As a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, I studied, taught and wrote about diversity, gender, organizational change and identity. That was until 2010 when a severe stroke changed my life. Not only did I lose many physical abilities, and my ability to communicate, I lost my sense of self... who I am... my identity.
More than six years and thousands of therapy hours later, I'm writing a book – Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves after Stroke. While I'm writing, I'm also building this site to create a community of people who want to learn about this journey together. Please join me.
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Join the Conversation
As I work to write Identity Theft, I'll be sharing thoughts about my continuing journey to build a life after stroke. Please join the conversation so that all of us -- survivors, families, friends and caregivers -- can share our stories and learn from each other.
What People are Saying
I’ve known Deb since she was 12 years old. As a junior sailing racer, a student at MIT, a graduate student and academic at Stanford – and a good friend. She is smart, insightful and tenacious in everything she does. Watching her tireless resolve to recover from her stroke has been truly inspiring. I have no doubt that Identity Theft, and her contribution to stroke survivors and their families, will be as valuable as all her previous efforts.
- Lawrence S. Bacow – President Emeritus, Tufts University; Leader in Residence, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
In 2007 when we were looking to create a more inclusive culture that would enable women to thrive as leaders in our company, we were introduced to Debra. We were immediately attracted to her knowledge and approach and engaged her to help us. She worked with our senior team, and facilitated two workshops for 300 of our senior women. The impact was tremendous. I met with Debra recently and am thrilled that she is turning her intellect and resolve to use her experience as a stroke survivor to help others. The emotional journey is so important, and Debra brings so much to that discussion.
- Jacqueline Hinman – Chairman and CEO, CH2M Hill
I have known Deb for decades as a professor, colleague, collaborator, and friend—from consulting together and giving lectures around the world, to having her as a housemate in Boston when she did a clinical trial for innovative speech therapy a year after her stroke. Much has changed since her stroke, but not her fierce determination—to live a full life, remain open to what human experience can teach her and others, and bring those insights to the world through writing and teaching. It’s been a true honor to give Deb input on “Identity Theft” as this important project has taken shape.
- Robin Ely – Diane Doerge Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
When we were first introduced to Debra, and she participated in one of our programs, we knew immediately she was a “force” to be harnessed. We were thrilled that she got more involved with PSA, and agreed to serve on our board of directors. As we follow her progress in writing “Identity Theft”, I am continually impressed with how she is exploring something as difficult as the identity struggle that all survivors experience. I can’t wait for her book to hit the shelves – for the benefit of our stroke survivors and everyone else.
- Rezvan Moghaddam – Executive Director, Pacific Stroke Association