For our fourth Women in Leadership spotlight, we are focusing on Deneke Bakalar, Regional Director of Strategic Solutions. Deneke came to Favorite about three years ago where she started as the Branch Director of the St. Louis office. In her role as Branch Director, she quickly learned the ropes of healthcare staffing which helped her tremendously in the long run. Over time, Deneke worked with her team to paint a vision for success and in doing so they were able to help train and mentor others. Leading a team, setting goals, developing recruiters and celebrating wins is what Deneke says she loves most about her job.
We asked Deneke some questions about Women’s History Month. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell us about a woman, or women, who inspires you to be the leader you are today.
“I’ve been surrounded by very strong, servant-hearted women in my family. Both of my grandmothers served in the church on numerous committees and my maternal grandmother was also an entrepreneur and owned a retail store with my grandpa. My mom was also very active in our church and was the Sunday School Superintendent for more years than I can count.
My sisters and aunts all volunteer in different capacities—training service dogs, buying and wrapping toys for orphans during the holidays, volunteering in our neighborhoods, assisting with youth sports, you name it! I have been surrounded by people who help and serve others my whole life, and that is the example I want to set for my children.”
How do you set an example for the next generation of women leaders?
“By taking time to help other women develop, cultivating the right attitude, and leading by example. Women make up more than half of the population, but despite that large presence we only make up 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. Women have to help each other get to that next level and develop one another.”
What do you want to shine a light on this Women’s History Month and why?
“This Women’s History Month I want to shine a light on providing healing and promoting hope for the ceaseless work of the caregivers and frontline workers during the ongoing pandemic. I also want to recognize the thousands of ways women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”
What advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?
“Don’t let your fears stop you from doing things that excite or interest you. Travel, explore and don’t worry that you haven’t achieved all the goals you said you would achieve by 25. Focus on your future, but don’t forget to live in the present. Also, invest in yourself! Habits last a lifetime so start saving while you are young, and you will thank yourself later!”
What advice would you give to aspiring female leaders?
“Learn to be resilient and adaptable. You will have to learn how to overcome adversity and regulate your emotions, it’s just part of it! Find mentors and coaches to help guide you on your journey because no one climbed to the top alone. Never compare yourself to others as it will kill your creativity. Step up, take a seat at the table, raise your hand, and take risks! Be of service to others and be involved in your community because it’s a great way to network and give back.”
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
“Being a mother, hands down. I knew from when I was a little girl that I wanted to be a mom. My children are my number one joy in lifeand watching them grow up over the last 10+ years has been so amazing. They are such a blessing.”
What motto do you live by?
“Well, there are three that I love and really try to live by. First, ‘Be kind because you never know the battles that others are fighting.’ This is truer than we know. You think you are having a hard day and then you hear of your neighbor who just lost their mother. Your bad day becomes minuscule to their tragic heartbreak.
Second, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ What if we could do that and make a bigger, better impact every single day? Just be a nice, good human being.
Third, ‘Live each day as if it were your last.’ I don’t do this one well enough, but I’d like to get better at it! Let the little stuff go and just enjoy every breath of every single day because you just don’t know when it will be your last.”
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
“Women can be so hard on themselves. Remember progress not perfection! Keep pushing yourself because life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Grab your seat at the table because you DESERVE to be there too!”
Previous 2022 Women in Leadership Spotlights
Week 1: Alexis Guzman, Branch Director of New York City
Week 2: Megan Barnes, Vice President of People and Culture
Week 3: Christyna Belgrave, Director of Allied Health Services