Women in Business: Diana McDaniel

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,941 views 

Class of 2021 Women in Business Diana McDaniel Vice President of Operations Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Springdale

Residence: Springdale

Education: B.A., international relations, University of Arkansas; M.P.A. (master of public administration), University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Professional background: McDaniel has been affiliated with Arkansas Children’s for 14 years in progressive leadership roles. She is responsible for oversight of the Springdale hospital, business operations, and ancillary services. She recently served as board president of the Arkansas Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and is currently serving as vice chair of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments or wins in your current job? Building a top-notch team that is committed to providing excellent pediatric focused care to the children of Northwest Arkansas. Our team has built an inspiring culture that makes you want to show up, get engaged and work your hardest every day.

What advice would you give young women who are currently at the beginning of their careers? Find your voice and pursue a mentor who has walked your path. There are so many women who walked before us making an impact in the workplace. I believe each of us is responsible to take it a few bold steps further to impact and normalize women leading in business.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? I have been really focused on healthcare workforce development. Being part of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce board continues to open doors for discussion with local education leaders on developing healthcare career pathways. While many students are aware of physician and nursing careers, healthcare offers so many more possibilities for all education levels to pursue. I am really excited about engaging with local schools to further develop the pipeline for the healthcare industry in NWA.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I grew up in the small rural Arkansas town of Magazine, in poverty. I lived in a trailer smaller than my current garage in very challenging circumstances with very little family support. I made a commitment to myself that I would make a better life for myself and not perpetuate that cycle for my children. I worked multiple jobs at a time to put myself through college. I networked and asked for mentorship from successful leaders to help me learn how to make a bigger impact. It is so rewarding to look at the impact that I can make for others by being part of a mission bigger than myself. It is why I am so drawn to Arkansas Children’s and the collective impact they are making on child health.

How do you spend your time away from work? I spend the majority of my time away from work being the Chief Memory Maker (CMM) for my kids, a.k.a “mom.” Building memories for my kids is my most important job. We love to plan adventures, be creative together, and even have an occasional “Yes” day! I love to travel internationally with my supportive husband Greg.

What’s your biggest passion and why? Public service. I think this goes back to the support I received as a young girl experiencing childhood trauma in a small rural community that helped lift me up through tough times. Giving back to the community in a meaningful way fills my cup. I consider it an honor to serve the children of Northwest Arkansas.

Can you share what you have learned about your business from the COVID-19 pandemic? How to be more kind and more flexible, which includes learning ways to better care for our team. At a time when healthcare workers were under immense pressure to balance home life and hospital work, we had to find ways to support our team members unlike ever before. We launched some great care programs that will stay with us in a post-pandemic world.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? Lowe’s. We recently took on a major renovation project in Har-Ber Meadows. It has been a lot of hard work, unlike the 30-minute HGTV shows, but we have loved making it our own space and living in the beautifully designed neighborhood.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Travel to every continent and all 50 states, raise good humans, and see Arkansas in the top 15 states for child health.