Speaker. Community Builder.
Founder of Kalen Consulting
"The ideal community [city-state] is one in which an injustice to one is an injustice to all."
- Solon, Athenian Lawmaker
c. 638 - c. 558 BC
Diane was born with the gift of encouragement and desire for everyone around her to thrive and meet their potential.
Her core belief is that as social beings, we flourish in healthy sustainable communities, where good governance, servant leadership and compassionate culture support the well-being of all.
Over the past 25 years, this passion has taken Diane across the country in senior leadership roles to countless communities as a CBC Newsworld television producer, documentary producer, columnist/blogger, entrepreneur, community organizer, national representative of Canada's largest public sector organizations, to local government management official in BC municipalities. Diane spent 15 years devoted to the municipal sector alone.
Most recently, as the Chief Administrative Officer of a tiny Village of 1100 in the Kootenays, she inherited a municipality that had no financial statements for two years, no central filing system, mass staff turnover and numerous associated challenges. In three short years she left behind a multi-award winning turn key operation with trained staff, awash in millions of dollars in grant funds, numerous new and green major infrastructure and planning projects, and a civic pride economic development initiative that went viral online ensuring its continued revenue generating success for the municipality (see CBC Radio news story).
She spearheaded an innovative sustainable community planning process to prepare a hybridized official community plan and integrated community sustainability plan that provides a planning and engagement model for small rural communities. An asset mapping video produced as part of this process, "Where All Roads Lead", was narrated by Disney's Andy Geller and had over 40,000 views attracting many to the community. The planning document was also distinguished as the first of its kind to enshrine human assets - employees, contractors and volunteers - as vital to sustainable service delivery.
She further established a practical and effective approach for small communities to advance asset management in their organizations. This work was featured in Asset Management BC's July 2017 newsletter and recognized by the prestigious 2018 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Award in Asset Management.
She is a regular columnist with Canada's national municipal magazine Municipal World. Her column covers everything from good governance and local democracy to sustainable community building, while she makes the case for greater civic education in society.
Diane is the author of Save Your City: How Toxic Culture Kills Community and What to Do About It to be published in the spring of 2019.
She is a graduate of University of Toronto's Trinity College political science and philosophy specialist undergraduate program and holds a Master's Degree from York University in political science. She has municipal law and administration training from the University of Victoria and is a Certified Municipal Clerk with the International Association of Municipal Clerks. Diane is a member of BC's Local Government Management Association (LGMA) and the Government Finance Officers Association of BC (GFOABC).
Diane is living her "Little House on the Prairie" dream with her charming husband Jerome and four remarkable children Victoria, Alexander, Isabel and Sophia in the Kootenays, British Columbia.