Today we’d like to introduce you to Deidra Washington.
Hi Deidra, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I attend college in Tallahassee, FL at Florida State University. I was a nutrition/dietetics major. I fell in love with the notion that the foods we eat can either cause disease or prevent it. I learned so much in all of my classes about nutrients and how they affect the body, which I thought was so interesting. After college, I got a job with the department of health as a WIC nutrition educator.
From there, I counseled pregnant women breastfeeding women and help educate them about healthy ways to feed their families. I also became interested in closing the gap in disparities that affect communities and people of color. I am a co-founder of a nonprofit organization based out of Miami, Florida, called EatWell Exchange. We teach communities about Nutrition with a focus on their cultural foods. Along with learning about nutrition, I became very interested in the first nutrition that humans receive, which is breast milk. I became a CLC or certified lactation counselor. I saw the need for higher tier lactation support and just recently became an IBCLC our Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. My passion lies specifically in helping families of color to initiate and establish Breastfeeding for optimal health for themselves and their babies.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
With reaching my ultimate goal of becoming an IBCLC, I had to learn how to pivot and be OK with changing gears and having new goals. In college, I studied to become a dietitian, which is still one of my goals. I have met all of the requirements of becoming a dietitian except passing the RD exam. I found that I had to give myself permission to come back to achieving that goal and work towards something else that I love. I love helping moms breastfeed their babies and overcoming breastfeeding obstacles.
In the midst of preparing to become a registered dietitian, I had my first child. Being pregnant and breastfeeding an infant is very exhausting. So studying for my exam and taking the test and not passing (3 times) put a real damper on my career goals. When my first child was 15 months old, I became pregnant again, which took even more time away from studying and passing my exam. I used to beat myself up for not planning things out better, but I see the divine plan in all of the life experiences that have brought me to this point.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a nutritionist with the WIC program, I educate pregnantly, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and families about eating healthy. I help them set nutrition goals to focus on improving their overall health. I think the work that I do is very important because some people simply don’t understand in Nutrition and don’t know the right things to eat to keep themselves Healthy.
The work I do as a lactation consultant lies near and dear to my heart. This is the way that I feel like I can make the biggest impact on society. Teaching families about breastfeeding and the importance of human milk to protect their babies from disease and to set them up for overall health is my passion. I think people of color need special attention paid to them by a person of color that is an expert in the profession. I take my job as a Lactation Consultant very seriously because I do have the power to change the world! I am most known for my infectious personality. My friends and family would tell you when I walk into a room, the vibe lifts. I have a special and unique way to connect with people, and my Spirit draws people towards me. People trust me. I am most proud of supporting women to see the potential that they have in themselves. Through teaching and helping them breastfeed their baby and see the power that it has for their child’s health, can boost confidence and empower an entire family.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
For me, success is being in complete control of how I want to spend my time. Reaching self-actualization, finding your life’s purpose and doing that every day. I also see success as living with abundance, having more than enough resources to experience this life as one sees fit. For me, it is the ability to travel the world and be fully present at the moment with my friends and family.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @ibclc_dezzzbe
- Facebook: @DeidraWashington
Marquita McCallister Courtney Jasmin