Even as a kid, Deanna was drawn to culture and diversity. She chose a college “where any person can find instruction in any study” — Cornell — and launched her career with a similar, inclusive mindset. In her first job at energy consulting firm CERA, she contributed to Dan Yergin’s Pulitzer-winning book The Prize; she then worked in multicultural marketing for US Airways and MCI, where she launched products and developed culturally relevant advertising in 13 languages.
She spent the bulk of her career — almost 20 years — at Vanguard Communications, leading an array of inclusive, award-winning PR and social marketing campaigns and serving on the executive leadership team. She partnered with Native American communities to address prenatal care (U.S. HRSA) and youth smoking (U.S. FDA), and with individuals experiencing mental health challenges to plan — and star in — a stigma-reduction campaign and awards program (U.S. SAMHSA’s Campaign for Social Inclusion and Voice Awards). She developed and tested a strategic storytelling training for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s youth leaders, and promoted researchers of color on behalf of Equal Measure’s New Connections program, She coached clients on integrated media strategies and worked with top outlets on stories ranging from the challenges facing family farmers to the promise of community-based energy solutions. The latter was part of a comprehensive communications program for the nonprofit Galvin Electricity Initiative that she developed and led for six years.
As creator of Vanguard’s practice in nonprofit branding, Deanna audited and strengthened, brands for clients such as RTI International, GLAD, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and DC Sustainable Energy Utility. To inform her projects, she uses the range of research tools and protocols — from talking circles to multilingual focus groups, one-on-one interviews, surveys and more.
Deanna is the founder of 3 Stories Communications where she has brought strategic communications to the inclusion and diversity space. She served on the strategy and assessment teams for Cook Ross and more recently, The Silverene Group and has conducted countless cultural assessments and employee focus groups for clients of all types. She also provides interim communications leadership for nonprofits and blogs on workplace culture and the future of work.
Deanna lives in Washington, DC’s diverse Adams Morgan neighborhood, in a turn-of-the-century rowhouse that helped inspire her company name. Her two daughters attend language immersion public schools and Deanna serves on the board of one of them, DC International School, where she chairs the public affairs committee. In her free time, Deanna helps promote innovation in public education and an end to the disinformation epidemic. She also helped found DC March Lodging and co-produced a TedX event in her community.