiative designed to equip low-income individuals and families with resources, products, and systems needed to increase their financial management skills. Through her robust programmatic functions, such as the Financial Fitness Boot Camp, Masters Business Boot Camp, and Non-Profit Boot Camp, the center has reached over 20,000 people annually.
Since 2015, Deidre has spent a considerable amount of time working on One Economy, a project dedicated to strengthening the financial capability and wealth attainment of African Americans in Iowa. Through its working groups led by community leaders, One Economy serves as a resource for individuals to acquire the tools needed to make meaningful change in their communities.
In 2018, Deidre became the first African American in Iowa to be nominated by a major political party statewide. As the Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of State, she ran to restore Iowa’s progressive voting laws and fought for fair access to the ballot box. Deidre attributes her passion for voter rights advocacy to her experience working on her grandma’s Mississippi campaign in the ‘90s. Since then, she has been using her voice to champion voters’ rights in Iowa, working on presidential campaigns and managing local school board races.
Deidre has heard every excuse as to why people choose not to vote and believes that Iowans need an invite into the process. Deidre’s most recent efforts include the launch of 20/20 Vision PAC, which magnifies the integral roles equity and inclusion play in making local and national change and equips individuals with the necessary tools to facilitate effective, sustainable change.
Deidre is continuing the fight for voter access in the private sector and is still championing small business owners through her business, Caleo Enterprises.
Grand View will celebrate all week with service events.