Leadership Spotlight - Diana Tichenor

Please describe your background, and what led you to EA
I worked at Enloe Medical Center in Marketing & Communications for over 20 years but had long been familiar with EA Family Services and the great work with they did with children. I knew Tim and Vivian Wilkinson for a long time and was very familiar with the program I now run... in fact my two oldest children both worked for EA before I came on board. When I was presented with the opportunity it was an easy decision because I already had such a passion for the work!

What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA?
I believe that all your life experiences, good and bad, make you who you are. I grew up in a broken home situation and although I have never gone through near the extent of trauma that most of the children I work with have experienced, I think it helps to be able to relate on some level to what they have gone through. My dad and his four brothers were also raised in foster homes and orphanages much of their lives. I think it made him want to be a parent that put his kids first. I also later had a step-father who exemplified unconditional love. Although they have both passed away, I attribute a lot of who I am to their influence. They made a difference!

What advice would you give to someone interested in working with youth in foster care?
If you have a heart for children, do it! Whether it be as a professional working with children, a volunteer, or as a foster parent... there are so many children that need you! Although it is not always easy, it could be the hardest job that you will ever love! You can truly help change lives. One of my favorite quotes is “Children may not remember the words you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel“.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
I cherish time with my four children and 2 year old grandson! As they all get older... I especially love having them all together at the same time. Music is also something that is very therapeutic for me and going to concerts is something I really enjoy.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I am so incredibly grateful I get to do what I am passionate about every day with the best team that I could ever ask for! "The only way to do great work is to love what you do" Steve Jobs "It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together."