Diane Mitchell Henry
Los Angeles County Chapter Chair
COIR Program Chair
Tell us a bit about your professional/career background: I have a marketing and sales background and have served in several social services and real estate positions. I’m a licensed California Realtor of 32 years. Currently, most of my time is spent volunteering as a global community organizer with several civic organizations.
How did you learn of AWIU? What was your inspiration to get involved? Since junior high, I have always had an interest in international affairs and considered becoming a missionary or joining the Peace Corps. During a conversation while having tea to “catch- up” on life with my longtime friend, Jane Mursener Wetzel, I learned she was President of AWIU, an organization of women engaged in international relations. I expressed interest and she invited me to a meeting she hosted. The guest speaker was Elizabeth Conway Symons, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, PC. I was impressed with the notion that women were discussing important global issues. In 2012, I accepted the invitation to join AWIU, went to a retreat, met many of the members and was later invited to become a member of the Board and serve as the AWIU Los Angeles County Chapter Chair.
You are the driver for the COIR Program – Career Opportunities for International Relations. How did that begin? AWIU has had the privilege of collaborating with DOS in Celebrating the International Women of Courage (IWOC) for 11 years. The 2015 Celebration was held at the National Press Club Ballroom in Washington, D.C. An AWIU IWOC committee member suggested using the National Press Club ballroom balcony and invite students to witness this event. Being sensitive to the interests of young adults, since AWIU had not booked a popular “rock” star for the IWOC Celebration, the idea of providing information for employment/careers was offered to attract students. COIR was created.
What achievements in COIR are you most proud of?
I would say being able to maintain the increasing support and encouragement of the AWIU membership for 4 years. I have been entrusted with the responsibility to represent a 51 years old organization with the international community. I don’t take wearing the AWIU hat lightly. I have been fortunate to be mentored by some great sheroes. Another achievement is having the privilege of maintaining a collaborative relationship with the U. S. Department of State for 3 consecutive years in Washington, D.C. I have met some phenomenal people. The most important achievement is being in the position to provide the opportunities for young people to engage with senior international professionals who have a genuine interest in sharing their stories, experiences and guidance.
What is your short-term goals for COIR?
I see COIR becoming a global platform for the intersections of the youth community from around the block and around the world and conducting webinars, social media and more live events. It would be great to organize an international youth summit using Zoom.
Finally – tell us a fun fact! What do you enjoy as a hobby or recreational activity?
One of the things I enjoy is boating. A couple of years ago at the spare of the moment for my birthday I invited 5 girlfriends to meet me at the Marina for a boat ride. We all packed some snacks to share, boarded the boat called the “Duffy” had a young man explain how the boat operated and then he left. I positioned myself at the helm and announce that I was Captain for the day. Well one of my friends excused herself because she lost her “adventurous” energy. And the rest of the crew continued for a lovely sail around the Marina with great food, friendship and fun with a birthday toast. We had a ball. I plan to take sailing lessons and crew for a couple of friends. I love the energy of being on the water. And oh, just for fun I want to go parasailing in South Africa before I hit the “big” one.
Diane Henry is the Chair for the upcoming COIR Program in conjunction with the US State Department June 28, from 3 pm – 5 pm. This meeting is open to the public and AWIU members and friends are encouraged to participate and share this information with anyone who might be interested. In the Fall, in Los Angeles, there will be a COIR meeting in collaboration with Mt. St. Mary’s College. Watch upcoming AWIU newsletters for more information