In the writing of “Navigating Life’s Roadways” Deborah L. Parker, born and raised on Route 606 in Waverly, invites you to share the stories of her motivational memoir filled with “Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey”. Published in July 2011, the triumphs and setbacks of faith, career, family, health, and relationships are creatively presented in her book’s narratives as she reveals the many twisting paths and roads of her personal voyage from Sussex County to points beyond.
Deborah is the daughter of the late Mary Parker Brown, a strong and determined woman whom who she credits as her major life influence, who with commitment juggled the demands as a single parent of four children. They all resided on Beaver Dam Road with the extended family of her late wise grandparents, Joseph E. and Pearl C. Parker. She is also the oldest niece of the late Honorable and CSM (Ret) Harris L. Parker, whom she referred to as a wonderful blend of the humor and wisdom of her late grandparents.
Putting that determination and wisdom on display, Deborah takes readers from her single parent family, civil rights era upbringing and weaves together her road map of pursuits as an army officer, corporate manager and entrepreneur while bringing in her personal downfalls along the way. With a metaphorical poignancy that provides a moving message, Deborah shows us an appreciation for how our own bumpy roads often lead to unexpected yet richly rewarding destinations. And it all began in the humbleness and history of her rural upbringing.
Growing up in Waverly during the 1950’s through 1970’s presented challenges and comforts for Deborah. Pre-civil rights era realities around racial access to economic and education issues loomed as potential barriers to her success. She notes seeing an outdoor bathroom at a gas station down the street from her childhood home with a “whites only” sign. Her own family’s house had no indoor plumbing or heating, instead as Deborah states in her book, “we used the elements of wood and water in their rawest state to sustain our necessities.” But she drew comfort from the support of her extended family, church and school communities. The value of “home training” on discipline, gratitude and manners enforced by her family provided her with key common sense outlooks. Even playing in the woods adjacent to her home (and getting lost at times) provided insights that Deborah draws on in the stories in her book. Faith for better days pushed her forward. She was an active member of Liberty Baptist Church in her youth and still makes periodic visits to this foundational piece of her life. Starting her formal education at Annie B. Jackson Elementary school, Deborah witnessed the turbulent school integration years, attending Waverly High in a transition year before graduating from Sussex Central High in 1973. Using the gifts of this blended learning environment, Deborah went on to attend the College of William and Mary and receive a B.A. in Sociology in 1977.
All of these experiences were very instructional for Deborah. “Life’s roads, paths or journeys are often paved with the travails and triumphs of a barrage of daily evolving circumstances, she reminds us. Sometimes we don’t know the directions or map to our true north. Is there an IPS (Internal Positioning System) to guide us?” she asks. As Deborah reflects back on the defining moments of her life, of which the loss of her mother and a cancer battle rank high, she spiritually and succinctly finds lessons and a guided hand that supported her adventures all along. In that same sense of timing, Deborah views her mother as a “spiritual co-author” since she crafted this book while grieving her passing in 2010, also seeing this publishing accomplishment as a gift from God.
Deborah now owns of The DPJ Training Group, a motivational speaking, leadership and personal development firm specializing in seminars on career, diversity, management and communications topics. She has authored articles on life strategies, business and community issues for publications such as the Alexandria Old Town Crier, Washington Afro-American Newspaper, Metro Herald and Arizona’s Black Executive Magazine.
In addition to her William and Mary degree, Deborah holds a M.A. in Human Resource Development from George Mason University. She is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve and graduated Command and General Staff College. Her professional career also spans corporate stints in operations and learning management for companies such as Philip Morris, ExxonMobil and Booz Allen Hamilton. Deborah currently resides in Leesburg Virginia where she is involved in the Loudoun County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Chamber of Commerce, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, and the Metro Washington DC Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.
Continuing to tally the many lessons from her earlier years in Waverly, education, travel and family, Deborah plans to write more books in the future to include one about the influence of her late Uncle Harris.