From White House Intern to Social Secretary: A Career Guided by Values-Based Leadership

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From White House Intern to Social Secretary:

A Career Guided by Values-Based Leadership

Friday, April 2, 2021
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET
Zoom link will be provided separately.
Register Here

As part of Leadership and Ethics Week, the Student Leadership and Ethics Board of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics is thrilled to host a conversation with Deesha Dyer, former White House Social Secretary under the Obama Administration and co-founder and Executive Director of This discussion, moderated by Associate Dean and Dean of Students Affairs Samantha Shapses, will examine the role of values-based leadership in the public sector, the impact of ethical decision-making, and the cross-section of personal values and professional work.

This event is part of the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) program, focusing on the DEI essential skills of communicating across identities, creating an inclusive environment, and gender identity and equity.

About the Speaker:

Deesha Dyer is the Founder and CEO of Hook & Fasten, a social impact agency that specializes in transformational relationships between corporations and communities, diversity & inclusion and executive operations. Dyer is an award-winning strategist, on-the-ground community organizer, and executive operations expert. She specializes in transforming ideas into causes that create tangible change. For nearly two decades, she has produced social-impact campaigns across entertainment, politics, philanthropy and business.

At 31 years old, Dyer entered the Obama Administration as a community college student intern and ultimately worked her way up to serving as White House Social Secretary. In that role, she resolved to not only open, but build lasting doors of opportunity for others. Dyer coordinated the historic visit by Pope Francis and booked legendary acts including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen and Aretha Franklin. Dyer recently completed a two-year tenure at the Ford Foundation, and in December 2019, finished a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where she designed and taught a study course entitled, “From Imposter to Impact.”

Named to Marie Claire’s new guard of women changing the world, Dyer’s personal journey has been guided by an unwavering passion for servant leadership, civic engagement, and social justice. In 2015, Essence called her “one of the most powerful women calling the shots in the Obama Administration.”

Her passion for activism predates her time in Washington. In 2003, she created Cover Your Lover, a hip-hop HIV/AIDS prevention program. In 2007, while at the forefront of corporate social responsibility for a Philadelphia company, she established an employee giving program. Moved by Hurricane Katrina, she began a campaign to provide feminine hygiene products to women after natural disasters, and, to date, the campaign has donated a total of $15,000 in products. She recently volunteered as the acting operations lead for the Bronx Community Relief Effort, a response to COVID-19.

Dyer is the co-founder of, an organization that empowers teen girls through global education and travel. In 2019, awarded scholarships to two female college students studying abroad. She also oversees additional initiatives, including Black Girl 44, a scholarship fund for young black women seeking internships in Washington, D.C., the Deesha Dyer Second Chance Scholarship at the Community College of Philadelphia, and Impact of a Vote, which aims to expose African American students to non-traditional careers in public service and politics.

Dyer is also a sought-after keynote speaker known for delivering engaging talks on a range of topics -- spanning women in leadership, confidence, diversity, and social change.

April 2nd, 2021 12:30 PM through  1:30 PM
United States