Diane grew up in Chicago and studied radio and TV at Iowa State University where she met her husband at the University’s radio station. Soon, two children, Bob and Ann Marie, followed and then the family moved west.
“My husband and I moved to Boulder in 1975 to purchase and run KADE as a mom and pop radio station.” She says. “We then purchased an FM license and it became what is now KBCO Radio.” After 14 years of running a radio station, she and Bob turned their entrepreneurial skills toward the booming market of Microbreweries and started the Walnut Brewery - the first brewpub in Boulder - and the Rock Bottom Restaurant. Today, Rock Bottom, Inc. has over 85 operating restaurants with 8,000 employees, all over the country.
In 1993, Diane went back to school at CU Boulder, where her daughter was also attending at the time, and earned her Master’s Degree in Art History. As a grad student and teaching assistant, she taught an introductory course in Asian Art History. During this time she also founded the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Somewhere between raising two kids, going to grad school and teaching, Diane and her husband also found the time to establish the first class of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County, which provides tuition assistance to low income and minority children. In 1991, Diane also founded the Rock Bottom Scholars program at CU-Denver.
Diane has received numerous awards and recognition over the years for community service, entrepreneurism and philanthropy, including the Boulder Chamber of Commerce’s “Entrepreneur of Distinction” award in 1994. In 1995, she received the University of Colorado’s Distinguished Service Award and two years later a similar award from Iowa State University. In 2001, she and Bob were honored for their commitment to the community and to public service by the Boulder Daily Camera, which presented them with its Pacesetter’s Award for Community Service.
How does she do it all, you wonder? “I love to learn, which is one advantage of living in a University town.” She says. “And I love to watch businesses or projects I start grow and become successful.”
She also credits her family for much of her success.” I have a great family and a wonderful husband.” She says. ”He is disastrously funny, with a wit that just cracks me up and we’re really good friends with a lot in common. We’ve had a great life together. But, I’m still a work in progress, I have an 82- year- old mother I need to live up to.”
Favorite Clothing Stores: I don’t shop very much, but I like Nordstrom’s
What gives a woman/man style: Personality
Favorite Restaurant: The Chop House- their stuffed pork chop makes my heart quiver!
Which social event is your favorite? The Collectors Ball for the Denver Art Museum.
What are your volunteer activities? I just completed my second six-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Colorado Foundation. I’m the past president of the Norlin Libraries Advisory Board, and a retired member of the CU-Denver Graduate School of Business Advisory Board. I co-chaired the fundraising effort to preserve and restore the Hazel Gates Woodruff Cottage for Women’s Studies on the CU-Boulder campus, and I’m a co-founder of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado. My husband and I established the first class of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County, which provides tuition assistance to low income and minority children. In 1991, I founded the Rock Bottom Scholars program at CU-Denver and am currently serving as a member of the Denver Art Museum Board of Directors on the Marketing Committee.
Who is your hero and why? Politically, Harry Truman because he never bucked his responsibilities and never said it was someone else’s fault; plus, he’s a straightforward Midwestern guy and I like that. Personally, my mom because she’s 82- years- old and still teaches dance and performs with a small theatrical troupe in Venice, Florida. She’s remarkable in every way – She still does 50 sit-ups a day, still has great legs and wears her tap shoes. She was my father's caregiver for last eight years of his life and danced her way through it all.
If your life were a movie, who would play your part? Bea Arthur because she always spoke her mind or Marsha Mason because I’ve always liked her attitude about life and she wasn’t the best looking chick on the block, but made the most of it.
Do you have any Pets? We have a golden retriever, two cats and a fish tank, and I frequently dog sit for my two granddogs.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? My cat shredded the wallpaper, and our home is very lived in. We’ve been here for 20 years. We have a big kitchen for family meals, and lots of room for the kids to have their friends over. When they were in high school, our house was the hangout place for all the kids with a hot tub and pool table. My son and his friends would play poker until all hours of the night.
What one word describes you best? Optimist
What word/ words would you like others to use to describe you? Cheerful, loves a good joke.
What was your first job? When I was 14, I was basket girl at a high school swimming pool. They didn’t have lockers in those days so during open swim hours I’d put their clothes in a storage basket on the shelf behind me and give them a safety pin with a number on it.
What word or expression do you use too much? “ You guys,” I guess it’s the Chicago version of “Honey.”
If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? My insomnia. I try to make the most of it and think of the time I can’t sleep as an extra hour God has given to me. I get a lot of reading done in the middle of the night.
What is your greatest indulgence? Chocolate truffles from Fudge Works of Estes; they’re handmade by Carol Crane and just divine.
What is the best gift you have ever received? My husband gave me the opportunity to have my portrait painted and it was the nicest gift I have ever gotten, it really touched me.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband of course! We’ve worked side by side with desks adjacent to one another for most of our lives.
Which talent would you most like to have? To play the piano.
What is your current state of mind? Excited, anticipatory, over- worked and a bit nervous. I’ve never run for public office before.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Our two children.
What is your most treasured possession? Two pieces of furniture that were my grandparent’s, my dad’s baby dresser and a rocker. What is the quality you most like in a man? They have to respect women, and all of my favorite guys respect, admire and treat women nicely.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Dynamism. The enthusiasm they bring to the job, regardless of if it’s paid or not. Women are so spirited and energetic, and have such great ideas.
What are some of your favorite books, favorite writers? I love English murder mysteries and non-fiction that’s not directly business based, but based on psychological studies of behavior. I'm usually reading two or three at a time. Right now I’m reading “The Road Builder” about a palm oil factory in Africa.
What is the best advice you have ever received? “Success is when plan B works.” My children’s high school counselor told me that and I have found this to be true.