In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, we reached out to Diana Barkley, a dynamic leader in our community, both inside and outside of the Club. A former Board member and active Club member, Ms. Barkley shares her secrets on the path to success.
Please tell us a bit about your professional work?
Currently, I am the Managing Director of Development (aka “The Jack of All Trades”) at Pacific Coast Public Television Association (PCPTA) / Friends of KCTS 9. PCPTA is a registered charity that supports educational public television broadcasting. Canadians who want to support public TV make donations through PCPTA. I also operate my own public relations consultancy business, The Barkley Group.
To date, I have had quite a diverse career in public relations and communications from starting my own PR firm, The Barkley Group, to acting Head of Global Affairs for Methanex Corporation. There came a point in my career where I wanted to explore a different path and, in order to decide which path, I leaned on my volunteer Board work to gain insight. I have volunteered on several boards including Terminal City Club and just recently I stepped down from my position as Past President of the International Women’s Forum. I had served on that board in various capacities for seven years. I had always wanted to work for a non-profit organization and I had been actively involved with KCTS 9 as a member of their Community Advisory Board. It just so happened that while I was looking to get involved with a non-profit, PCPTA was searching for a Director of Development. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! There is great reward in working for an organization that provides so much value to the community.
What would you say is your greatest professional success?
There are three major events that come to mind. First, my work during Expo 86 which was one of the most fun times of my career! I did various communication roles at Expo including speech writing and presentation training for Jim Pattison who was chair of the Expo board. Secondly, the success of my own company, The Barkley Group, which I founded in 1987 and I still run to this day with the help of my wonderful team. Lastly would be my time at Methanex Corporation as the Director of Global Public Affairs. This was my first role working for a large international corporation and the experience I gained was invaluable.
Those three would have to be my greatest professional successes; however there is one particular moment in my career that I am exceptionally proud of… Hours after the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, I felt compelled to help in some way and immediately contacted the Red Cross to offer my support. Within hours, we had put a team together that resulted in a Public Service Announcement that aired in both official languages across Canada. It was an extraordinary moment to see everyone come together in such a difficult time to help their community. I then continued to provide my services to the Red Cross and we staged a very successful fundraiser with Rudy Guiliani here in Vancouver.
What advice would you give other women starting out in their career?
Believe in yourself. If you truly believe that this is the path you want to go down, you will get there. The path may not be straight or what you expected but as long you have vision and determination, you are on the right track! Have passion for yourself, your life, your career and you will be fulfilled.
What do you do outside of work?
Each day I am up at 4 a.m. to head down to the ice rink to train for two and half hours with my ice dance partner. I’ve done the same thing, five days a week, for the past 11 years. I started figure skating at a very young age, a common sport for Albertans, but it wasn’t until 2003 that I took my skating to a professional level when I became a competitive ice dancer. It is so important to have something you love to do outside of work. I believe that it is often your personal passions that set you apart in the workplace. If you have nothing to talk about other than work you will have a much harder time developing strong relationships and connections with others in your network – the key to success.
Why did you become a member of Terminal City Club?
I had just started my own company, The Barkley Group, and saw the value in joining a club with a great fitness centre and a place where I could entertain guests and clients and network with other members of the business community. By joining TCC you are communicating to the world that you are well connected.
What do you enjoy the most about the Club?
The people — both, the members and those who work here. Everyone is so welcoming and it is so nice to walk into a place where everyone knows who you are. I use the Club a great deal to host various events and functions. When it comes to event planning it is vital to have a place where you can go and expect to receive the same high level of service and quality each time you’re there. There are no surprises at TCC.
What would you say to someone considering joining TCC?
Why wait? Do it! I would tell them that no matter what their interests are, whether it is fitness or dining or meeting space, there is something here for everyone.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your fellow members?
There’s always more than one right answer, and assume nothing!