Office Hours: I’m Deena Pierott. I’m the founder of iUrban Teen, an award-winning and nationally recognized STEM+Arts program for historically excluded teens. AMA!Featured

Hello Elphas!

I’m Deena Pierott. I’m a diversity and equity strategist with Mosaic Metier, international keynote speaker and the founder of iUrban Teen, an award-winning and nationally recognized program focused on bringing STEM+C+A education to historically excluded youth ages 13 to 18.

I’m also a founding member of Black Women in STEM 2.0, an organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and inspiring Black Women in STEM careers, as well as advocating for equitable and inclusive workplace environments that nurture diverse talent.

I kicked off my career in the private and public sector working for a variety of companies including Exxon, City of Portland, City of Seattle and business partners such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Nike, Intel, and LAM Research. It was while working at the City of Portland that created a spark for Diversity and Equity work that has led me to where I am now in this space. I center diversity and equity into everything I do.

Over the years, I’ve created cutting-edge DEI programs and served on several boards and commissions including a Gubernatorial appointment to the Commission on African American Affairs in the State of Washington.

I’ve been blessed to be named White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion in 2013 by President Barack Obama, and being featured on multiple publications including Forbes, Inc., Essence Magazine (three times), Black Enterprise magazine, Ebony Magazine's Power 100 list, Deliver magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and on NPR.

I’m passionate about creating programs that are human-centered, creative, build community and empower individuals to be their best selves.

Ask me anything about designing DEI programs, community advocacy, being a social impact entrepreneur, public speaker, a working mom, finding your passion, starting a business after 50 and anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @deenapierott!Elphas – please ask @deenapierott your questions before Friday, February 11th. @deenapierott may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Thanks for having me today.
Hi @deenapierott! I run a STEM education company as well - WhyMaker. I’d love to hear more about what you believe benefits children in STEM? What makes STEM programs successful? How do you think we as a country are doing with STEM education movement? Where do you see the movement going?
Hello @deenapierott! Thank you for hosting office hours. In what ways has publishing in multiple publications impacted your perspective of thought leadership? Also, when creating programs especially what is your first consideration when scaling the impact nationally? Lastly, in what ways can we close the gap in bringing technical skills to middle and high school students? Kind regards,Joy-Nicole Smith
@joynicolesmith Thank you for your question(s). I'll start with thought leadership, the publications really didn't impact my thought leadership path, I was already a thought leader years before I was on anyone's radar. I've always been considered a positive deviant, meaning I can look at processes and redesign them for better impacts. I've always been one to cause "good trouble" a disruptor for good. I believe in human-centered thought leadership. Scaling programs to a national level; that's easy for me because I've always viewed things on a more global level and knew what could benefit students in Portland could also benefit students in Harlem. So I look at the impact, benefits for students, location, and community. Closing the gap; all of us can be a part of closing the gap, it's being intentional, bringing whole families into the process, showing students where these careers can take them, and lastly, being culturally centered and meeting them where they're at.
Hi Deena, thanks for sharing and hosting office hours! Coming from a STEM background, I also love the arts - I find the creativity of arts a great outlet to get my mind off numbers & models for a while. I love the idea of combining arts and STEM in education. I'm curious as to how did you come up with the idea? What does this unique element of creativity do you think can bring to STEM education and DEI programs?
@yihuang Hello there and I’ve always known the power of the arts and creativity. So all of our programs at iUrban Teen has a creative element, creative brainstorming for students and having them come up with creative solutions. And it’s the same for my DEI work, I look at creative and outside-of-the-box solutions that are in a collaborative teambuilding process.
Hi Deena, thanks so much for doing Office Hours.How did you establish yourself as a public speaker? It's something I am keen to look at adding to my repertoire, but I don't really know how to get started.
@madisonpollardshore Hi there Madison, I was an accidental public speaker. After all of the awards and magazine articles there were folks reaching out for me to be panels or to keynote. I was terrified but did it anyway. I started honing my presentations and after time I became more comfortable speaking in front of audiences. So I would suggest to you to start small, look at local Chamber of Commerce events and ask if you can become one of their speakers, speak to small groups with the Rotary clubs and make sure to start creating a speakers portfolio too.
What tips can you give about selling in the K-12 education landscape? Seems like educators are way too busy to even get on the phone or to answer emails these days with all of the challenges COVID-19 has created. How would you suggest a small EdTech startup make headway for improving learning loss?
@Careeragility2020 Well, the first things that I would do is start building a relationship with the various school districts and with the State’s education department. Make sure you are clearly showing the impacts your program could have for the students and how it can help implement what those teachers are currently doing as well. It’s always a challenge getting your foot in the door, however, slow and steady wins the race.
Thank you very much. Educators are stretching themselves so thin that no one has bandwidth. Great tip. I’m learning how to be patient.