Women of Influence: Diana Williams

 

What do you love about the Ocala community?

“There’s so much to see and do—that’s Ocala, Marion County. The community in which you live is what you make of it yourself. My husband Jim and I had such a positive experience raising, nurturing, and coaching our four children in Ocala. There was never a dull moment. With such diverse paths, you’d never know they were raised in the same household—that is until you talk to them. All enjoy the outdoors from riding horses, running a trail, serving at Camp Kiwanis, kayaking, and playing in a concert at the Veteran’s Park. They love playing basketball, soccer, and tennis at the parks and there really is something for everyone. This leads to a variety of career choices as well; it’s important to enjoy your work!”

Can you tell us a little about your career path?

“For over 23 years I have worked in the financial services industry as a Financial Advisor. It has been a blessing to work in a career that provides flexible work hours. This allows time for field trips while the kids are in school, sports travel team weekend excursions, musical events, and occasional trips across the country or to Europe. Not to mention, the ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the community through community service.”

Is there someone who was or is an inspiration to you?

“I must thank my mother for setting such a great example of philanthropy and ‘giving back’ in service to our community, and I thank the public schools for doing a great job helping the students learn about the needs of the community and thereby producing caring adults. If many participate, it divides the workload and provides a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

How have you served in the Ocala community?

“Having served as a Supreme Court Mediator, on boards such as the YMCA, Arnette House, Kiwanis, United Way Endowment, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), provides insight into the needs of our citizens and how organizations can work together to coordinate services. There are constant challenges, so it is wonderful to see the success of the court diversion programs, outreach to the homeless, helping seniors and veterans, and learning how we approach the Opioid crisis is encouraging. It’s so uplifting to acknowledge the commitment of the agencies along with their board of directors, working together to improve the lives of those less fortunate.”

What advice do you have for someone who is new to the area?

“Take the time to appreciate our community and enjoy our natural wonders, our gorgeous horse country, our youth sports, the arts and music, civic theatre, museum, local college and downtown events, and recognize the efforts of so many that will simply put a smile on your face.”

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