Diana Podaski '03

Diana PodaskiDiana Podaski graduated from the Community Leadership program in 2003 as a member of the very first graduating class of the program. She then pursued a Communication degree at UNH after TSAS, explaining, “I felt that you need the bachelor degree in this day and age, but I do feel that I learned heaps more at TSAS/CSL than I did going for my second degree.”

She currently works for Linear Retail Properties in Burlington, MA, as Marketing & Social Media Manager. Diana is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Next Generation Committee (a competitive, invite-only Committee in the retail real estate industry) and recently landed her own marketing and social media column on page 2 of the largest weekly real estate newspaper in the country, New England Real Estate Journal. Diana has also served as a consultant to technology entrepreneurs based around mobile technology for retailers. Diana has recently moved to Davis Square, Somerville, MA. She enjoys “Jogging outdoors before work, yoga, playing guitar, exploring new restaurants in Boston, playing on Lake Winnipesaukee and snowboarding in the winter.”

Of her TSAS education, Diana says, “Community Leadership has helped me in every aspect of my career. The program helped me to gain the confidence a person needs to be successful in life.  Without confidence you won’t be seen as a leader and it’s the leader that sticks out in a crowd.” Impressively, Diana has personally created every position that she’s ever had in the workforce.

While in the CoLead program Diana enjoyed the internships and the creative writing best: “Not everyone in college gets the opportunity to be an Assistant Executive Producer for a TV station, a manager for a campus-wide event, or a creative director for a nonprofit organization.” Diana feels that through internships you get the opportunity to learn and do hands-on skills, not just talk about them. “I enjoyed the creative writing classes as well,” she says, “which I believe helped me land my latest venture, my own column in the New England and New York Real Estate Journal. My favorite thing about the Thompson School itself was the small community of people and professors. I met my best friends at the Thompson School. It was fun and comforting being a part of a smaller community where I felt like I knew everyone, even though the school catered to many majors and still had all the advantages of a University.” The professors were Diana’s other favorite part about Thompson School. She mentioned that she’s never met more passionate people than her former CSL Professors: “Kate Hanson and Tim Barretto made a dream a reality when they began the Community Service & Leadership program [the original name of the program] at the Thompson School. Their open-minded, driven personalities came through in every class they taught. I never felt like a number at the Thompson School; I instead felt like a valued part of the community – I felt like my ideas really mattered, and I believe those ideas helped to shape the program to what is today and that is a huge accomplishment.

“The program really challenged me in multiple ways and I learned that if you work hard enough at something you can be almost anything you hope for in life. The hands-on work I did while attending the Thompson School prepped me for the real world – conducting office work, collaborating with top executives, staying on top of new technology, being a good supervisor, and managing time well, along with prepping me with many other skills.”

Diana’s future goals simply include being happy at a job that she loves going to and that simultaneously make a difference in people’s lives for the better. Of her overall experience at the Thompson School and UNH, she concludes: “I really felt like I did it all and got the most out of my education. I had three internships, received two degrees, participated in club sports, utilized the facilities (pool, gym etc.), met my best friends, volunteered, studied abroad in Australia and backpacked New Zealand. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I think it’s really what you make it, the sky really is the limit at UNH and it’s up to you to soak it all in.”

Written by Maggi Hanson

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