Up to the Challenge
Work Ethic, and Business Acumen Drive Path to Leadership
From corporate boardrooms to the legislative general assembly floor, Deanna Hamilton has had plenty of opportunities to display her skills as a transformational leader and change agent. She’s earned honors such as being named one of Diversity Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 Corporate Executives, and recognition as one of the Atlanta Business Journal’s Top 25 Influential Women in Atlanta.
Hamilton, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master of Science in management from Walsh, has a new challenge as executive director of the bipartisan Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. The largest such caucus in the country, it represents the interest of legislators and African Americans across the state.
“I didn’t even see this coming,” she says. “They were looking for someone with a business background at the executive level to come in and build a solid infrastructure and business model around their legislative priorities that they could monetize.”
The professional world can be a tough proving ground, and Hamilton has been able to pass every test in a variety of settings in both Michigan and Georgia, including for the Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. She also formed her own company, Circle One Inc., a consumer product marketing and multi-format printing firm.
Along the way, Hamilton started building relationships in Georgia and beyond, including taking a leadership role in fundraising and business development for the National Black MBA Association.
“That’s when I started dipping my toe into the political landscape and supporting candidates on the local and state levels,” she says. “I began sitting on boards that were relevant to my business and had conversations around economic development and its impact. I also recognized that government and policy drive everything that we do, including business.
“The lessons I learned at Walsh have served me well,” she adds, noting that she benefited from Walsh’s size, which she says fosters a more personalized approach to learning. This allowed me to be more disciplined and focused on my course of study without the distractions,” she says.
When asked how Walsh could continue to gain industry reputation inside and outside of Michigan, Hamilton responded that focusing on marketing basics and building the institution’s brand equity would serve Walsh well.
“I would talk through the question of how we keep the priority of Education in the state of Michigan,” she says. “How do we thrust Walsh into the national spotlight? How do we recruit more minority students to attend Walsh? And how can we expand our lens outside Michigan where Walsh becomes attractive to others outside of the state?”
As Hamilton’s experience has led to critical success for other institutions and organizations, Walsh is excited to have an accomplished, savvy professional like Deanna Hamilton to help them along their way.