Recently, Kim James, Executive Director of the Young Leaders Council, sat down for lunch with Diane Hayes, the  beloved former YLC Executive Director for more than 25 years. Their conversation covered numerous topics, including Diane’s legacy at YLC, challenges faced as a nonprofit leader, opportunities to advance YLC’s mission for the future, the many perks of retirement life, and what’s next on Diane’s to do list.

Kim James: Diane!  I am so excited to have this conversation and reflect with you!  Thank you for joining me today.  Having had the opportunity to work with you during my time in the program, I never realized all that it took to keep things running smoothly at YLC – now I’m aware!  Leading an organization for 25 years is no small feat.  What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time with YLC?

Diane Hayes: I’m so proud of how we worked hard to build the name recognition and respect for Young Leaders Council. When we first started, so many people didn’t know who we were or what we did. So as people started understanding more about our mission and the value of YLC’s training, that helped spur growth for the organization. The growth helped us reach more young professionals who benefited from training and moved on to serve as leaders on nonprofit boards. Ultimately all of this was great for the community.

Kim: After investing so many years in the growth and success of YLC, what’s your biggest hope for the future of this great organization?

Diane: My biggest hope is that the organization will continue to grow and that more companies will realize just how important community service and leadership is for their employees. And with that more young professionals will see how impactful it is for their personal lives to be involved as leaders within the nonprofit community.

Thankfully YLC managed to survive during the most difficult season of the pandemic, and I’m even more hopeful at how the organization will continue to impact the community as a whole as things continue to improve.

Kim:  What was the most difficult part of serving as the Executive Director for YLC?

Diane: I think most nonprofit executives would agree that the never-ending need for funding to support your work is the toughest part. With so many organizations doing great work, the resources are limited and that often makes it difficult to fundraise.

Kim:  I can certainly identify with that.  How are you enjoying your retirement?

Diane:  Well, I don’t have to worry about deadlines anymore!  I have just been enjoying the lighter load and less responsibility. I really enjoy traveling and spending quality time with my granddaughter!

Kim:  You’re living the dream, Diane!  I’m happy for you and so very grateful that you continue to support YLC and me in this capacity. Thank you so much for sharing your time and wisdom with me today! 

What a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with one of Nashville’s treasured nonprofit leaders!  It was such a pleasure to catch up with Diane and hear her reflect on her time with YLC. I was also excited to learn that Diane is currently focusing on a new professional journey as a nonprofit consultant!  To learn more about Diane’s company and the services offered, please email her directly.