Employee Spotlight: One-time aspiring cardiologist discovers her heart belongs to real estate and title, celebrates 20 years in the business
When Dedra Roberts was 6 years old, she would venture out with her fisherman father at 4 o’clock in the morning, in a tiny boat with no life jacket on.
It was her job to grab the bucket and bail out any water that seeped into the boat as her father fished for the day’s catch in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am very comfortable being on the edge of anything,” she says. Dedra, who comes from a large and close-knit family, emigrated to the United States with her parents and six siblings under a medical visa that would ultimately save her mother’s life.
While staying in the States, Dedra went to work for an aunt who owned a title abstracting company. Her aunt introduced her to real estate and helped her learn the business, which eventually led her to an opportunity at Federal Title & Escrow Company.
Dedra credits experiences like those early morning fishing expeditions with her father and the uprooting of the only life she had known on the island of Trinidad to save her mother for shaping her into the person she is today, “living on the edge, not being afraid and enjoying the moment.”
Federal Title is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which would have never arrived were it not for the loyalty and dedication of incredible people such as Dedra, our longest serving employee, who is marking her own milestone anniversary this year after 20 years of loyal service as our post-closing department manager.
Most of our clients only know Dedra through email, but they don’t get the privilege of engaging with her in real life each day. We sat down for an interview so we could attempt to capture her character and share a part of her story with you.
What would you do (for a career) if you were not a Post-Closing Manager?
Initially, I wanted to be a cardiologist. That was my goal, my dream. Then I got introduced to the real estate industry via my aunt. I had an aunt who had an abstracting company and took me along with her and that introduced me to my first employer and from there, I came here to Federal Title. Now I work hard to enjoy the fruit of my labor.
What has been a favorite memory at work?
The Cinco de Mayo celebrations that we used to have, those are really good memories for me and anything that involved interaction outside of work with my coworkers.
All of the events that we have done outside of the office, I really enjoyed those, most recently, the axe throwing. That was a really fun time for me. I like the fun, relaxing environment we have when we have agents coming over, too.
You are very fashionable. Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
Colors. I am big in colors because it cheers me up to see brightness. I see beauty in everything so when I think about outfits I think about colors, how to mix colors, how to be rebellious in fashion, too—that’s one of the things I think about. So, when I go to the store to buy something, I don’t see style; I see color. It’s the colors that attract me. I think it’s from my Caribbean upbringing. We have so much color in our culture.
During this interview, Dedra commented that her outfit comprised of black blouse with sparkling rhinestones paired with a black pencil skirt and long black boots is “not too extravagant today.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to do anything that involves keeping up with family. The way society is now, there is so much work and so many things we have to do, oftentimes, you have to make time with family.
We do things together, like going to church. I really enjoy going on family vacation with extended family. I also like to go out with friends, keep up with them, too.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have four kids, three girls and a boy, and I will soon have four grandkids, all girls. My son’s fiancé is expecting my fourth grandchild. He recently got engaged to the love of his life, and that made me extremely happy.
I come from a large family, seven kids, my mom and dad had together, no step-kids. They had four girls and three boys, and my parents were very loving, hard-working and caring.
Tell us more about your family and where you grew up?
I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad island. Tobago is where the tourists go, but I grew up in Santa Cruz, Trinidad. That’s where I started my journey.
And I have to mention my parents because they are instrumental to who I am. They sacrificed everything for us. I learned the work ethic that I have from my parents. I owe that work ethic, that encouragement from them. They are Trinidadians.
All of us were born in Trinidad and we migrated here to the U.S. under a medical visa. My mom was diagnosed with kidney failure with diabetes. We all came to the U.S. to get tested to be a kidney match and eventually, my family stayed in the U.S., all but my eldest brother who returned to Trinidad. We still have lots of family ties to Trinidad.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
When I was as young as six years old, I used to go fishing with my dad early in the morning [long pause] in the Atlantic Ocean [long pause] without a lifejacket. I am a water person. Every chance to be in water, I will take it.
One of my dad’s jobs was fisherman in the Caribbean. My dad and I would get up at 4 o’clock in the morning, and we would go on this little fishing boat with all sorts of imperfections and water would seep through. My job was to bail out the water from the boat. As a result of that, I am very comfortable being on the edge of anything. It feels like those experiences were gearing me to be the person that I am today.
I find myself living on the edge, not being afraid and enjoying the moment.