Managing Executive Director
Managing Executive Director
Dietra Clayton’s relationship with homelessness has been intimate; it set her on the path to serve those in need and be a strong supporter of unhoused women.
Joining The Sophia Way as a case manager in 2017, Dietra has used her 18 years of direct service experience to build systems and processes that women truly need. “We use tools and best practices such as trauma-informed care approach, motivational interviewing, and compassionate care to ensure our clients feel safe and can move forward in their lives,” she emphasizes.
The women are not just clients for Dietra – they are family – and she is passionate and fearless in advocating for those without a home in King County.
She has inculcated the same ethos in her teenage son. “He understands there are many reasons why someone could lose their home and that it could happen to anyone. So we’re here to do what we can to make someone’s day better.”
Dietra is fearless in her personal life as well. Her passion is swimming with sharks! She grew up in Arizona, where there is not an ocean, but has always loved being in the water and snorkeling. “One day I decided to go swimming with sharks and fell in love with them.” Her goal is to swim with the great white shark, and for that she is working on her swim skills just a little more. She has also swum with manta rays at night in Hawaii. “It was amazing! I was surrounded by them!”
Overcoming personal challenges has given Dietra the courage and compassion to be there for others. “I feel that even though I’ve suffered, what I’ve gotten from it is so much more. And, I was able to use those experiences to help people.”
Dietra believes the distributed leadership model is great for The Sophia Way. “It gives us the ability to have everyone speaking the same language. Sophia, Zee, and I are coming to the table with different skills, and we will weave them together to propel the organization forward. It’s going to lend to us to always be ahead of the curve, meet women where they are, and give them what they want.”
As the Managing Executive Director, Dietra’s big goal is to grow the organization without losing its heart. “Sometimes, when organizations grow, they sacrifice quality for quantity. My vision is for us to continue to grow and be a bigger and better agency while holding on to all the things that make us great.”
Favorite place to grab a coffee: Woods Coffee or Joeys
Currently reading: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy and Abraham Maslow’s A Theory of Human Motivation
A song that inspires me: Why We Sing by Kirk Franklin
I would like to learn: Snowboarding or skiing
My family includes: A dog and three rabbits
What I learned during the pandemic: That with a common goal we can move through anything to serve the women.
I hear “women experiencing homelessness” and think: What can I do to make sure the experience isn’t forever and more traumatizing
Our clients inspire me because: They are resilient and choose joy in a time of sorrow
My years at TSW have been: Fulfilling