POWER promotes and develops women leaders by providing a unique educational opportunity for women of all levels within their careers to interact and exchanges ideas with thought leaders, industry experts and their peers.


POWER Advisory Board

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Deirdre Joy Smith


Deirdre Joy Smith Bio PicDeirdre Joy Smith is the founder, president and visionary behind POWER:Opening Doors for Women®. The seven year old organization brings together senior level and high-potential women for educational sessions and a discourse on leadership. Since its inception, the program has attracted more than 6,000 participants from across the nation and has garnered support from Fortune 500 companies and some of the country's premier law firms and civic organizations. Currently, the program holds events in four U.S. markets: Chicago, Detroit,Philadelphia and Atlanta. The program is on track to expand to additional cities nationally and abroa.

A leader in the community, Deirdre serves on a number of nonprofit boards and committees. In 2010, she was named as a Visionary Delegate for Vision 2020, a national project focused on advancing gender equality by energizing the dialogue about women and leadership. She recently was elected vice chair of the board of directors of Athena International and currently serves as vice-chair on the organization's executive committee. Deirdre was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the Illinois Small Business Development Corporation. Additionally, she is a member of the Chicago Foundation for Women's alumni council, having previously served on the organization's executive and board development committees.

Deirdre is regularly recognized for her efforts to advance women. In early 2010, she received the Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award, given to visionary leaders who are making a difference in the lives of women. She also has earned the "Women on the Rise" award from IIlinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and the Kimpton Hotel's "Women Making History" award. She has been featured in Who's Who in Black Chicago and Today's Chicago Woman magazine. She was featured in the April 2009 edition of the GirlFriends Health Guide for Women of Color, for which she also writes a column. Deirdre has appeared on Comcast Newsmakers,which airs on CNN, to discuss the POWER program. She and the POWER program also have been featured in Reuters, The Chicago Tribune and Today's Chicago Women. Additionally, she is regularly requested as a speaker and moderator for programs about women and leadership.

Prior to founding POWER, Deirdre was principal of DJS Consulting LLC, a political and nonprofit fundraising firm whose clients included the Chicago Humanities Festival, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, former New York Comptroller C. Carl McCall. DJS Consulting LLC Chicago clients included: Former Commisioner Forrest Claypool, Senator Kwame Raoul, and former state Representative Robin Kelly, to name a few. In 2000, she was the Midwest Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee and subsequently worked with the late Mayor Maynard Jackson at the Democratic Voting Institute. Also that year she was featured on the cover of N'Digo magazine as an "emerging fundraising powerhouse."

Deirdre received a bachelor of science from Purdue University, and has studied at the London School of Economics and Obirin University in Machida, Japan. In 2008, she graduated from the entrepreneurial program at Joseph Business School in Forest Park, Illinois. Subsequently the school has incorporated the POWER program into its marketing plan, featuring Deirdre in their broadcast and print material. She graduated in January 2011 from the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women, which offers leadership development programming for senior-level women.