We had the good fortune of connecting with Diane Reichenberger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diane, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance has always been extremely important to me and yet it has always been something that I am constantly working to achieve in my life. In March of this year, when we were instructed to go into quarantine, one of the many silver linings for me was finding balance. I have never been happier in my work life because working from home and being in quarantine has allowed me the most incredible freedom to balance my life! Without the hassle of commuting, being distracted by non-essential disruptions and no events or meetings to race to in rush hour traffic, my life is now balanced in a way that works for me. I can join meditation, exercise & yoga classes via Zoom everyday at my convenience with my favorite instructors, I can attend events and listen to incredibly inspiring panelists without traveling around the world, I can have groceries and every essential item I need delivered to my home at any time, I can spend the day with my puppy and take walks in my neighborhood for fresh air (when we have it in LA) and I can sit in my garden and enjoy the birds, the trees, flowers – all of it. I have more productive time to focus on work as none of the work I do requires me or my team to be in an office together. We have never been more productive or efficient as a group and it is inspiring to see the great results! Although we have a great deal of work to do in the United States and around the global to make this planet a safe and equitable place for communities, families and the natural world, the utter destruction we are experiencing is necessary to rebuild at better future. The balance I have found is ever-changing and I am forever grateful for having the space to finally explore and evolve what works best for me. I feel stronger and ready to tackle whatever we need to do to make it so.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The most important thing to know about me is that I LOVE my career journey. As a retail and licensing professional with over 30 years of executive leadership experience I have had the great privilege to work for amazing global companies in challenging, interesting roles where I was able to gain valuable experience while delivering positive financial results. I love to travel and each of my roles has provided the opportunity to visit many incredible places around the globe and meet the extraordinary people who live there. I always took the time to learn about the unique cultures that make this planet so special and made many friends along the way. As a woman coming out of university in the early eighty’s, I thought that by delivering results and putting in the long hours, I would be rewarded appropriately with promotions or bonuses. I was sorely mistaken and quickly learned that in order to be recognized and paid fairly for the work I do, I needed to move more frequently to new companies and positions. In each circumstance, I tried to find an opportunity within the current company however it was often clear that moving to a new department wasn’t as easy as it should be given that you know the culture and love the company. Fortunately, I had many opportunities present themselves and each time it was for a position with greater responsibility, title and compensation such that by the time I turned 40, I had achieved my career goal as President of a company and the company was L.A. Gear. I loved the role so much and was very sorry when the company was sold to private investors. I then took a sabbatical that lasted nearly 4 years and forever changed my life. Not having a title or an income is a very humbling experience and forced me to take a good look at my purpose in life and the role that a career played in my self-worth. I learned that my career is a way to earn money and be of service to an organization; making the most positive impact as possible, achieving company goals and supporting the growth and development of your team. I went back to work in the most senior role I had ever achieved, with the largest compensation package I had ever earned and feeling more empowered and happier than I had ever been. Because of the life-changing realization, I am most proud of the work that I do outside of my ‘job’ as I am passionate about mentorship and supporting causes that are near and dear to my heart. This is the fuel that guides my intentions and in volunteering and serving on non-profit boards, I have gained valuable leadership experience much more quickly than I might have within a traditional corporate environment. In pursuit of my passion, I co-founded the Women’s Accelerator with two equally engaged colleagues. The Women’s Accelerator is a high-touch, management development program experience for women which offers a unique mentoring program, committed to developing high-potential women leaders at key advancement points in their careers. Leading teams and mentoring others are the most rewarding part of achieving levels of management that allow one the opportunity to ‘pass it forward’. I actively support Step Up Women’s Network, The Rescue Train and True Colors United. I sit of the Board of the Women’s Leadership Council and True Colors United and was awarded the 2017 Philanthropist of the Year Award at the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Summit. These are the accomplishments I am most proud of and know that having a balance between work and my purpose is the fuel that continues to inspire me and keep me engaged in every aspect of my life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When I have had friends visit from around the world, I always love to take them to my neighborhood restaurants (John O’Groats, Akasha, Conservatory West Hollywood, my favorite spots to walk on the beach (north of Malibu at Paradise Cove as they allow dogs on the beach), treat them to my favorite dance classes (LADancefit), take them on my favorite hikes (Murphy’s Ranch) and entertain in our home; sharing our friends, good wine and food. I love bringing them into my world and sharing all the aspects of my daily life that I enjoy so much
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are SO many positive influences that have inspired my journey~ my friends, family and colleagues inspire me everyday and I learn so much from them ~ their perspectives and ideas, both personal and professional, allow me to continue to evolve in ways I never imagined. My parents, Skip and Judith, are my biggest allies and supporters. They created a safe, happy life for me to grow up and thrive- allowing me to be true to myself and never be influenced by others if I didn’t believe something in ‘my gut’. They are the real heroes in my life! Planned Parenthood provided honest information and services for women of all ages when I was in high school and I will forever be grateful for how they inspired me to be a fierce supporter for economic independence for ALL women! I later joined the Planned Parenthood Board of Directors in San Francisco, our CEO at the time Dian Harrison invited me in and is one of the best mentors and female role models I have had the pleasure of knowing. I worked for Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen while at Dualstar Entertainment – they reminded me how to listen to and trust my intuition – something I had forgotten to do as I became more seasoned in my career. Gregory Lewis, the Executive Director at True Colors United, opened my eyes to the youth homelessness crisis in America and the disproportionate affects on LGBTQ+ youth. I will never stop working hard to support this organization as they work tirelessly to ensure that laws protect and support these children and the shelters, service providers, educators, religious leaders and communities that need and want to help them. Lastly, Lisa Young, the Executive Director and Founder of The Rescue Train, founded in 2004 as a nonprofit, 501(c) 3, no-kill animal welfare organization. Today they are known as one of the most innovative and hard-working groups in Los Angeles run by dedicated volunteers. Through their unique programs and solutions, they have helped save thousands of animals’ lives. Their ability to collaborate and form partnerships to achieve their goals sets them ahead of the pack and Lisa’s tireless dedication to saving animals lives and finding their forever homes is a reminder of the power of a vision and passion. Everyone’s path is full of guides, inspiration and lessons and we all will benefit when we allow ourselves to listen carefully and then sit in our own discomfort and find the truth.