Diane was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of five. By the time she was ten, she was considered legally blind, and lost all sight in her 30’s.
Undaunted by this, Diane continues to achieve whatever goal she sets her sights on – from higher education: she has her Master of Arts in Leadership – to physical fitness: she recently completed an Ironman. What many would call a disadvantage, Diane has turned into an incredible strength.
Through all of Diane’s work, sport and volunteer activities, she demonstrates a commitment to improving the quality of life of all people.
Diane is currently a Vice President for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), in a national and international advocacy role, and has held an array of other high-level positions in organizations that advocate for people with disabilities.
She began her career within municipal administration as an advisor on disability issues and policy to the Edmonton City Council (Alberta). She left this position after five years, so she could advise the Alberta Government as a staff member of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. For over eight years, Diane took on a number of projects and roles within the organization, including the Director of the Council Secretariat.
Diane also has a passion for adventure, and is a bit of a daredevil! She has driven a race car, skydived, and rappelled down the side of a 29-storey building. Her latest adventures challenge her physically, and she has been competing in longer and longer races and triathlon courses – most recently the Mont Tremblant Ironman as the only participant in the physically challenged category.
Diane has been an active volunteer within her community all her life, from working with youth groups and advocacy organizations for people with disabilities to supporting the work of post-secondary institutions.
She has held many positions responsible for organizational governance and public relations. Whether it’s participating as secretary of her child’s Parent Council, or President of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, Diane brings together her experience and passion to the role.
Diane is also a life-long learner. She is an alumnus of both the Management Studies and the Rehabilitation Practitioner programs at MacEwan University. She is also a graduate of MacEwan’s Bachelor of Applied Human Services Administration program.
In 2011, Diane graduated with distinction from the Master of Arts in Leadership program from Royal Roads University, where she was also the graduate student representative on the University Academic Council.
Diane has been a self-advocate all her life. Indeed, she has had to be. As a woman with a disability, she has experienced her share of discrimination. Always one to use a challenge as motivation, these kinds of experiences re-ignite a passion within her: a passion for ensuring that all people are recognized for what they can do and not limited by others’ perceptions.
In her career, volunteer work and in her personal friendships, Diane continually helps others to understand that people are more than any label that has been placed on them.
Diane truly believes that we are only limited by our own self-concept. Challenging stereotypes is her way of life, and is how she opens ideas, conversations, and how she demonstrates that nothing is impossible if the will and support is there to try.
Even without the ability to see, Diane’s vision is clear!