Remaining Positive in Times of Uncertainty
Diane Down (’88, ’15) knew that God had wired her with very specific gifts, talents, and skills, but was never quite sure how they would come together in her life or what her future career would look like. Nevertheless, she was optimistic when she graduated from Trinity Western. She had earned an MA in Leadership, and thought she’d find all sorts of opportunities to work in the non-profit sector. Much to her frustration, this was not the case. She sent resume after resume, but no jobs were offered.
“Of course, you start doubting,” says Down. “Am I an idiot? Do I not know how to do anything?” She started to feel increasingly discouraged. But with each dead end, she was met by a certainty that God had something big planned for her, and that she needed to trust.
“I got very clear messages from God, saying something big was coming, but not yet,” says Down, who struggled to know what to do with that or how to interpret that sense. “We need to be careful with what we hear, but we also shouldn’t easily dismiss things that don’t line up with our current reality.”
Down knew she couldn’t just sit around and do nothing while waiting for God to act, so she decided to take more courses, volunteer places, and even dabbled in entrepreneurship. Through this process, she learned and grew in unexpected ways.
Volunteer and Entrepreneurial Pursuits
For four years, Down has been heavily involved in A Way Home, a local non-profit that aims to end youth homelessness in the city of Kamloops.
According to Down, there are over 120 homeless youth in Kamloops. A large percentage of these are children who have aged out of foster care and have nowhere to go, and those in the LGBTQ community who have found their own homes unaccepting and unsafe.
“If you can help prevent youth homelessness, you can take a large stab out of adult homelessness,” says Down, who has let her passion for helping marginalized youth in Kamloops lead her to create many networks within the city.
This work has been rewarding, and she’s had many opportunities to make a difference in her community while building a side business, where she helped coach businesses and entrepreneurs. But through all of this, she felt God was still preparing her for something more.
Reconnecting with Trinity Western
In 2016, Peter Reek (‘89) approached Down and suggested she join the Trinity Western University Alumni Association board. This was an intriguing offer. Down had wanted to get experience on a board, but up until then hadn’t found any good options.
Down applied and was accepted shortly after. For two years she served on the board, learning what she could, until the position of President became available.
“I had no intention to become the President,” Down says. “It wasn’t something I was seeking.” But when the position opened up, she decided to step up. On September 1st, 2018, Down became the new President of the Alumni Association.
“This is my final year on the board, and I’m extremely committed to the notion of distributed leadership,” says Down, who hopes to invite others to take initiative and be present in shaping the future of the Association.
The Next Exciting Chapter
In addition to her new responsibilities as Alumni Association President, Down is excited to announce that she’s recently been hired as the Managing Director for the newly acquired New Life Community location in Kamloops. New Life Community was acquired by The Mustard Seed, an organization that has been serving marginalized people in South-Central Alberta for many years.
In her new position, Down will be able to use the skills she’s learned both at Trinity Western and the time since graduation to make a lasting difference in the community she loves.
Down couldn’t be happier. Despite a road full of uncertainty and self-doubt, she knows and joyfully proclaims that God has been with her every step of the way. Whether or not this new position is the “big thing” she felt God promising her, she is confident that He has directed her to the right opportunities at the right time, and is choosing to continue to trust Him in the days ahead.