Who's Who of Top Executives

Debra Dawson, MFA, BSEd

Title: Founder and Board President
Company: African Soul, American Heart
Location: Fargo, North Dakota, United States

Debra Dawson, MFA, BSEd, Founder and Board President of African Soul, American Heart, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in nonprofit administration.

Since 2008, Ms. Dawson has been committed to making a difference as the founder and board president of African Soul, American Heart (ASAH). This nonprofit organization was founded with a commitment to uplifting and educating orphaned girls from South Sudan. ASAH protects its students from forced marriage, disease and conflict while teaching life skills and preparing them to support themselves, their communities and their families in the future. Ms. Dawson met a Lost Boy from Sudan named Joseph through a mutual friend. This meeting spurred Ms. Dawson’s mission of supporting Sudanese orphaned girls and eventually led to the founding of ASAH.

Prior to her current role, Ms. Dawson garnered experience as the president and vice president of Dawson Hail Insurance Co. between 1986 and 1996. From 1983 to 1986, she was a sales manager with Pitney Bowes. Alongside her primary positions, Ms. Dawson has contributed as an elder with the First Presbyterian Church in Fargo, North Dakota.

In preparation for her career, Ms. Dawson attended the University of North Dakota. In 1975, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English and elementary education with a minor in French. She concluded her higher education at Minnesota State University Moorhead, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in 1997.

Since 2016, Ms. Dawson has contributed as a board member of the Fargo Downtown Neighborhood Association. She attributes her success to the influence of her parents, and in the future, she hopes to publish her memoir while remaining active in the community. Among her achievements, Ms. Dawson is proudest of her work for orphaned girls in South Sudan through ASAH.

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