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Diane Downey

by Roland Buresund last modified 2014-01-17 22:50

Diane Downey (1944-2004) was born in Los Angeles, the first child of Gerda and Ernest Martel, both refugees from Nazi Germany. She was the older sister of Rod and Les. Diane spent her early years in Olympia, Washington prior to moving to Chicago where she graduated from Senn High School. She went on to earn Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Iowa. She did additional post-graduate studies in counseling psychology at NYU.

Diane's life did not lend itself to linear, chronological description. The common elements to her life were her passion for justice and her commitment to helping both people and institutions reach their full potential.

These elements were made manifest in many ways, as activist, organizer, and mentor but most evidently as a dedicated and loving friend.

Her work was varied: youth counselor at detention centers, private therapist, college professor, and consultant.

Diane founded, built, and led a consulting practice (Downey Kates International) that was recognized worldwide for its creative and participative approach to developing talent and designing organizations. Global enterprises, such as the Ford Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Marriott International, Citicorp, MetLife and others benefited from her insights and guidance.

Prior to forming her own consulting firm, Ms. Downey was Vice President and Director of Management and Organizational Development for Citibank USA and Director of Management Development at Harper & Row Publishing. She has served on the faculty of the University of Maryland, Howard University and Antioch College, and has taught courses at Cornell University's School of Labor and Industrial Relations, New York University, and New School University's Leadership Center.

Diane was the author of Assimilating New Leaders: The Key to Executive Retention (2001) which won the SHRM Book of the Year award in 2002. She was co-author, with Jay Galbraith and Amy Kates, of Designing Dynamic Organizations: A Hands-On Guide for Leaders at All Levels (2001).

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