Dr. Debra J. Dean
Travels from Kentucky
Content Provided by Speaker
Dr. Debra J. Dean has 25 years of experience in corporate in addition to earning her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University in 2017. Her dissertation is titled Religion and Spirituality in the Workplace: A quantitative evaluation of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. She is the World's Foremost Expert on Integrating Faith at Work and has published more than 20 book chapters and journal articles on the subject, including Practical Steps for Christians to Live Out Their Faith at Work (2020), Including Everyone with Respectful Pluralism (2020), and Moral Entrepreneurship: Being Authentic and Using One's Moral Cmopass to Navigate the Journey of Doing Good Deeds (2020).
Dr. Dean is passionate about helping people. In her corporate career, she focused on business intelligence, business modernization, operational excellence, and quality control. For too long, companies have focused on profits more than people which has resulted in downsizing, layoffs, offshoring, and more. Dr. Dean's approach to business is a spiritual approach that includes people, planet, and profit. She genuinely cares and wants to coach others to nourish souls at work while responding to the Greatest Commandment to Love God first and Love Others second.
Dr. Dean's research usually points back to I Corinthians 13; whereas "the greatest of these is love." In a study on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment, Dr. Dean used the Fruit of the Spirit Scale and found that all nine fruits related to desired workplace outcomes; however, love was a significant predictor. In another study using the Spiritual Leadership Scale and Spirituality at Work Scale, she found that altruistic love, sense of community, and meaningful work were significant predictors of desirable workplace outcomes. Dr. Dean uses these research projects to help organizations coach, mentor, and train their staff to love appropriately. And, her consulting can help a company diagnose the root of the problem; whereas she offers sound practical and theoretical advice for strategic change.
Using Respectful Pluralism and a Biblical Worldview, Dr. Dean speaks often about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). She believes we should respect all people for the sake of human dignity. Unfortunately, many DEI departments focus on specific agendas and few are inclusive of all people, including Christians. This is shown as companies segregate their employees instead of fostering a culture of inclusion. Such companies may tout their specific awards for "women and people of all genders, people of color, LGBTQ people, employees who are Boomers or older, and people who have disabilities" (Fortune). Instead of separating into groups, why not evaluate the true meaning of inclusion and focus on respect of human dignity for all people? Dr. Dean shares with her audience how to encourage differences, identifying strengths and managing a culture that is more tolerant of differences, but embraces differences and recognizes the amazing poential of every human being.
Dr. Dean was awarded the 2020 Women of Influence by The Colorado Springs Business Journal in addition to the 2020 winner of the Most Influential Business Consultancy CEO (USA) by Global CEO Excellence Awards. She was also a top operational excellence leader with OPEX Week Business Transformation World Summit 2019. She received the 2018 Outstanding Reviewer award for the Management, Spirituality, and Religion (MSR) community with the Academy of Management (AOM). She was nominated as a top female leader with her previous global workplace where her research efforts elevated employee engagement to some of the highest levels in the multinational organization. And she has been included in Biltmore's Who's Who of Women Business Leaders, Continental Who's Who of National Business Leaders, and Who's Who Among University Students.
Dr. Dean was born and raised in Kentucky, spent nine years in Iowa, and currently resides in Kentucky with her husband Steve and their youngest son Gavin. In total, they have six amazing children and four wonderful grandchildren. She loves to spend time with family and enjoying God's beautiful and amazing creation. In 2018, Dr. Dean embarked on the Halftime Journey (based on Bob Buford's book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance) and has radically changed her daily schedule to focus on God. Her daily prayer is to Honor and Glorify God in all that she does; while hoping she doesn't mess things up. Her personal mission statement is to "Inspire each person to identify their human potential and pursue authenticity, while living a life of eternal focus." Her family vision statement is to "Unite as Team Dean to focus on our eternal home while we inspire authentic character, live with integrity in all that we do, treat others the way we want to be treated, recognize and appreciate blessings and miracles, serve others in meaningful ways, enjoy the beauty of the world around us, and convene daily in an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."
Addressing the Issues of our Culture from a Biblical Perspective: If we are not talking about it, the world will frame the issues for us
SHHH! You can't say that. Why are Christians so afraid to speak up about topics such as abortion, LGBTQ, and even the right to bear arms? What are we as Christians to do with such topics and how they influence our everyday life? The objective of this speech is to bring the issues to the forefront where Christians can feel comfortable that they are not alone in their internal struggle between right and wrong and to help one another walk this journey of darkness united as a light for the world. John 2:13-25 is used as an example to demonstrate how Jesus cleared the temple in an assertive yet compassionate and loving way. Christians can speak up and take action when faced with activities not aligned with a Biblical worldview. This speech examines how to do that in a Christlike way.
Authenticity: How to be real in a world full of fakes
Does my work matter? Do I matter? Why do bad things happen? This speech examines how each and every single person has a purpose based on their own unique journey of life, work, experiences, education, God-given skills, talents, and gifts. This speech dives into the core being of each person to examine who they are authentically and what they can do with their complete package of awesomeness. This speech uses Ephesians 2:10 to reaffirm God's creation of each person as a masterpiece. The objective of this speech is to help people throughout the world realize there is more to life than mundane, routine, boring work. They can have passion and purpose with meaning.
Character Development: Develop a moral compass that precedes your reputation
When did it become okay to be immoral? It is time to discover what value system we have, where it came from, and why we need it. It is also time to develop our own moral compass so we can discern right from wrong, even when the government or our family and friends say it's okay. This speech covers the difference of absolutism vs. relativism and gives the audience a safe space to stop and think about why they do what they do, why they believe what they believe, and what they are going to do in the future. It provides resources for them to develop a moral compass they can use as a foundation to make decisions and discern right and wrong based on their own value system. And, it provides the necessary steps for them to become more virtuous and noble with their daily character qualities.
Christian Leadership to Change the World: How to lead with Christian virtues
The world is changing. What are we doing about it? This speech examines servant leadership characteristics of agapao love, humility, altruism, vision, service, trust, and empowerment as well as spiritual leadership concepts of altruistic love, faith/hope, vision, inner life, meaningful work, and sense of community. Additionally, this speech includes how leaders can use the fruit of the spirit in their daily walk as they infuse love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into the culture. The objective of this topic is to encourage people of all walks of life to take notice that they personally have a soul that needs to be nourished at work, at home, at school, etc., and that they have the ability to nourish the souls of others through Christian leadership practices.
Culture & Climate: Cultivating a spiritual workplace
"People are hungry for ways in which to practice spirituality in the workplace without offending their coworkers or causing acrimony. They believe strongly that unless organizations learn how to harness the "whole person" and the immense spiritual energy that is at the core of everyone, they will not be able to produce world class products and services" (Mitroff and Denton, 1999). Dr. Dean helps you take stock of your culture to understand what is going on in your workplace and strategically plan to cultivate a spiritual workplace where employees feel accepted, nourished, and purposeful at work.
Cultural Dimensions: Understanding differences
Have you noticed how the people around you act differently than you do? Is it because they are from a different place? Have you noticed how people in Kentucky act differently than people in New York? Or how people in India act differently than people in America? Geert Hofstede spent years categorizing cultural differences at IBM between 1967 and 1973. He found that workers from different geographical locations behave differently in terms of individualism vs. collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity vs. femininity. His work continues to this day and has included 93 country groups to identify two more cultural dimensions including long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation and indulgence vs. restraint. Dr. Dean shares her experiences with Cultural Dimensions and trains the audience on how to use the country tool so they can play, work, and live together better with empathy, compassion, and mutual respect.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Using respectful pluralism to encourage civility and unity while embracing differences
Are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) departments biased? Is your DEI department truly including everyone or are they excluding certain groups? Using Respectful Pluralism, we will focus on your workplace to ensure all are welcome and receiving equal attention. If an organization is awarded as the best place to work for anything other than inclusion as a whole, it is, by nature, segregating their employees into groups and excluding certain demographics. The true purpose of DEI departments is to respect human dignity of all people, regardless of their differences. Dr. Dean encourages her audience to not just tolerate differences but embrace them and empower people to use their strengths.
Faith at Work: It's no longer a movement
This may be the last taboo topic at work. It is now America's greatest megatrend. Terms such as Faith at Work, God at Work, His Way at Work, Marketplace Ministries, Spirit at Work, Spirituality in the Workplace, Theology of Work, and Workplace Spirituality are becoming common in academic and practitioner vocabularies. Perhaps it started with a 1952 Fortune magazine article titled Businessmen on Their Knees. The follow-up story in the 2001 Fortune magazine was titled God in Business. These two articles gave real-life examples of how companies such as US Steel and Service Master allow spiritual practices in their workplace and how such companies have reaped big rewards from not leaving God at the door. This speech gives many examples of companies and their practical integration of Faith at Work as a way to encourage others to be bold and no longer be ashamed of their identity in Christ.
Followership: Why do we spend so much time talking about being a leader when every one of us is a follower?
Don't be a leader -- be a follower! Nobody says that, but the reality is we all follow and some of us lead. Followership is a newer term used in academia, but it just makes sense. There are more followers than there are leaders. Unfortunately, the word follower has a negative connotation. But such a word also implies disciple, supporter, and partner. This topic will examine the work by several pioneers to articulate types of followers and discover why some are courageous, while others are bystanders. We will examine what type of followers one will want to be. How to be a good follower. And, how to align your team with the right type of followers for the most impact. The objective of this speech is to flip the lens and consider this topic of followership as more important than the topic of leadership; one that is relevant to all people.
From Victim to Victor: How to overcome tragedy
They call her successful -- one of the most influential women. Dr. Dean was molested from age five to nine, suffered multiple rapes throughout middle school, lost her grandfather (whom she lived with) at age 13, was married and pregnant at 19, divorced at 21, lost her brother at age 21, lost her grandmother (who helped to raise her) at age 25. She remarried at age 26, expanding her family from two to four children. She lost a baby at age 29. She was impacted by the recession at age 33, dividing her family and relocating 500 miles away. Her father died when she was 41. Dr. Dean shares how she faced trials and tribulations while maintaining a positive attitude and maturing in her relationship with Christ. She also shares her definition of success after earning her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, earning a Ph.D., and climbing the corporate ladder.
How to Love Your People: Nourishing souls at work
COVID-19 has revealed an urgent need for softer skills at work. Companies are scrambling to find ways to coach their leaders to empathize and show compassion to their staff. They need to love their people in appropriate ways. Practically, successful leaders are pushing aside traditional business techniques and focusing on the needs of their flock. This speech gives you actionable items to care for your people at work, establish trust, build a sense of community, and have meaningful work. In return, these softer skills are nourishing souls and tending to basic human needs. Ultimately, loving others is the right thing to do. And, when you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.
Political Correctness: A deep dive into critical theory
The attack on faith and family in America is obvious, but it didn't happen overnight. This speech examines the concept of political correctness from a historical premise in order to understand where it has gone array in our current culture. We will focus on rhetoric and persuasion tactics that are used through media campaigns, political campaigns, and even everyday verbiage that has a hidden agenda. The objective of this topic is to open the eyes of the audience to the way our world is being shaped around us through oral and written text.
Why I Climbed the Ladder and Jumped Off the Cliff
No, she didn't! Join Dr. Dean on her career journey that spanned more than two decades and three states with one company. She had every intention to stay with one company until retirement, as others in her family did. However, her last five years in corporate changed drastically. Arriving to work each day, she muddled through stacks of emails about Pride Week, Coming Out Day, Transgender Modification, Gender Dysphoria, and LGBTQ galas. Meanwhile, she was told her Moms in Prayer group meeting and study on religions in the workplace were not part of the corporate agenda. She felt like she was 'adding to the degradation of society' by going to work every day. Many in the audience will relate to these (and other) situations that directly contradict their Biblical Worldview. Dr. Dean offers advice on what to do to maintain your Christian value system in a faith adverse workplace.
Women in Leadership: Breaking through the glass ceiling while remaining modest, humble, and classy
Ladies -- lead the class! Women in leadership may be viewed as bossy, mean, aggressive, and rude when doing some of the same things a male executive does. Research shows that women climbing the corporate ladder often feel inferior to men and spend much time preparing to defend their position. The overwhelming findings are that men are judged based on their potential; whereas, women are judged based on their performance. Women that have succeeded in climbing the corporate ladder say they have had a sponsor, mentor, or coach at some point in their career; usually a man. Dr. Dean encourages her audience to support one another in accelerating their career path and challenges the ladies to maintain their femininity and recognize their softer side as a strength, not a weakness.
"Debbie has done some truly amazing things during her time with us. An example is her Innovation Cafe when she broke us into groups and presented us with challenging questions, then shuffled the groups and presented other questions. It truly opened up the channels of communication, improved our understanding of each other and increased engagement within the department. Three years later, we are still reaping benefits from it."
"A True Model Leader: Debbie consistently and constantly works to bring her team and her direct reports together. She works to develop and maintain relationships and helps and pushes her direct reports to grow and develop and to take on greater challenges. She pushes others out of their comfort zones and enables professional and personal growth as a result. She also fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and team work, getting members of different teams to work together to finish projects."
"Building Employee Relationships: Debbie is instrumental in bringing awareness and applying concepts to improve our relationships with our employees. She has taken the initiative to help teach the other managers and employees better ways to communicate. This will help ensure our department will maintain quality employees who are engaged and more productive. Thank you, Debbie, for all your hard work!"
"Debbie is a person that exemplifies what a leader should be. She actively listens to individuals on her team and puts those ideas into action. She is never too busy to answer questions, and if she doesn't know the answer herself, she goes out of her way to find a resource that can help. She is a very positive person and has a can-do attitude."