Refresh Stories: Diane Dismukes
Y’all, I got to interview my mom for this month’s REFRESH Story. This interview was obviously special for me, but it’s also so needed for our generation. Girls, the ladies before us were used by God to make a way - a way for us to lead in any area God is calling us to lead in. This is a story of a woman who decided she would go, full force, after anything God had for her. She wanted in on His plan for her and she got it. All of it.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’ll give you the Readers Digest version… I grew up in a little rural town, and like many of us, I had a dysfunctional but loving family. My dad was wonderful but had a real issue with alcohol. My mom’s strength outweighed it all and that strength came directly from Jesus.
I got married young and had babies young. I started working at a hospital in high school and then went to nursing school. I started my career as a nurse and moved up to supervisor within three months. From there I went on to be Director of Nurses, Vice President of Nurses and then went back to school for my MBA. I then went into Healthcare Consulting. I worked for a top firm and became a partner in 18 months. I had a huge national and international career in the consulting world. I went on to become CEO of a hospital system and after I retired, I started my own business as an executive coach. I have had an amazing career, three incredible children, a wonderful husband and 9 grandbabies. I am a blessed woman!
Tell us about your current business.
I recently started a business doing executive coaching and leadership training. I work with individuals to help them with career development. I want to help them be successful with their personal and work life. I also consult with companies to help develop their mission, vision, and values, and optimize their production and revitalize their organization.
What made you want to start a business after such a long and productive career?
After I retired I really felt like there was something else I needed to do. I wanted to coach and help other people reach their potential. A lot of soul searching and prayer went into making the decision to start my own company. I knew it would be a lot of work and part of me thought, “Why not be retired and enjoy my family and time off?” But I still felt like I had more to give and more to offer. My entire career and my personal life have been about helping other people and making a difference for someone else. Seeing other people become successful gives me life.
How has your faith walk impacted your career?
I could not have had a career or be where I am now without my relationship with God. God takes care of the sparrow, and if He is going to take care of that little bird, He will take care of me. I believe He created me for a purpose and I want to try and live out that purpose. If I get down or feel like I can’t do something, I ask for His guidance, and I believe He puts me where I need to be. He is my strength. I feel like I have been so blessed with my family and my work and I know it is all from God. He is such a good father and has grace for us and He has taught me to have grace for others.
Do you feel like God has given you a specific dream or purpose for your life?
I always knew I was a child of God, and that one belief is where all my gifts flow out of. But did I know early what I wanted to do? Not really. I started working in the hospital in high school, but when I was a little older I knew I wanted to go into nursing to help others. But as I got into my job I saw that the only people making a big difference were those with influence. I saw that the people at the top did not listen to us at the bottom. That has driven my desire to move up the ladder and give those below me a voice. I loved serving patients and caring for people but I knew I could make a bigger impact moving towards management and leadership.
Have you had moments in the journey that have set you back or make you want to quit?
I’ve had setbacks and have gone through some really tough times, but I have never struggled with my walk with God. My faith is strong and the only thing I really need. This may sound crazy but quitting is not in my nature, therefore it’s not an option.
What has kept you going?
I have one of the best examples of never giving up in my mom. She is almost 101 and still full of pure grit and determination. I inherited it from her. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I know I am more determined than anyone. When I decide I’m going to do something, I do it. I know this is one of the gifts God gave me. This is how He has always helped me and I have faith because I know whatever happens to me happens because He has a plan.
Do you ever get discouraged by people not understanding what you are trying to do?
That was not important to me. It would have been a futile exercise. I wouldn’t spend energy on caring what other people think. I don’t have time to dwell on things like that.
Where are you at in the journey and where do you hope to be?
I have more of a journey ahead of me. I’m sure it may change a little but I’m not stopping any time soon. I want to fulfill the plan laid out for me. Right now, it is to continue helping people and organizations and to continue serving my family. I think I’ve got some more miles in me!
What kind of advice or encouragement do you have for other women trying to pursue their own purpose in God?
I want women to love their life and themselves and to love God. Give yourselves grace and know that you can be anything you want to be. Anything. I think women have so much to give and they sometimes don’t believe enough in themselves. God created every one of us perfect and gave us everything we need to be fulfilled and do His will. Believe this very early and live it! We also want to put this belief in every one of our children and to show them they are loved. That’s our biggest job: to love.
Written by Kelli Sommers
Kelli Sommers comes from a long line of storytellers and comedians. Through her stories she hopes to inspire others to know how much God loves them.
Kelli is married to a complete opposite who loves to watch her fly. She has 5 beautiful kids and serving her family is one of her greatest joys in life, but bedtime is one of her favorite times of day.
Kelli loves to read the Word and that’s the only book she has time for right now. If she is not at home picking up messes, you will find her out with a friend, having a long talk and some good food (probably tacos). She is passionate about unifying women. We are better together. You can find her on her blog and instagram.