SEMBACH, Germany -- From timecards to performance awards and personnel actions to special projects, Dianna Cole’s position as a civilian human resource specialist impacts staff across Installation Management Command Europe. No matter which aspect of human resources she’s tackling, Cole said her favorite part of it all is helping people.
“Knowing I made a positive difference somewhere, that’s exactly what does it for me,” Cole said.
Cole didn’t begin her career in HR, but started in private sector food management where she managed everything from delis to food service for the 28-ferry Washington state ferry system. She got out of food service when she married and began raising her family, starting with two daughters four years apart. But one thing Cole said she’s learned in life is that nothing stays the same.
“Nothing is constant but change,” Cole said. “And for people who get too rooted, they have the hardest time when inevitably change happens.”
When pregnant with her third child, Cole found herself starting over in life. Although several people discouraged her from attending school, she said she made the choice to work toward her education knowing a minimum wage position wouldn’t help her raise her three children.
After long days of heavy class loads, caring for her family and working, Cole finished her degree in three years and met someone who pointed her to a career in human resources with the Navy.
“I really was just that motivated to change my life,” Cole said. “I was that ready to make things happen.”
Her temporary 30 day job with the Navy turned into 60 days, then 90, then one year.
“My dad, he always taught us to be the best employee you can be so when it comes time they’ll feel like they can’t live without you. So, I did that,” Cole said.
After four years with the Navy, her next step, and what Cole calls one of her best decisions in life, was to take a position in England with the Defense Intelligence Agency where she learned a whole new side of the HR career field. From England, Cole and her family went back to the states where she took a position with the Network Enterprise Technology Command. After her two daughters left the nest, Cole and her son decided to apply for an overseas position, this time in Germany.
Cole has been at IMCOM-Europe since August 2020 and in that time has become one of the go-to people in the human resources section, known as G1. Her work covers all civilian human resource programs, performance management, awards, tour extensions, recruitment actions, special projects and special reporting duties. She also works with HR staff at the garrisons within IMCOM-Europe to track performance reports and performs command inspections for civilian HR.
Cole said she enjoys command inspections and using that as another opportunity for training and to find out how she can help garrison staff.
“I try to forge those relationships ahead of time so it doesn’t feel like you’re being pulled over for speeding,” she said. “You get a unique opportunity to represent the headquarters of your organization, and you can make that such a positive thing.”
Throughout all of the changes Cole has seen in her life, good and bad, she continues to learn and to use her experience helping others, now as part of a “high-performing team that makes a positive difference.
“What’s nice, especially with this team I’m working with now,” Cole said; “we’re so info-sharing minded, and your success is my success.”