Tell us a bit about yourself!
I have worked in the non profit sector for most of my life. My introduction to the sector came through my interest in women and women’s rights especially around choice and access to abortion options. That led to involvement on boards of directors, political party work and the pursuit of a degree in Women’s Studies. My life long journey through work supporting women and girls has allowed me the opportunity to connect with women from so many backgrounds and life experiences. I have learned so much from them. I was on the Board at the Women’s Centre for 6 years when the decision was made to seek new space, a turning point for the organization that has allowed it to grow in so many ways especially engaging girls. Most recently I worked at the United Way where I oversaw community grants. It was in the grants that supported community development initiatives where I saw the most innovation and greatest opportunity for community change. I am very excited to have this opportunity to work at a more grass roots level and support change for women. I am married and a mother of two adult children.
What is your personal definition of feminism?
My definition of feminism is rooted in social justice and a recognition that the continuing social injustice for women is historical and is rooted in a patriarchal system that value male power, male opportunity, and male voice. My definition of feminism is also rooted in the belief that women themselves are the experts in their lives and, if we have the opportunity, our voices can make a difference in systemic inequities.
What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?
My connection with the Women’s Centre began when it was still part of the YWCA and primarily because I could utilize the child care for my new born daughter as a volunteer. I became a strong supporter of the Centre when it became independent and have continued to support the Centre as a volunteer, board member and donor.
What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?
My shorter term goal at the Women’s Centre is to have the opportunity to learn more about reconciliation and the ways that I can support efforts focused on that work
Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life.
The women who influence me are strong women who are authentic about the change they are committed to making with women. I have encountered a number of them throughout my years and each of them have inspired me to keep at it and continue contributing my efforts to support change.
You can reach Diane Altwasser at firstname.lastname@example.org.