Photo caption: Deanna M. Laster, president & CEO of DeannaMichel Inc.
A driven passion for innovation and technology has branded Deanna M. Laster as a sought-after consultant and leader in digital transformation initiatives for Fortune 500 companies for over 15 years.
A graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in computer information systems and an Executive MBA from Howard University, the Houston native and former day spa owner always imagined that she would one day use her innate problem-solving and technical acumen to partner with corporations.
“I wasn’t sure when I was declaring my undergraduate degree in computer information systems at the age of 19, how much I would develop a love for technology consulting,” shared Laster of her early journey. “Looking back over the years in progressing my expertise to digital transformation leadership for corporations, I am most grateful for opportunities to serve as a trusted advisor to senior executives.”
At the onset of her career, Laster started as a programmer then transitioned to project management in a diverse sector of industries. After traveling extensively and working tireless hours, Laster experienced burnout and decided to infuse variety into her life by giving back as an adjunct professor teaching computer science courses at a local community college.
Inspired by one of her student’s assignments, infusing the concept of technology with fashion, impressed Laster and contributed to her enrollment and completion of an associate’s degree in fashion design.
A combination of her creative interests and expertise in technology led to the launch of DeannaMichel allowing Laster to apply her well-rounded skills, blending the best of two worlds.
Applying her own consulting expertise to DeannaMichel, Laster has created diverse brand segments. The company is composed of DeannaMichel, Inc., a niche provider of project management and technology consulting services. The innovative brand also consists of DeannaMichel Boutique, a women’s apparel line that believes in sustainable fashion by creating digitally custom garments designed for the fashion-forward client who places a premium on uniqueness, confidence and class through style. A third segment of the company, The Be Factor, offers personal brand consulting and digital resources on “where to be,” “how to be,” and “what to be” for any occasion by shopping ready-to-wear styles and accessories from a variety of brands that complement clients’ lifestyles. The success of Laster’s company has enabled her to give back through SistersNBloom, a nonprofit arm of her brand designed to inspire confidence and build leaders by providing scholarships and resources to women and girls.
“Overall, we have program management expertise, we understand technology platforms and deliver best practices, but we are also very strong in reverse engineering existing business processes to map how technology can efficiently support strategic objectives,” said Laster.
The Houston business owner attributes her reputation as a leader in the technology industry to doing great work, being transparent, and exemplifying expertise within her niche while outsourcing or collaborating in other areas when needed.
One of her personal goals for the future is to support tech schools for girls in various parts of Africa, starting with sponsoring a tech lab for a grade school in Uganda.
“The world is so global right now that all it takes is digital connectivity, an open mind, and we can work as one,” said Laster.
Always inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “Be the Change You Want to See in the World,” Laster aims to hold true to this principle in both her personal and professional endeavors.
Houston woman merges passion for technology consulting and fashion into innovative company