Dee Jackson is a native of Gadsden County and a product of humble beginnings. She was born to a single mother who was in her first year in college, with no contact or acknowledgment from her birth father until adulthood. When she was younger, Jackson watched how her mother lived and took pride in being an elementary school teacher despite the pay.
“I learned about leadership, struggle, internal motivation, civility and the importance of a good education from my mother. She was a big inspiration for me,” Jackson said.
Jackson began her career by following her mother’s footsteps by briefly being a teacher in high school and adult prisons. Once Jackson got her first taste of helping her community by teaching, she was determined to do more. She later returned to school and completed a master’s in business administration. Since then, she has devoted her entire life to community empowerment.
Jackson has a stellar track record of successful initiatives in Gadsden and Leon counties. She has excelled in the areas of operations management, employee engagement, grant writing, process improvement, public health, corporate event management, budget operations, adult education and community relations.
Her diverse experience with helping improve her community led her to being appointed as the first female county administrator of Gadsden County. During her tenure there, she accomplished numerous feats.
“For the first time in more than 20 years, I was able to get the Emergency Management Services to close the year in the black instead of closing in the red like in prior years, I balanced the county budget for the first time in seven years without tapping the county reserves, and I led the county response to Hurricane Michael,” Jackson said.
Even after having so much success in her field, she became her most motivated after a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis of her youngest daughter. She used this unfortunate news as a driving force to create a platform to empower generations by co-establishing the Jae Jackson Childhood Cancer Foundation. The foundation uses political connections to ensure that adequate state and federal funding is made available for childhood cancer research. The group also provides education, support and empowerment to families battling the fight of their lives with childhood cancer.
Currently, Jackson is a motivational speaker, a senior partner at Jackson Capital Financial Services firm, a wife, and proud mother of four.
Her children admire her the most and use her as an inspiration just as she used her mother as an inspiration.
“My mother inspires me mainly because of her perseverance. Despite everything that comes her way, like my sister’s sickness, she never gives up. She always has the same bright smile and you’d never know that anything was wrong. She always gives everyone the same respect and she’s always taught me that hard work equals results,” said her eldest daughter, Joana Jackson.
Her son shared some of the same sentiments.
“My mom inspires me because she beat the odds. Every bit of adversity she experienced, she overcame. She always says, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t put up.’ Every time a roadblock got in her way, she took a shot and succeeded and she taught me to not be afraid of failure,” said her oldest son, Jaelen Jackson.
Jackson has a legacy of inspiring others in her community and in her own family. She hopes her inspiration will continue long after she is gone.