Debra Tyler, Co-Chair of BBBS Miami, Volunteers as Big Sister for Over 14 Years

Bank OZK’s Debra Tyler is Co-Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. Here she is pictured with her little sister of 14 years, Destyni.

It took Debra Tyler two years to agree to say yes, but the 14 years since she did have been more rewarding than she could have imagined.

As President of our Professional Practice Group, Debra has a demanding schedule, but that hasn’t prevented her from making a difference mentoring young people. We caught up with Debra during Women’s History Month to learn how she’s ignited the power and promise of a future leader in Miami.

Since 2007, she has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBSM), a program that provides on-going one-to-one mentoring of at risk youth. It aims to develop future leaders, strengthen families, and build community by pairing children in professionally supported relationships with volunteer mentors. Big Sisters like Debra are there to help their “littles” improve academic performance, develop strong interpersonal skills, and gain essential life skills needed to succeed.

“I started as a Big Sister being matched with Destyni when she was eight years old,” Debra said. “It was very important that I was in a mindset to dedicate my time and attention to the little person I was going to be mentoring for many years to come. This was not a short-term commitment. To me it was going to be as long as she wanted me in her life. Fortunately we bonded quickly and our relationship has flourished over the years.”

Debra says that she and Destyni will always part of each other’s lives, even as Destyni enters the graduate program with BBBSM. And now, Debra has made an even larger commitment to BBBSM by accepting the role of Co-Chair of the BBBSM Board of Directors.

“I’m so very proud to serve Big Brothers Big Sisters in this role,” Debra said. “I have the time now to continue to give back at the board level and an enjoying the opportunity to co-chair the organization with many other very committed and engaged volunteers.”