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Deana Gamble is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.
Deana Gamble is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.

2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Deana Gamble

Deana Gamble, Assistant Vice President of Communications at Jefferson Health, will be honored during the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty on Aug. 26.

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The third annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event serves to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region. 

At this year's event, taking place Friday, Aug. 26, Deana Gamble will be one of the 40 honorees. 

Biography

Deana Gamble is a seasoned communications executive with nearly two decades of experience in public sector leadership. In her current role as Assistant Vice President of Communications for Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University  – the second largest employer in the region – Gamble leads internal communications and national media strategy for the health system comprised of 42,000 employees, 18 hospitals and over 50 outpatient and urgent care locations throughout Greater Philadelphia.

Prior to joining Jefferson, she previously served as Communications Director for the City of Philadelphia from 2018 to 2021, where she oversaw strategic and crisis communications for Mayor Jim Kenney and more than 50 city offices, departments and agencies. She worked for the City for nearly eight years in various positions, including Chief of Staff and Communications Director for the Mayor's Office of Education. Throughout her tenure, Gamble was integral in launching Mayor Kenney's priority education initiatives, establishing the local Board of Education for the School District of Philadelphia, and creating the Octavius Catto Scholarship, which makes college for first-time student at the Community College of Philadelphia tuition-free. 

Gamble and her twin sister were the first in their family to graduate from college. She earned a Master of Science degree from University of Pennsylvania in Nonprofit Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University in Strategic Communications. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University. 

Among Gamble's greatest passions are improving health outcomes and expanding quality education for all Philadelphians.   

As part of the lead-up to the AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees a set of identical questions and collected their responses. 

Here are Deana Gamble's responses: 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career? 

I'd have to say leading communications for City government during the pandemic (especially at the onset) was my biggest professional challenge so far. The need to communicate rapidly changing public health information to Philadelphia's diverse communities, including non-English speakers, when there was so much misinformation to dispel was difficult. We also couldn't just rely on traditional media and social media because those without internet access or digital literacy would be left out. At the same time, it wasn't safe to do face-to-face engagement so we had to get creative and forge a lot of partnerships to spread the word. To say my team and I learned a lot and grew so much would be an understatement. Our processes and systems for language access greatly improved, too, which will benefit the City for years to come.

What are steps that can be taken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your industry? Why is it important to do so?

In my experience, the communications field has a long way to go to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in both hiring and HR practices, as well as in storytelling and marketing. It's important to do so because diversity of thought, experience, and perspectives only enhance our work. The field is highly represented by white women, yet we communicate with external audiences of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. We need to work harder to recruit, retain, and develop diverse talent that reflects the communities we serve. We also need regular trainings on anti-racism, anti-bias, and allyship. Finally, we need to conduct regular audits of all content produced to ensure it's accessible, inclusive, and representative of diverse populations. For example, sources for stories and images should reflect people with different backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Web content should use ALT-text to make sure visually impaired users can access it. Public materials should be translated to top languages spoken in our market. 

What does being a leader mean to you? 

To me, being a leader means setting a vision that inspires, helping a team achieve progressive goals, and strengthening the leadership abilities of others. I think leadership most often lies in the "act" not necessarily the "actor," and everyone is capable of taking acts of leadership everyday -- at our jobs, in our households, and within our communities. People just have to feel empowered and supported to do so.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

God willing, I see myself growing professionally in healthcare and higher education here in Philly. Both of these industries were deeply impacted by the pandemic and are evolving, so it's an exciting time to be a part of the change. 

The 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will take place Friday, Aug. 26 at The Vie at Cescaphe. To learn more or purchase your ticket, click here

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