Meet Denita Washington.
Denita Washington is a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana and has always had a love for her community. A 1990 graduate of R. Nelson Snider High School, Denita attended Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne where she earned a Bachelor of General Studies with a Minor in Organizational Leadership and Supervision. In 2015, she earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.
As a community leader and educational advocate, Denita served in the Fort Wayne Community Schools system for over 15 years and eventually East Allen County Schools where she worked as a Family Group Specialist. While working in both school districts, she led influential after- school programs focused on drug/alcohol awareness, prevention, and promotion of high self- value. Her focus on youth development and advancement eventually landed her a role in higher education as an Academic Specialist for Indiana Tech as well as opportunities to serve as an international speaker, radio host, and consultant.
Denita is also the Visionary and Founder of Fort Wayne Girlz Rock, Inc. (FWGR). FWGR is a dynamic not-for-profit organization that focuses on the development, empowerment, and positive exposure for young girls grades 6-12. Since 2012, FWGR has served over 2,000 girls and women in the northeast Indiana region through conferences, workshops, seminars, and an annual summer camp. Denita is a transparent leader and mentor that uses her platform to heal and show young girls how to overcome life obstacles as well as break barriers and not to be limited by the thoughts or actions of others.
In 2018, Denita made history by becoming the first African-American, as well as woman elected to serve as the Adams Township Trustee. In this full-time position, Denita serves the constituents of Adams Township by providing much needed support services including but not limited to, oversight of the fire department, emergency services, and poor relief (rental assistance, food vouchers, medical, and burial aid). She works within Adams Township government to ensure that all living there have a voice, representation, and a seat at the table. Yet, when all is said and done, her greatest accomplishment is her family. Denita is the proud mother of two sons, Anthony and Quinten, and two granddaughters, Harmony and Naomi.
YWCA Asks: What do the words "empowering woman" mean to you?
Denita: It means a woman who can equip, encourage, and elevate other women to see and own their Godly purpose, all while sometimes not having their own path totally figured out. The way an empowering woman draws strength and resilience for her own life journey is to make another woman’s path easier.
YWCA Asks: In what ways do you empower other women?
Denita: I try to empower women by leading with love with all that I encounter. I also work to listen and learn first before speaking. Most woman who are broken or struggle really want to be heard and valued. So, I’m big on inviting all to the table of success, ensuring everyone is seen and accepted right where they are. I have learned in this journey that the highest human act is to inspire. That’s the legacy I desire to leave in every woman I encounter.
YWCA Asks: Would you please share an experience or tidbit of knowledge that would help other women? This could be a lesson learned, or motivational story, or information that you would like to share to help educate others.
Denita: The greatest gift a woman can offer the world is to know her God given purpose, and have the confidence to walk in it. At every level of success there has been someone who didn’t like me or understand my vision. One thing I have learned as a leader is to trust that I do belong in the room. And, if not invited to the table, I’ll make my own table and invite others like me to be empowered, equipped, and encouraged. The reason why a lot of people won’t become who God wants them to be is because they are too attached to who they have always been. So I encourage young women to drive their vision forward, and to only look in the rear view mirror to bring another women along with them.