Smith is the founder, president and visionary behind POWER: Opening Doors for Women®. POWER
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 five major U.S. cities with plans to expand to additional markets nationally and abroad.
Smith serves on a number of nonprofit boards and committees. Most recently, she was named as an Visionary Delegate for Vision 2020 and was selected as participant in the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women. 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. Additionally, she serves on the alumni council of the Chicago Foundation for Women and early 2010, received the organization's Impact Award. She also has earned the “Women on the Rise” award from the IIlinois State Treasurer and the Kimpton Hotel’s “Women Making History” award. She and the POWER program have been featured in Who's Who in Black Chicago, Today's Chicago Woman magazine, Reuters and The Chicago Tribune. She is a regular columnist for GirlFriends Health Guide for Women of Color and was the cover feature in its April 2009 edition. Deirdre has appeared on Comcast Newsmakers to discuss the POWER program, and she is regularly requested as a speaker and moderator for programs about women and leadership.
Smith 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, Ill. Prior to founding POWER, she was principal of DJS Consulting LLC, a political and nonprofit fundraising firm whose clients included Gov. Edward G. Rendell and former New York Comptroller C. Carl McCall, among others.