Diane Tran Minneapolis, MN 2006 International Social Policy/Humanities
Tell us about the work you do: I'm a project manager with Grassroots Solutions, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm specializing in grassroots strategy, training, organizing, and evaluation. We work with a variety of national, statewide, and local clients including nonprofits, government and associations, corporations, and candidates. My team works on both electoral and advocacy projects and I've been fortunate to engage in issues like climate change, protecting antibiotic efficacy for human health through changing industrial farming practices, and preserving medical care for the poorest of the poor in Minnesota.
A source of pride in your life: Minnesota has a nationally-recognized civic tradition and I'm proud to be a part of contributing to that trend. I have served on boards for the Citizens League, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Kids 'n Kinship, the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP-MN), and the Minnesota Women's Consortium. I volunteer with youth programs at my church, teach courses on active citizenship for emerging leaders, and am pleased to be a part of the civic infrastructure of our great state.
Best St. Scholastica memory: I loved connecting with students and community through serving on the Student Senate, writing for the Cable, and working with the Center for Just Living. I spent several semesters off campus: studying abroad with the Semestre en Mexico program; as a Citizen-Scholar with the Institute for Civic Leadership at Mills College in Oakland, CA; and in Namibia and South Africa with Augsburg College's Center for Global Education. The best days, of course, were spent with amazing friends hiking in the woods, watching a movie in the lounge, or playing a game of Frisbee on the Science lawn.
Significant influences: My mother is a truly amazing woman. Through her actions and guidance, I have learned the importance of respecting as well as looking after others. Having immigrated to a new country where she had to adjust by learning a new language, becoming familiar with a foreign culture, and gaining new skills in order to become successful, she has always been a strong role model of perseverance and dedication for me.
Greatest professional moment: Throughout my high school years, I was an active leader with Target Market, Minnesota's grassroots anti-corporate tobacco industry youth movement. I was honored to receive the 2002 Dakota County Youth Public Health Achievement Award and be recognized that same year by then-Minnesota State Health Commissioner, Jan Malcolm, for my youth tobacco prevention efforts. Upon graduation, I managed a local grassroots education and advocacy campaign to advance the Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007, a statewide smoke-free workplace policy protecting Minnesota workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Tell us something interesting about your life: I was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans in 2008 by the Minnesota Junior Chamber and was invited to serve as the keynote speaker at their 2010 State Convention.
Further education: I served as a 2006-2007 Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow, was a member of the 2007 Minnesota Department of Health's Emerging Leaders Network, and participated in a 2009 international exchange delegation to Nigeria to study business and global entrepreneurship with other emerging professionals.
Philosophy: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mohandas Gandhi
Impact of the Benedictine values: It was during my time at St. Scholastica that I was able to practice and develop insight into a great deal of the skills I now employ daily - understanding systems, building coalitions, and utilizing collaborative leadership skills. The Benedictine values of community, hospitality, respect, stewardship, and love of learning provided practical grounding for me as I pursued my academic studies and, I believe, were the most important part of the education I received at The College of St. Scholastica.