Hello! I’m Deborah Leaner, President of NAPW’s Washington, DC Local Chapter in our Nation’s Capital. I am also the newly appointed Eastern Regional Manager, which consists of the 23 states that comprise the NAPW Eastern Region. Although I wear many hats in my professional career, my true passion is nurturing, equipping and empowering ordinary women to walk in their professional destiny by providing training and instructions on how to apply successful principles and best practices daily.
I’m a minister at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Glenarden, Maryland under the leadership of Pastor John Jenkins, Sr. In addition, I am the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Deborah Leaner Group, which encompasses Divine Discipleship for Sisters, a spiritual women’s development ministry that trains women leaders to train other women who desire to develop a more intimate relationship with Christ.
I have co-authored a four-book series entitled Living in Him, and I am the author of Make Your Mouth a Ministry… Speak Life, Bedroom Secrets I and Bedroom Secrets II… Your Garden of Eden. I also created a skincare line, Evening Allure that complements the Bedroom Secrets books. In addition, I serve as the CEO of Y-Not Publishing LLC, whose mission is to develop successful authors. I also host a TV talk show, Ms. Deborah’s Tearoom, airing on Comcast channel 76 and Verizon channel 42 in Prince Georges County and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Q: When did you become a member of NAPW? How long after becoming a member did you become Chapter President and why did you decide to take the leap from member to Chapter President? What made you decide to invest in yourself this way?
A: I became a member of NAPW in December 2011 and became the President of the DC Chapter in January 2012. I had the honor of succeeding my predecessor, Mrs. Gerly Sapphire Harris, who unbeknown to me, had been watching my walk, integrity and TV shows, and saw the passion I have for empowering ordinary women. She then shared with me that her time as President of the DC Chapter was coming to an end and thought I would be a great fit for the President position because of my passion to see women meet their full potential.
After researching the organization, I thought long and hard about the vision and mission of NAPW, realizing my passion for helping women could benefit the professional women of this Chapter. I agreed to have my name recommended to the NAPW National Office to succeed the outgoing Chapter President.
Q: How has this impacted you professionally and personally? On a Local Chapter level, what have been some of the challenges and rewards of being a Chapter President?
A: Becoming Chapter President has impacted my life tremendously — in a good way. I’ve had the opportunity to go to the White House to hear a talk about the Federal Women’s Program (FPW). (The primary responsibility of FPW is to identify barriers to the hiring and advancement of women and to enhance employment opportunities for women in every area of federal service.) I’ve had the privilege to meet and talk with some amazing professional women who have the same or similar drive of empowering other women to benefit future generations.
Two challenges I have had to address were locating a permanent meeting place and developing a strategy to keep members engaged. Once the Chapter board members were appointed, the first goal was to develop a strategy to recruit and keep members engaged, increase attendance and accomplish the vision and mission of the Chapter, while achieving the national goals.
Q: How do you feel your Chapter has impacted the community of professional women?
A: Last year, the DC Chapter ended with a bang! The theme for the Chapter for the year was “Girl on Fire.” The Chapter sponsored a contest based on the popular TV show Shark Tank, where contestants had to participate in a reenactment of Shark Tank in front of a few well-known panelists, who offered their services and mentorship to the finalist to enhance her business. By following the advice and guidelines she received from the panelist, the winner grew her business tremendously with a 100+% increase.
Deborah with a “Girl on Fire” winner Julia Iliadis
Q: What are your goals for the Chapter in 2014?
A: The DC Chapter has three main goals for 2014. They are to: 1) keep the vision/mission statements at the forefront of each Chapter meeting so that members will understand where the Chapter is going; 2) increase membership by engaging all members at each meeting with charity fundraising, spotlighting them monthly and keeping them informed of professional development opportunities; (3) help grow women businesses and provide opportunities for professional development so they can take their businesses to the next level.
Q: The launch of the NAPW Foundation is a big step forward for NAPW. How do you feel this will impact your Chapter on a local level?
A: I believe the NAPW Foundation is a huge step forward, and my Chapter goal is to conduct a monthly charitable activity/exercise designed to help grow those organizations. The next generation is our future; we need to pay it forward and ensure they are prepared to step into the professional arena.
NAPW DC Chapter and WomenHeart.org celebrate Healthy Heart
Q: What is one giveaway for the other Chapter Presidents and members across the country about NAPW, and why is this platform important and valuable to all women?
A: One giveaway for other Chapter Presidents is to embrace the heart of the vision and mission of NAPW and demonstrate that on a Chapter level, so members can see the potential of what the Chapter is capable of achieving. Once the members see the value of being an NAPW member, they can volunteer their skills, knowledge and expertise to reach the goal of developing and helping to enhance other professional women’s lives. It’s important and valuable to me that all women see the potential and benefits of being a member of NAPW along with the legacy they could keep going. I feel good knowing that future generations will keep the legacy of NAPW going strong!
NAPW DC Chapter Members