After an extensive nationwide search, the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee is thrilled to announce the hiring of one of East Tennessee’s very own, Kirby Deal. Not only does Kirby come to us with incredible credentials and experience within the nonprofit sector, but also she comes from within the Strong Women Strong Futures network launched by WFET in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge about our alliance of like-minded partners serving the low-income women and girls of East Tennessee. Kirby states, “Although I was not seeking change in my life, who would have thought that an opportunity for advancement and growth, utilizing my specialized skills, would be available right next door for me? I could not be happier to join the Women’s Fund as their new Executive Director, and look forward to learning and growing with them, as well as working hard to implement new strategies that will secure their place as a difference-maker long into the future.”
Kirby is an East Tennessee girl herself, having grown up in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee. She graduated Cum Laude from Tennessee Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and double minors in Business Administration and Spanish. Over the span of her professional career to-date, she has received multiple accolades, including the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness Certificate in 2021, the YWCA Tribute to Women 2021 Emerging Leader Honoree, and the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce 2022 Young Professional of the Year Finalist, to name just a few.
Kirby comes to us from Girls Inc. of Tennessee Valley, where she served as Executive Director from 2020 – 2022, and previously as their Director of Development from 2016 – 2020. Prior to her time at Girls Inc., she served as Student Activities Coordinator at Tennessee Wesleyan for a number of years, as well as overseeing Community Engagement. In these roles, Kirby sharpened her skills as a performance-driven communications strategist, fundraiser and program developer, with additional development in drafting grant proposals, event coordination and implementation, social media and marketing, and solicitation and retention of large donor bases. As Chairwoman of the WFET Search Committee, and the former Board President, Robin Gibson shares, “We couldn’t be more excited to have landed such a talent as we have in Kirby. She has hit the ground running and will excel, I am certain, with all that we have challenged her to accomplish. Not only does she bring a wealth of experience and relationships from within the East Tennessee non-profit arena, but she also has already offered a number of fresh ideas and resources to help us accomplish some rather lofty goals set for our future.”
Kirby joins the Women’s Fund staff this month. In preparation for her start, she adds, “We are at a point in history where many women have rights and opportunities that they have never had before; however, there are extreme disparities in these opportunities – including racial bias, lack of representation, and lack of affordable housing and childcare, among others. With our mission and path clearly outlined, organizations like the Women’s Fund can be a part of a great advancement in history. I am very much looking forward to working with them towards these goals.” Well said, Kirby … Let’s get to it!