Raised in San Diego, California, Deborah credits a peaceful family upbringing with her calm, centered outlook on life. First in her family to graduate from college, Deborah’s favored classes at San Diego State University were Women’s Studies and literature. A significant highlight for Deb occurred in 2004 when San Diego State selected her Distinguished Alumni of the Year for the College of Arts and Letters.
Her professional career and love of real estate began in San Diego and in 1989 led her to Telluride, Colorado. There she and husband Bill partnered on a successful land development company. Upon retirement in 2000, they moved to Arizona, where Deb became politically & philanthropically engaged. Within a year she was identified by Phoenix Business Journal as a ‘person who makes things happen.’
Arizona honors include:
- Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scouts ‘Women of Distinction’ Courage award
- Arizona Foundation for Women ‘Marilyn Seymann’ award
- Arizona Foundation for Women ‘Rising Phoenix’ award
- Arizona Women’s Education & Employment ‘Jeanne Linn Herberger’ award
- Camelback Magazine selection as ‘one of the area’s 25 Most Influential citizens’
- College Success Arizona inaugural ‘Bob Craves Vision of Success’ award
- Maricopa Community Colleges Rio Salado ‘Hero of Education’
- YWCA ‘Tribute to Women’ Business award
Upon Bill’s death in 2006, Deb became Principal Director of Carstens Family Funds, a philanthropic organization which is active in the three western states of Arizona, California and Colorado. Grants are made to non-profits that have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, character-building or youth leadership programs. CarstensFamilyFunds.org
Deborah splits her time between Arizona and Washington DC, where she serves as a board member at National Museum of Women in the Arts, Marine Corp Scholarship Foundation, Washington DC Police Foundation, Innocents at Risk and is a member of Capital Speakers Club.
A world-traveler, Deb has visited all seven continents and lived for three years in Geneva, Switzerland.
Deborah’s daughter, Lindsay and her two grand-daughters, who live in Virginia, bring particular joy. As does the closeness and life-long emotional support of her sister, Dottie.