Deb North likes to jump in with both feet.

As the founder of two successful businesses—True North Consulting and YES! Athletics—she brings passion and determination to helping others meet their goals, whether that’s referring someone for the right STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) role or offering the right footwear for female athletes.

The Importance of Taking Chances

Sometimes the right opportunity just comes along and begs you to take a chance on it. For Deb, it was her daughter’s struggle to find the right shoes. As a young female wrestler, Deb’s daughter Annie had a hard time finding shoes in the male-oriented wrestling apparel and equipment industry.

So Deb made the shoes herself—and discovered a big unmet need for wrestlers (and female athletes in other traditionally male sports) all across the country. YES! Athletics was born with a mission to empower young female athletes, starting with the right shoes.

But Deb’s decision to jump into wrestling footwear wasn’t her first successful leap into entrepreneurship.

After falling into recruiting about twenty years ago, she founded True North Consulting in 2010. Her technical staffing consulting firm supports STEMM employers and jobseekers nationwide by helping them match talented candidates with engineering and tech positions.

Words of Wisdom

When Deb thinks back about all she’s learned, she says that one important lesson for her younger self was learning humility.

“Sometimes you just have to get knocked down,” she says. But when you do, Deb says to make sure to have a network of supportive women there to help you get back up again.

When she launched YES! Athletics in 2019, Deb was doing something brand new. Though had experience building a company from the ground up, she was pivoting from a service-based business to a product-based one.

She had to figure out who could help her—and she had to figure out what she even needed help with. It was a true learning experience to take the process step by step and either learn how to do the new things or find the experts who could do them for her.

Why Central Exchange

Deb loves the chance to be around other women at Central Exchange, particularly—with her background in STEM recruiting—through initiatives like WiSTEMM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine) and the annual STEMMY Awards: “These are smart, accomplished people doing great things.”

She says it’s always great to meet people and, for that reason, gravitates to the Exchange Circles and programming that encourages small groups. That support and the chance to brainstorm with other successful women has been particularly beneficial to her as she’s begun a new chapter with Yes Athletics.

“I’ve dealt with major imposter syndrome, and now I’m doing something I’ve never done before,” Deb says. “I’ve got to surround myself with supportive people.

Many thanks to Deb for being part of the Central Exchange community! We invite you to help connect the Kansas City community through networking and friendship. Central Exchange offers a wide variety of programs and events (whether online or in person) and we hope you’ll join u