From write-ups in Elle and Glamour to countless speaking engagements, Deesha Dyer is a woman to watch. The Obama administration Social Secretary recently relocated to New York where she consults on events and creative strategy when not acting as the Executive Director of beGirl.world, a teen girl travel organization that finds new ways to expose young minority girls to the world using global education and travel.
Deesha is at once warm and effusive, yet knows how to command a room. We're guessing this balanced skillset was honed during her time at the White House. It doesn't take long to realize Deesha is inherently motivated by strong faith and her commitment to her work. So how does she stay so on? Making sure she reserves time for friends and family, coming together for a purpose or just to chill. We definitely want to do more chill with this lady. Also, she's looking for a stylist - FYI! Read on to get All Worked Up with Deesha Dyer.
You’re a relatively new New Yorker, how are you getting in the groove in the Big Apple?
Although I am newly living here, I have been coming to this city all of my life so it isn’t super new. It is quite strange to call it home however because I never saw myself living in New York. Soaking up all the culture and hustle while being inspired by it. It is interesting to be single in New York though. It’s definitely not like I saw on Sex and City, but it’s not summer yet - so maybe that’ll change!
Walk us through a typical day?
Every single day is different, which I like. I usually wake up about 6:30am and read the news on my phone for an hour, do social media postings and try to go back to sleep, which never works. I wake up, stretch and pray every morning, jump in the shower, get out and have steel cut oats with berries, put on some podcast, sermon or music to get me ready for the day, get dressed and either go to an office to work if I have a day-to-day gig or go to a coffee shop and hang out all day doing work! That is every single morning. The day from there is up in the air.
I do not have any best practices to structure my day at all, but I need some. I’m not good with structure! My exercise is usually around 4 - 5pm and it’s either with my trainer or Soul Cycle or just walking around the city with headphones if it’s a nice day. I need to get back to yoga. I end my day with dinner and then replying to emails or watching something on Netflix. I try to do something at the end of the day that doesn’t require much brain thought. I usually write poetry and journal at night but I also often fall asleep in my journal. I definitely am not out networking every night, nope!
You’ve spoken about how you are working to elevate your professional wardrobe. How are you going about this and why is it important? What message are you hoping to communicate with your work style?
I love individual style and I love mine which is true vintage, not cute expensive vintage - like thrift store vintage. The issue with this is that the clothes often fall apart easily. I also realize that I am in a new city and want to feel like I hit a reset button and that includes my wardrobe. I just don’t enjoy shopping and truly don’t know what looks good on my body type. I know it sounds crazy, but I have the same style and I’m ready to experiment.
I have started taking better care of my body, which I think will give me the confidence to try new things. I am also going about this by trying to find a personal stylist to help me. It’s important because I want to be sure to strike the right balance of appropriate and authentic - I thrive when I can ride that line! Unfortunately with being a woman, this is not always easy, but we are getting there!
I am hoping to communicate that while style is nice, substance is nicer - so take the style as an accessory to the substance.
Do you have a favorite workwear item (clothing or accessory) that you can't live without?
Yes, a tan blazer and tan button up sweater. They go with everything and often hide parts that I sometimes want to hide - especially when its that time of month!
You’ve spoken about imposter syndrome when you first joined the White House under the Obama administration. Do you ever find yourself still needing to quiet that voice or make affirmations?
Definitely! The White House was 7.5 wonderful years and such an honor, but I’m back in the world getting used to a whole new me, a whole new life, a new city, a new career, etc. so that voice sometimes still creeps up as I continue to grow and learn. I deal with it a lot better now than before.
What constitutes a good day at work?
I don’t know how honest you want me to be here. A good day at work for me is not cussing someone out, but we shouldn’t put that! (We totally should, and did - RA.)
A good day at work for me is walking out and feeling like you gave it your all and did the best you could. I feel like that is the one thing you can control. You can’t control time so you may not get to all the to-dos, you can’t control other people - so their reactions or response shouldn’t control you. Also, work is part of life, so I just see it as life balance! :)
How do you unwind and turn work off?
LOL, turn work off? Where they do that at? Kidding. I think the only time I turn work off is when I am sleeping. I am always creating, scheming and hustling in my head or writing and all of that is work for me since I work for myself.
I don’t have designated self-care time. I take it when my body says to take it. I’ve matured enough and had enough health concerns to know to listen to my body. I pray every single day. I don’t try the best new restaurants only because I’m working on my physical health so I don’t even want to be tempted. I cook at home mainly. But if someone invites me out or I get asked on a date, I’ll try a new restaurant!
Regardless of whether your work is your passion or your path to the weekend, what is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”
Hands down - spending time with my friends and family. I love to gather groups of people together whether it be for an actual purpose or just to laugh and chill, I believe there is something so powerful in togetherness. From just meeting up with friends to sit on the couch or planning a girls trip to Europe - I love just being with people loving and laughing.
There are plenty of POC in finance, but Kori Hale, founder of CultureBanx, saw the need to make sure our stories get told. So Kori launched a squawk box for the culture. CultureBanx covers how money is moving and who is making money moves. Click through to learn how Kori gets All Worked Up.