Deedra Walker Penny brings a diverse background as the Executive Director of the Essence of Fitness Charities, Inc. She began her career as an accountant and financial analyst for various prestigious firms including PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina, Bank of America & Sabre Decision Technologies. Her passion for helping and serving led her to become a Financial Planner – first with Prudential Financial and currently as an independent representative. She has also owned and operated her family’s portfolio of businesses including a Smoothie Factory franchise where she consulted customers on Sports Nutrition and Natural Products and investment real estate holdings.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Penny has always maintained an active lifestyle. She has over 40 years of dance experience; exercise and fitness for over 30 years, including being the founder of the VUU Aerobics club and strength training since 1988; and numerous 5k runs. She began a bodybuilding hobby as a Figure Competitor in 2007, in response to a then undiagnosed hypothyroid condition. She has been a member of NPC – National Physique Committee since 2007 and certified in CPR and as a Food Service Handler.
Deedra has served on various boards and committees, as well. She held a six-year commission on the finance committee of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas where she had direct policy and disbursement responsibility for a $3,000,000 annual budget both as Chairperson and Treasurer. She is on the Board of Directors of the Hall-Martin Legacy Foundation, which gives scholarships to deserving students in the Chicago area. She currently serves as a trustee and assistant leader of the Sports and Wellness Community at Johnson Chapel Community Church. She also enjoys supporting community endeavors as a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Deedra earned a B.S. in Accounting from Virginia Union University and as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow, received an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. Mrs. Penny is the mother of three and married to James Penny of Red Oak, Texas.