Deborah Frett, chief executive officer of the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, will provide the keynote address at Park University’s Kansas City Area December Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14. The ceremony will be held at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut, in Independence, Mo., starting at 11 a.m.
Approximately 415 Park University students are eligible to graduate — more than 135 students will receive a master’s degree or graduate certificate, and more than 275 students will receive a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or undergraduate certificate.
Frett joined the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation as its CEO in May 2005. Under her leadership, the BPW Foundation conducted the first research on the challenges facing women veterans in their transition from military to civilian careers, and hosted the Joining Forces for Women Veterans Inaugural Summit in October 2010. In January 2012, the organization launched Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus. This program provides women veterans of all branches, eras, ranks and levels, military/veteran spouses and caregivers of wounded warriors with unlimited free online career development tools, resources and confidential guidance — including working women mentors — to help them identify and pursue civilian career paths.
Frett is an accomplished executive with more than 30 years’ experience providing strategic direction and executive management to associations, for-profit and start-up organizations. An advocate for women veterans, green job development and redefining the workplace to meet the needs of the 21st century, Frett has provided congressional testimony and served as an expert for key briefings on issues impacting working women, families and veterans.
Frett is a member of the Pfizer Small Business Advisory Council, the Army Women’s Foundation Planning Committee and the Inter Department Work Group on Women Veterans Employment. She is also a founding member of SCORE’s Women’s Mentoring Network Advisory Council and served on the planning committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans. In May, she was one of five women to receive the Honorary Woman Veteran Award from Women Veterans Interactive for her work in support of women veterans and their families. As a Clinton Global Initiative America Women and Girls’ Champion (2012 and 2013), Frett helped shape the small business working group discussions to reflect the needs of working women and their families.
Prior to joining the BPW Foundation, Frett served as executive director for an online start-up, SeniorNavigator, and was an entrepreneur serving as an independent consultant and chief executive officer for DFA Project Solutions. She provided senior level management and consultation on business strategy development, marketing, management and operations for various projects and initiatives, including women’s health issues. Frett began her career in association management at the American Hospital Association, and served as CEO of Healthcare InfoSource, chief operating officer of Health Forum and vice president of Special Membership Services.
Frett has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Quincy (Ill.) University. She has also earned advanced certification in nonprofit management from Virginia Commonwealth University.