Diamonte Z. Walker, MBA
Director of Performance and Compliance
Urban Redevelopment Authority
How many years have you been in your industry?
I’ve worked in the non-profit and government sectors for 3 years. I have more than 15 years in the for-profit and corporate arenas.
What has been your greatest inspiration?
My daughters are my greatest inspiration. I want to live an example of a limitless life so that they know they can achieve anything they’re willing to work for. I don’t want them to ever allow the circumstance of their gender or birth deter them from setting goals, defying the odds and living their life on their own terms.
Name one person you consider a great role model and tell us why.
I consider my mom to be a great role model. She is kind without being weak and firm without being offensive. She’s given me a strong spiritual center with a firm foundation rooted in faith, love and consideration of others. My mom has always encouraged me to do my very best in any situation. Her steadfast love has made all the difference in my life. I am here today because of her many sacrifices and I owe her a debt of gratitude.
What advice would you give to anyone about following their dreams?
My advice would be to remember that a goal is a dream with a date on it. I would encourage them not to let their dream exist only in their mind, but to take incremental steps day-by-day to bring that dream to fruition. It doesn’t serve anybody well to have an idea or a calling and to allow fear, doubt, hesitation or negative input keep you from living out that dream. We have to speak things into existence and then move as though our heart’s desires are inevitable. It takes discipline and dedication to make a dream come true. Our purpose here is to deliver on our dreams by sharing our giftedness with the world in whatever way possible.
What is the biggest career or business mistake that you have ever made?
The biggest career mistake I made was thinking that hard work and expertise were enough to make it in corporate America. I didn’t understand how political office environments could be and found myself being misinterpreted and misunderstood when that wasn’t my intention. The real root of the issue was that I spent a lot of years doing work that had very little meaning because I had obligations to my family. I’ve since learned that in order for career growth to be sustainable, you have to do work that compels you to get out of bed in the morning with people who share common values or can teach you new things along the way. I feel honored to be at that point in my career where that’s happening.
What was the best thing that you have ever done that got you to where you are today?
I think the best thing I’ve ever done wassayingyes to accepta role in the non-profit sector. That decision began to open countless opportunities for me to help others looking to start and grow businesses. I was hesitant at first because I had been groomed in the for-profit sector, but when given the opportunity to make a difference in my beloved Hill District community, I couldn’t turn down the offer. I am glad I yielded to the well-time opportunity because it’s put mein a position to help and serve others and ithas a deep sense of meaning and service to my professional life.
What would you tell your younger self?
Let it go.
What would you do differently in your career or business?
Everything in my career has been such a transformative learning experience, so I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. God has ordered my path in such a way that every misstep and every triumph have shaped the professional person I am today. If I could go back – knowing what I know now – I would’ve worried less and trusted the process more to save myself some sleepless nights. All things, both good and bad, were working for my best interests.
When did you first become aware of your purpose?
I kind of stumbled into my purpose, but I think it was God’s plan all along. A few years ago, I was professionally frustrated and dissatisfied with the work I was doing in the for-profit sector. I mentally decided it was time to close the chapter of doing work that didn’t fulfill me and didn’t benefit others and open myself up to the possibility of doing more even if I didn’t know what that meant or how to physically make it happen.
Whatever the case, I knew I had to get very serious about living a more purpose-drive life, both personally and professionally, so I set my intentions, set goals, made sacrifices and worked very hard to position myself for opportunities that better aligned with my gifting. Soon enough, when one career opportunity ended, not even a day later,a new career path in the community development space emerged. I was asked to do something I hadn’t ever done before – design wealth building and economic development programming for underserved communities. Although I had no prior experience in this area, somehow it came natural to me and derived a great sense of joy from seeing someone expand their business or buy their first home. That’s how I knew it was my purpose. I didn’t have to learn it, I just had to do it. My purpose is to provide a roadmap to others trying to fulfill their dreams while at the same time, I am fulfilling my own.