Deborah Sawyer cannot be defined by one action, one title or one moment. Deborah Sawyer was a mentor, a true example of servant leadership, and a friend to many women and minority business owners. We are deeply saddened to share the news of her recent passing after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
We have lost a dear friend of the Women’s Business Development Center and take comfort in the fact that Deborah’s impact will be felt long after her life ended. She built a legacy in her business, Environmental Design International (EDI), and in those she guided along their business journeys. For all who had the privilege of knowing her or even the privilege of meeting her just once, you know that there was a fire in her eyes and a spark in her smile that stuck in your mind.
Deborah supported women and minority businesses, not only with her mentoring and guidance, but also through her contributions and service to organizations and initiatives that fueled diversity in the economic landscape, like the Women’s Business Development Center, the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Supplier Diversity Task Force.
Deborah was strong. She was kind. And she helped shape history through her convictions and tenacity for parity in the marketplace for women and minorities. We are all charged to carry on her legacy through our actions to move the landscape for women and minority business ownership forward.