Finding Fun and Purpose in a New Career: Diane’s Story

Head shot of Diane Hageman

In her new career, Diane Hageman (UMAC ‘19) is having the time of her life. As the Director of Fund Development at the YMCA of St. Cloud, Diane supports scholarships and programs through fundraising and events. After 35 years in communications and marketing, Diane was ready for a change. She was looking for a new career that builds on her background while engaging in her community. The YMCA role is a perfect fit for her. As Diane describes it, “I have told many of the donors I am meeting that no one should have this much fun at a new job!”

Changing careers can be tumultuous, especially for those at midlife and beyond. Luckily, Diane didn’t have to go it alone: she joined a cohort of University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC) fellows, where Diane was able to collaborate with others as they explore their next chapters. Diane described how she valued her cohort members and the UMAC directors,  Phyllis Moen and Kate Schaefers. Diane said of the directors, “Their wisdom, knowledge and humor made the whole experience very rewarding and very positive.”

The UMAC program provides a sense of community and equips fellows with tools to navigate career and life transitions. Diane appreciated being able to examine past experiences and reflect on where she wanted to go next, benefiting from the experiences and perspectives of others through the process. As part of her UMAC fellowship, Diane had an opportunity to work on a project at a nonprofit organization. Diane worked with the Initiative Foundation, a Central MN organization, by helping them develop a communications strategy around their Initiator’s Fellowship Program.  

Not only did the UMAC program help Diane plan and explore the next chapter of her life, but it also allowed her to explore and learn more about herself. “I particularly appreciated the meetings with our cohort where our personal stories and journeys were shared. Those sessions helped me to appreciate all that I learned from my colleagues as well as having a greater appreciation for my own good fortune in life.”

During her time with UMAC, Diane participated in a college class, The Future of Work and Life in the 21st Century, taught by Phyllis Moen. Diane says she developed “a greater understanding of what life is like for millennials now and an understanding of the direction our world is moving in the future.” She applies these lessons as she works with her YMCA management colleagues, an intergenerational team that brims with energy and ideas and builds on the strengths of each member to work collaboratively across generations. Diane’s journey with UMAC taught her how to appreciate and leverage an intergenerational workforce. “I feel I have a broadened perspective and appreciation for the multiple generations I am working with, not to mention a greater understanding of terms like VR (virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence) and the gig economy!” 

Do you know anyone who would benefit from UMAC? UMAC is now recruiting fellows for the 2020-21 cohort. Nominate someone, or apply yourself.

By Haley Carrero, a junior at the University of Minnesota studying Industrial and Systems Engineering.