Deidre “Dede” Haskins, crusader for D.C. women in technology, dies at 59
Deidre “Dede” An (Gillham) Haskins, who helped support, mentor and encourage scores of area business entrepreneurs, especially young women, died August 8th at the Capital Caring Adler Center in Aldie, VA while supported and visited by her extensive network of family, friends and neighbors. Diagnosed with brain cancer in April 2015, Dede lived more than 42 months beyond expectations and passed at age 59.
Dede had a successful 25-year career in technology focusing on software development, marketing and professional services in the wider Washington D.C. area. She was the recipient of the inaugural award of Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business award honoring the D.C. region’s most influential businesswomen. Dede was a past president of Women in Technology and chair of the Board of Directors of Women in Technology Education Foundation, now known as STEM for Her. It is a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls to change the world by providing scholarships and financial support to programs that foster interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related careers. While women make up more than half the population, they account for only 24 percent of the STEM workforce. STEM for Her strives to bridge the gender gap to create a stronger and more globally competitive and productive workforce.
At the time of her illness, Dede provided strategic and operational consulting services to small-to-medium-sized software, systems integration and professional services companies to help them grow. Previously she was Mentor/Director of the Founder Institute, a business incubator. She was CEO and President of NewVision Health, Inc., launching the company’s software for hospitals and healthcare facilities to transform patient experiences. She served as acting COO for Cigital, a software security and professional services consulting company for Global 1000 clients. She also had held leadership positions in Proxicom, MAXM Systems Corporation and Legent Corporation.
Dede was born in 1960 in Honolulu, HI, to naval officer Richard Davison Gillham and Jeanne (Scherf) Gillham and grew up living in Japan and Guam and on the east and west coasts of the United States. Dede is a graduate of Fairfax (VA) High School and held a B.A. degree in Speech Communication from the University of Virginia. She married David Steele Haskins in 1985 and gave birth to her greatest life accomplishments, twins Shannon Leigh Haskins and Morgan Burke Haskins, both of Ashburn.
Dede was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She is survived by her children, son-in-law Spencer Grabski, Ashburn; sisters Felicia (Frank) Standfuss, San Diego; and Melia Hogan, Salt Lake City; three nieces and their husbands; and five great nieces and nephews.
Services will take place at 2:00pm, Saturday, August 10th at Oakbrook Church, Reston. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Dede’s name to STEM for Her, 200 Little Falls St., Ste. 205, Falls Church, VA 22046.
It took a village of angels to nurture Dede. The family wishes to thank Lisa Dugan; Jennifer Ward, RN, and Dipti Patel-Donnelly, MD, of Virginia Cancer Specialists; the National Institute of Cancer; Pamela Cooper, Nancy Carter and all the neighbors in the Holly Knoll neighborhood in Great Falls; Chris Kondracki of Always Best Care of Loudoun; Capital Caring Alder Center; Lola; and Dede’s many, many friends who stayed in touch and visited her.