COLUMBIA — When she was growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Anne Deaton organized all the kids on her street into a summer school that charged 10 cents a day. She named herself principal, and her friends were the teachers. Even then, Deaton knew she wanted to be a teacher.
Education, public policy and service have been at the forefront of Deaton's career, as she explained Thursday evening in a conversation at Stephens College for "True Confessions of a High-Heeled Leader." The event was put on by the Graduate and Continuing Studies program at Stephens, which features successful professional female leaders in the community.
Deaton, wife of MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, taught at MU and worked in state government before becoming MU's first lady. She holds adjunct faculty positions in the Sinclair School of Nursing, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the College of Education.
"I think one of the toughest things for women is to be honest with themselves," she said. "Each individual really has to search for her own heart."
Deaton's own heart has led her to volunteerism. She has volunteered at a number of local community service organizations, including 4-H and Rotary Club of Columbia. She also serves on the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Studies Advisory Board and the American Association of University Women.
Stephens College President Dianne Lynch said Deaton's spirit "permeates the community."
Past speakers at "True Confessions" have included Lynda Baumgartner, owner of Image Technologies of Missouri, former Stephens College president Wendy Libby, former Columbia Public Schools superintendent Dr. Phyllis Chase and Commerce Bank president Teresa Maledy.
“I love coming to hear about professional women,” Jefferson Junior High ninth-grader Maria Kalaitzandonakes said. “Teenagers should come and see these things.”