50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021

20

DeeDee Kiesow

Age: 59

Internationally Recognized Fundraiser, Coach, Speaker, Benefit Auctioneer.

"Build your legacy each and every day. What do you want to have happen before your day comes? Now go make all those things happen. One day at a time, forward moving, saying thank you and smiling as much as possible."

DeeDee Kiesow

What is the best thing about being your age?

Unshakable self-confidence.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?

Foster Home, adopted at age 10; growing-up in a physically and emotionally abusive home with elderly alcoholics; first to finish 8th grade; punished for reading books and being curious; I was constantly told I was not to be seen or heard; My dad died in the living room of a heart attack when I was 13.

I decided that night I had to work, save money and get the best education I could. Immediately after his death, my mother showed greater signs of paranoid personality disorder and dementia. I became her primary caregiver until the age of 32.

This all came together as a divine strength through the work I do. I coach my clients through a scientific process I created to bring empathy, awareness, and generosity to their donor base. When I can finally take a microphone to welcome joyful gifts from the crowd, I find myself uniquely qualified having personally endured the pain (domestic abuse, Alzheimer’s, bullying, stroke, heart attack, foster care, first generation college graduate). I have been hired to alleviate through my life's work. I call it my "Calling" and sometimes..."The Cosmic Joke of Life." And yes, I am seen and heard!

What do I consider my greatest achievement?

Three brilliant children, 24, 21, and 19, who value education and serve their world with compassion – especially the underserved.

What is your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?

Walking away from a perfectly good job where I felt unappreciated to start a business out of thin air.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Dogs.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My need to be in constant forward motion.

What is your most treasured possession?

Memories of the times I experienced great joy and being reunited with my birth mom.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

Willingness to learn new things to stay relevant.

What do you most value in your friends?

Unconditional support as I change and evolve.

what is your greatest extravagance?

Travel.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Trust the process of life – the things they say are not true.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

If money can fix it, it isn't a crisis.

Words of wisdom for younger women

Imagine your eulogy. What are the amazing things people will say about the life you lived? What do you want to have happen before that day comes? Now go make all those things happen. One day at a time, forward moving, saying thank you, and smiling as much as possible. Build your legacy each and every day.

Additional Thoughts...

Growing up I never imagined I'd survive to be the age I am today. My body is changing in ways I didn't prepare for, but I keep thinking and loving more than ever before. Since I have no control over the future, I will be grateful for my mind and health and ability to create impact and mentorship to others. It hurts to see the growing pains of youth and I find myself barfing my life experience ever so carefully to my children "to make them my 59 year's wise." Perhaps I shall just tell the dogs and hope I do not annoy them too much.

DeeDee Kiesow
DeeDee Kiesow