DeeAnn Richardson

What business/company do you own or work for and what is your job title.
My day job is with SAFE Harbor, I’m the Executive Director, a nonprofit that provides shelter, legal services, safety and support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking on the Flathead Indian Reservation. My evenings and weekends are spent in my wood shop refurbishing old furniture with my husband. We usually participate in a couple outdoor markets every summer selling our creations under the name of Saturday Morning Treasures. We also have a studio apartment in our home that we rent during the summer, Apple Blossom VRBO.

How can women help each other in business?
Don’t be afraid to compliment success, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, try and learn from those before you in the process of building your business. Be open to advice and don’t let your pride get in the way of making mistakes, learning as you go and help others do the same. Understand that everyone you meet has their own struggles so try not to judge. Be supportive and surround yourself with competent, healthy, positive people. It makes going to work every day that much more worth it!

What are you passionate about?
Family, creative expression, traveling with my husband. I think I could live anywhere as long as my family was there to share in the journey.

When it comes to crafting I have more “passion” than sense or space for that matter. I get so energized when I’m creating I forget about the time, cost, space requirements for all the materials, you name it! I’m all in and ready to go for hours on end. I’ve never been one of those “clean as you go” types so the aftermath of my creative expression is sometimes more than my husband bargained for. I tend to go from decorative tole painting to jewelry making, to furniture refurbishing to card making all depending on how I’m feeling on that particular day. I always have such a sense of accomplishment after I’ve finished a project so it really fills my cup on a regular basis.

As for travel, my husband Bret and I love a road trip together as much as we do a major destination. Some of our best conversations happen on those long stretches of highway. We live in such a beautiful place I’m in awe of how abundant the postcard picture perfect views are everywhere we go. It’s on our bucket list to drive to the east coast, stopping at antique shops, yard sales and thrift stores all along the way just to see what we can find to bring home and transform into something new again.

How do you “live your values?”
By always trying to put myself in the other persons shoes. I’m one of those over analyzers, I want my family and the people who I come in contact with to know how much I care about them. I am true to my word, respectful and compassionate in my day to day life. Losing my mom in a car accident when I was 28 let me know how quickly life can change, so my awareness of the moment and making life’s memories count is heightened.

What can’t you stop talking about?
My grand kids!!! Wowza! How they all turned out so perfect, cute, smart and talented is amazing! (Not really, they have great parents, and I might be biased) Each one of them can make my day in two seconds flat! I love watching their sports, hearing their stories about school and friends and can’t stop smiling over the sweet smiles or one liners as they learn to talk and express themselves. They range from 9 years old to 3 months old, seven of them all together and they give me lots to brag about!

What would be impossible for you to give up?
My hobbies, I think I’m always going to be one of those people who has piles of craft supplies, a.k.a. Clutter, junk, etc.… just waiting for some cool project to use them on!

How do you want to be remembered?
As the older sister who was there for her family in times of good or bad, as the mom who loved her children unconditionally, as the grandma who loved and gave of her time to be a part of her grand kids lives, as the wife who encouraged, loved and supported her husband, as the friend who shared many laughs, tears and made great memories and to the community, a person who gave freely of her time, encouragement and talents to be a part of the greater good whenever possible.

What inspires you in your business?
All the people willing to help to make a difference in this community. This is not limited to staff, although I do work with an amazing group of talented, competent and intelligent individuals! The volunteers, people who donate time, resources and expertise all so others don’t have to suffer any more than they already have. On those days when I’m thinking there is so much sadness in the world, where does it end, someone walks through the door or calls on the phone and has a donation to give or would like to be more involved in helping. Prayers answered. Moment of thanks. Ready for the next challenge.

Name a time that you felt you were incredibly brave?
For me getting up in front of a public room full of people to speak has always caused inner turmoil. To this day, regardless of the management positions I’ve held, it is still something I have to pep talk myself through. Life has tossed me my share of hardships and some may expect those to be times where bravery came into play. For me the challenge is more about vulnerability when all eyes are on you, expectations and the worry of letting others down. Let’s just say I have no plans to join Toastmasters anytime soon!

How do you accomplish goals?
Keeping the end in mind, LISTS! And prioritizing often. It’s rare that my desk ever has less than 5 sticky notes plastered in key places for me to keep my time focused on my goals for the week, month or quarter.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give the child version of yourself?
Wow, I’ve always loved the Dr. Seuss quote that says: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you ever imagined. I hope every child hears these kind of encouraging words daily.

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DeeAnn Richardson

Business website: 
safeharbormt.org