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Deidre Olivera

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As one of the first women in the heavy duty cement and concrete trades, Deidre Olivera is a pioneer. Today, she is a current member of union Local 731, editor-in-chief of a community newspaper, a community activist, a business consultant, and a fighter for equality.

Olivera’s activism runs deep. She supports green space efforts, has served as an elected board member of the 73rd Precinct Clergy Council, organized anti-violence initiatives, ran voter registration drives, was a parent-teacher association president, and served on the women’s, economic development, public safety, legislative, parks and recreation and youth committees of Brooklyn Community Board 16.

The Brooklyn native earned her bachelor’s degree at the College of New Rochelle, and right after college was hired to work at a borough housing facility, where she fought for housing equality and affordability, issues affecting thousands of families in New York.

As a volunteer, she also helped found the Canarsie Recovery Center after Superstorm Sandy devastated Canarsie, the Rockaways, and Coney Island, providing advocacy; securing hot meals; running a food pantry, recreational and spiritual programming, and various enrichment programs for seniors.

She also educates the Brownsville community about life, health, employment, and other opportunities through the Brownsville Collective Community Newspaper, which she founded.

Being a single mother, she decided to “be the support” she wanted in the New York public school system. Olivera served as president of the parent association and representative for PS 156 Waverly School of Arts and PTA co-chair vice president for Millennium Brooklyn High School, with the purpose of making sure that all students received a high-quality education.

“Deidre Olivera is a trailblazer and a phenomenal woman. She works tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate. Her efforts in fighting for more opportunities in the nontraditional field of construction for women have gained traction. The work that she has done to acquire goods and services for children and the elderly in the Brownsville community have been a source of inspiration and encouragement to many,” says friend and past Woman of Distinction the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Butler.

This Woman of Distinction credits her spiritual beliefs with helping her “stick it out” during tough times, and advises anyone seeking work in the building field to “stay focused and be persistent.”

She loves helping Brooklynites because she loves Brooklyn itself, particularly the “close-knit neighborhood feel” of the borough.

Olivera’s favorite place in the borough? Eastern Parkway, because, she says “it reminds me of being home in Pennsylvan­ia.”

As a business consultant, she assisted hundreds of individuals and organizations in business matters, such as the benefit of incorporating. Clearly, she has made a signficant impact in the lives of many of her fellow Brooklynites. Asked about the impression she hopes to leave behind, Olivera said: “I want people to remember that I love people and love laughter.”

NEIGHBORHOOD: Brownsville.

OCCUPATION: Construction journeyman, editor-in-chief, community activist, business consultant.

COMPANY: Woman Up.

CLAIM TO FAME: I’m not famous yet.

FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: Eastern Parkway.

WOMAN I ADMIRE: Zora Neale Hurston.

MOTTO: Always let “no” be the springboard to new possibilities.

Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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